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Image features a cardboard box with Superzero shampoo bars. The packaging is pink and white with a little purple.

Vegan Beauty Brand Superzero is Saving the Planet

Following a career as a beauty industry executive, Conny Wittke set out to help save the world by founding Superzero, a cosmetics company with a mission to prove that true beauty does no harm.

The company produces Earth-friendly shampoo and conditioner bars that are both vegan and cruelty-free with formulations for dry, blonde/highlighted, oily, thinning, and kinky/coily hair, as well as for itchy scalps.

Teaming up with co-founder Gurval Caer—who brought with him marketing expertise—the pair created a plastic-free cosmetics company that protects the planet, rather than contributing to its demise.

By challenging the status quo and implementing innovative chemistry, Superzero has proven that fabulous cosmetics can be created without causing any harm to the planet or to animals. Kinder Beauty is proud to partner with this forward-thinking, ethical beauty company. 


SETTING OUT TO SAVE THE PLANET

KINDER BEAUTY: You formerly worked as a beauty industry executive. What led you to create Superzero?

Conny Wittke: I started Superzero with my close friend Gurval Caer because it combines my passion for creating and manufacturing products that deliver superior benefits and performance with making a positive impact on our planet by eliminating plastic and microplastic, and by drastically reducing the carbon footprint of the beauty industry.

Beauty products should make you look and feel amazing inside and outside, and true beauty should do no harm. Superzero’s “reason to be” is to ensure that customers don’t have to choose between performance and sustainability. With Superzero they can get the best of both worlds. 

KB: How did Superzero get started?

CW: I had the idea for Superzero some years back and worked with a befriended chemist who used to own a hair clinic on the formulations. It took us over two years to get it right because it is very difficult to develop to the highest performance standards in anhydrous systems since the entire industry is geared towards water-based systems.

I discussed the idea with my co-founder, Gurval, who has deep expertise and vast knowledge in digital marketing, and he got equally excited about the idea. So we joined forces to bring Superzero to life and launched less than a year ago.


INNOVATIVE FORMULATIONS THAT AREN’T WEIGHED DOWN BY WATER

KB: Why are shampoo and conditioner bars better than bottled hair care products?

CW: It is important to first understand that bottled hair care products typically contain 80 to 90% water, which is why they are packaged in plastic. Water is the number one ingredient used in the beauty and personal care industry because it is cost-effective and enables products to have more volume.

This means bigger profits and bigger packaging to grab consumer attention and, sadly, a huge plastic footprint and a much larger carbon footprint in production and shipping. The beauty industry is actually the third largest plastic-polluting industry.

With Superzero, we set out to change this. We removed water from our products so that we never have to use plastic packaging while also minimizing our carbon footprint. Making this fundamental decision meant we had to start from scratch in order to develop the best products—since everything in the beauty industry was optimized for water-based formulations. With zero water in the equation, we bio-engineered our bars with plant-based and vegan ingredients tailored to different hair needs and leveraged science to transform the best anhydrous raw ingredients into high-performance shampoo and conditioner bars.

The result are bars that deliver your best hair ever through their carefully selected ingredients—think volume, shine, bounce, and the ability to go in between washes longer. The bars themselves also last longer than your typical bottles of shampoo and conditioner—each full-size bar is the equivalent of 2 to 3 plastic bottles and can last over 3 months. Not to mention they are extremely portable and very TSA-friendly. We believe that’s a win for YOU and the planet!

REDUCING THE CARBON FOOTPRINT OF COSMETICS 

KB: In what ways is Superzero helping to save the planet?

CW: Superzero was founded with the desire to change the beauty industry for the better. As it stands, 120 billion units of packaging are produced each year by the beauty and personal care industry alone. Of this, 552 million plastic shampoo bottles are made in just the United States each year.

Considering that only 9% of all plastic actually gets recycled, we want to prove that beauty companies do not need plastic or the massive carbon footprints that come along with it. For this reason, everything we do is entirely free of plastic, even the small details like the ink on our boxes and the tape we use for shipping.

Our shampoo bars are also certified microplastic-free by the Plastic Soup Foundation, an organization aimed at reducing the amount of plastic pollution and creating awareness for the health issues related to microplastic. That means we stay away from ingredients that are very common in hair and skin care like silicones (e.g., dimethicone and cyclomethicone) because they are classified as microplastic by the Plastic Soup Foundation. 

In addition, all of our products are carbon optimized and have an 80 to 90% lower carbon footprint than comparable liquids. Our shampoo bars are certified climate neutral by Climate Partners, an organization that helps companies to calculate and offset their climate footprint following the GHC Protocol (Greenhouse Gas Protocol Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard). We support the Plastic Bank in Haiti with our offset projects which aims to stop ocean plastic while improving the lives of those who are most affected by it. Last but not least, we are proud partners of 1% For the Planet where we support the fight against plastic and for ocean conservation.

So all in all, we are helping to save the planet by eliminating the need for plastic in beauty products, drastically reducing carbon emissions compared to comparable liquids, avoiding microplastic and its disastrous effect on human and animal health, donating profits to organizations who work towards environmental protection, and by educating and empowering our community to take a stand with us.

BEAUTY WITHOUT CRUELTY 

KB: Why did you choose to make Superzero products all-vegan?

CW: Our choice to make all of our products vegan was simple. We are dedicated to protecting animal well-being and to minimizing the negative climate implications of excess breeding. We are also cruelty-free, meaning that we do not test on animals ever.

 

KB: How do you select Superzero's ingredients?

CW: I work closely with a cosmetic chemist who used to own a hair clinic as well as with ingredient manufacturers who are on the cutting edge of bioengineering ingredients that are better for your hair and body and better for the planet.

We rely deeply on science to get it right, and I’m excited about how biotech companies are evolving cosmetics ingredients. We look in detail at both the benefits and the environmental footprint of each active ingredient and are also incorporating upcycled ingredients from leftovers of the food industry to help reduce food waste and its negative climate impact since food waste is responsible for very significant greenhouse gas emissions in both the production and the decomposition stage.

KB: What is Superzero’s mission?

CW: Our mission is to prove that true beauty does no harm. We aim to change the beauty industry and to set a new bar for beauty with products that perform better and are plastic-free, microplastic-free, carbon minimized, vegan, cruelty-free, and clean. As a true pro-future brand, we give consumers a choice that combines the highest performance standards with the highest sustainability standards so that you can look and feel beautiful inside and out.

KB: What inspires you to continue your work each day?
CW: Our mission to remove the compromise from sustainable beauty and to prove that true beauty does no harm motivates me each and every day. We are trying to do something big and meaningful. Growing a startup is a 24/7 task with intense highs and lows. I don’t think I could do it if what we are doing wasn’t so impactful both in making women and men look and feel beautiful and in helping our planet.

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Maya Gottfried is the author of books for children and adults, including Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary (Knopf) and Vegan Love (Skyhorse).