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Nūdo: all-natural biodegradable beauty essentials designed to blend back with nature over time

From bamboo to sisal, all-natural raw materials replace plastic offering an alternative to everyday products that already exist

Nūdo: an eco-friendly sensibility to the mainstream through nature made necessities

Launched in fall 2020, Nūdo is an Italian beauty brand. It provides personal hygiene products that are 100% natural, vegan, plastic-free, and affordable. Solutions Group, an Italian merchandise agency, finances and supports the Milan-based company. It advocates biodegradable raw materials made from fast-growing plants found in the subtropical and tropical regions of the world. Nūdo uses recyclable tracing paper in its packaging to give its products a crystal-clear appearance.

German entrepreneur and founder Marijam Bieber talks about the brand’s origins over a call with corporate social responsibility manager Manuel Xueref. «Back in 2019, I was living in Rome and looking for alternatives at typical places like the eco-supermarkets. But they were costly. There are natural products, but if you dig beneath their surface, you’ll find plastic to make them smoother or softer. Or they are packaged in plastic. So there wasn’t a lot to offer in terms of natural, sustainable products with true low impact. Therefore I felt the need to change something and make them a bit more mainstream».

Today, the company’s products are available to purchase online across Europe, strengthened by a new partnership with German beauty retailer Douglas, with plans to expand worldwide.

Lampoon introduces Nūdo

The brand’s current ten product offering was clear to Bieber from the beginning. Everyday objects designed with beauty, health and the environment in mind under the values of inclusivity, transparency and accessibility. Bamboo, for example, has been used for toothbrushes made in both adult and child sizes, a comb, cotton buds, laundry clips and a nail brush featuring bristles made from sisal, a fiber from the leaves of the Agave Sisalana plant. Nūdo has also created a category for the skin. It consists of a konjac sponge enriched with charcoal powder, reusable cotton makeup remover pads; a loofah and cotton pad to scrub the body; and a two-in-one detox solid face cleanser formulated with almond oil and peach blossom extract. 

The majority of their raw materials are sourced from and manufactured across China, where the climate is also warmer and more humid than Europe, which facilitates the plant’s growth. Each item’s country of origin appears on its packaging. 

Inclusivity: nudo is a brand for everyone, no matter your age, gender, origins or beliefs

Beauty products without plastic

An aspect that mattered to Nūdo was to be completely devoid of any use of plastics. This falls under their environmental policy as a company.

«For the product to be certified plastic free, we analyze the materials used in the factories to make sure. With the makeup remover pads, there are competitors who make them out of bamboo. We thought of doing the same but realized that through the manufacturing process. An element of polyester is included to create the bamboo fiber in the textile industry. It’s such a small amount that by law, people are not required to report it. But we didn’t want to use that and shifted to cotton, though it requires a lot of water», Bieber explains.

Boar bristles, which are used in the industry for brushes, were substituted with a vegan alternative of sisal, rather than the standard alternative of nylon or polyester. «We found a way to shift it to a vegan solution that isn’t plastic or animal derived and does the same thing. The only alternative we did not find was toothbrushes which have bristles made out of bio-based nylon, as sisal would be too hard on your gums», Xueref adds.

To ensure a carbon footprint as low as possible on the detail, the selected bio-based nylon is one of the most expensive nylons to produce due to its eco-friendlier manufacturing process in comparison to the common petrol-based nylon.

Reducing a products carbon footprint

Nūdo follows a policy to never use airfreights for transport, only shipping via trucks, train rails or sea. This is to ensure that the lifecycle of their products have a reduced carbon footprint. This applies in particular to their bamboo products, which make up more than half of their offering and are made of the highly CO2 absorbent Moso bamboo. Sourced from the Shenzhen and Ningbo provinces, the raw material has a relatively short agricultural period. This is due to its fast-growing nature and is harvestable after three to four years. Across all products, the average production period for them to reach Milan after harvest takes around ninety to one hundred and twenty days. A choice made by the company to maintain a lower carbon footprint.

The company is currently looking into shipping options via the transatlantic railway that runs from China directly to Europe. «The most eco-friendly transportation we’re going to use in the future» according to Xueref. Policies in their Milan office follow a similarly low carbon footprint principle through the use of hybrids and new technology. The heating and cooling systems are all new and changed this year. An outside company collects and separates the recycling bins on a monthly basis. Furthermore, the company handles all trash responsibly and on a waste basis. A report is then provided at the end of the month on the kilos of different materials that have been recycled. 

Plantations in Kenya Colony. Showing new crop on sisal plant after first cutting, Photography G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection, 1936

Nūdo production system

On the selection process for the factories they partner with, expertise is of concern alongside its environmental, ethical and labor policies, Xueref adds, «for our bamboo products, we select factories who work with and manufacture bamboo on a regular basis. For the other items like sisal, we work with companies that manufacture for multinationals. From the plantations the materials go via trucks to the factories and then shipped via railway or sea. The whole product is finished, including the paper for the packaging, and assembled in China».

Solutions groups hold their manufacturing partners to account through their own audits with Intertek certifying body. As well as L’Oreal auditing to verify good working standards and freedom of association across the factories. «We make sure that we use the same facto that other big players use. Also investigated them to ensure the whole supply chain is as clean and fair as possible. In deciding these factories, when we requested these certifications, we knew they already had them.

BSCI certification

On top of that, we use Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) certifications, which have whole sections that evaluate them under environmental policies, water and waste management. We also supply a self-assessment questionnaire that asks them about all these policies they have in place. They are then certified with the BSCI certifications or audits. We make them sign a supplier code of conduct. And have on-site audits through Solutions group with production managers that go and control the factories themselves», Xueref finishes.

For the production of their face soap bars, Nūdo works with small artisanal companies near Milan. In the case of recycled cotton, the consumer purchases it directly from an importer who sources it from India to Europe. In addition, it is Global Organic Textile Standard certified. 

Organic and recyclable packaging

Nūdo is also Ecovadis-certified to verify their environmental and labor policies, ethics and sustainable procurements are holistic across company processes, as well as ISO 14001 managed. In addition, they work with US certification body Social Accountability International to attain the SA80000 standard which assesses the ethical standards within the company and labor workforce.

These certifications are available across their website but kept off packaging for stylistic reasons to ensure minimalism. «We do write eco-friendly and vegan on the packaging but we don’t want to use too many logos and crowd the packaging. We try to keep it as simple as possible because the final goal of Nūdo is to bring eco-friendly products to the mainstream with an accessible price. The fact that we want the product to look good was one of the elements we looked out for and crowding it with too many logos, information and explanations would be removing from the design purpose», Xueref explains.

Biodegradable items

Recycled tracing paper is used for the packaging and took the longest to research. Wanting to create a product that was more modern and stylish in design, Marijam initially struggled to find a plastic-free material that could attract new targets outside of those already eco-conscious, «I was thinking of using glass but then I figured out it has a huge CO2 footprint during shipping. Then I found this transparent paper that architects use––my dad is an architect so I’ve seen him use it––and we decided to go with that because it’s still paper, but you can see through to the products, so it has this plastic effect».

From the stickers and the packaging to the products inside and the cartons used to ship them, all of Nūdo’s items are made out of organic materials, making them recyclable and biodegradable to blend back with nature over time. 

Mainstream eco-friendly products

For Nūdo, long production times with processes that require heavy research and are more cost-intensive are worth the challenge as a young company if it means they can provide natural alternatives to a wider audience. They are not creating new products. Their goal is to «bring a sensibility to people to shift these items necessary for self-hygiene to products that don’t have a plastic component so it can be thrown away without a negative impact».

Marijam concludes on her hopes for the future of Nūdo. «There’s so much potential everywhere because the whole world is not very eco-friendly. And it’s all these disposable products that are plastic-made. We would never say we are sustainable because we’re producing and part of the economy. We try to keep our products clean, so this is one part of our impact. Our goal is to grow, raise awareness and enter other industries and sectors».

Nūdo beauty

Based in Milan, Nūdo offers select body care products made from 100% natural, plastic-free and vegan raw materials.

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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