Luci Scarman of ECO Minerals Byron Bay wants to protect the environment and women’s health by producing natural and biodegradable products.
Luci Scarman of ECO Minerals Byron Bay wants to protect the environment and women’s health by producing natural and biodegradable products. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Chemical-free cosmetics are pure mineral

WITH a science degree, a masters in nutrition and a lifelong interest in cosmetics, "hippy at heart" Luci Scarman was the perfect woman to set up an eco-makeup company.

The 38-year-old Byron Bay local is the driving force behind ECO Minerals, an appealing and very usable brand of chemical-free mineral makeup.

Started six years ago, it is now sold internationally and available at 30 stockists in the Northern Rivers region.

Certainly Luci is at the forefront of a trend towards greater consumer demand for chemical-free products as people become more aware of the potentially toxic effect of substances we may once have taken for granted.

But in creating her brand, she has paid attention to every detail that may affect not only people's health but that of the planet.

ECO Minerals is 100 per cent pure - it's all minerals and nothing else.

"Mineral makeups are in a class of their own in Australia and have no national standards or guidelines," says Luci.

"A product can be labelled mineral even when minerals make up less than one per cent of its content."

That means it's important to read the label carefully to make sure you're getting what you pay for.

ECO Minerals also comes in biodegradeable, refillable packaging so there's absolutely no waste.

"Packaging is a massive issue surrounding consumer products," says Luci.

"It has been estimated that 80% of landfill worldwide is packaging and, of this, only 20% gets recycled.

"When products are 100% pure, that also means less waste during manufacturing and less in waterways.

"Natural ingredients are thought to be less polluting when they are washed off in the shower or in the ocean when we go for a swim."

The Byron Bay-manufactured product is also approved by the People for the Ethical Treatment of animals, as it involves no animal cruelty or testing and even the kabuki brushes are vegan.

Most of the labels are biodegradeable and all shipping materials are recycled/biodegradeable.

Maybe it's all of these factors that have made the brand such a success, especially with the Northern Rivers environmentally-aware market.

Whatever it is, Luci is thrilled.

"I've been on a zero-waste campaign since I was in my 20s," she says.

"But I also loved makeup, so that was the challenge.

"ECO minerals is passionate about making a positive difference to our environment.

"But it is also a product that really performs."

True, the range has a great colour choices and even a matt and a natural finish choice for the mineral foundations.

So what of the future?

Luci believes mineral makeup in general is here to stay as people look for a more gentle product that is free of chemical additives.

"It's perfect even for people with sensitive skin," she says.

And, as nano particles - scientifically engineered particles that are so small they may be absorbed through the skin into the blood and organs - increasingly slip into cosmetics, the market for pure ingredients can only get larger.

Minerals take a bit of getting used to, says Luci.

But once people find out the benefits, and experience the gentleness on the skin, she believes they will be converts.


Luci's tip

A good mineral makeup has build-up coverage - that is, you can use one application to achieve a light coverage and evening out the skin, and two or more for full coverage.

A mineral makeup with fillers in it is not capable of buildable coverage.