Somehow, it's always about looking good, no matter whether we're in a video meeting, out for a walk or in a restaurant. What would the world be like if that were not only totally OK, but we also do something for the environment with every cosmetic care? The Berlin cosmetics label Sober is the first company in the world to have the solution.
When people think of cosmetics, they may think of lipstick, eyeliner and rouge - but cosmetics go much further. According to the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety, it must either cleanse, perfume, protect, change the appearance, keep the body in good condition, or influence body odour (Source). Thus, deodorants, toothpaste, perfumes or shaving foam also count as cosmetic products.
One elementary point of the official cosmetic designation is to be emphasised: "keeping the body in good condition." Basically, this is what anti-ageing or anti-wrinkle creams in particular promise. Now, firstly, the market is almost flooded with these products, making it hard for customers to find their way around, and secondly, the founders of the Berlin cosmetics label sober came across the problem "that many chemical-based cosmetic products contain synthetic preservatives and questionable skin-active substances, which can de facto contribute to skin ageing rather than worsen it," explains Philipp Roth, one of the two founders of sober. Together with Simon Schier, the two first explored the need for themselves. "We were looking for care products for ourselves that were not only particularly compatible, but also effective and easy to use. We were dissatisfied with everything that was available on the market, so we came up with the idea of designing our own products," says Roth.
From the idea came a plan and eventually a company: Together with dermatologists and a renowned researcher from the field of pharmaceutical and toxicology, Prof. Dr. Schirner, they developed and finally founded sober in 2017. In doing so, it was important for the founders and experts to focus on herbal active ingredients. As the first company, sober recognised that only a few plant oils have the potential to remedy disturbances in cell regeneration and growth. These disturbances are a relatively natural thing and can also be described as a continuous loss of cells needed for connective tissue tightening. In other words, the skin ages over time and the connective tissue weakens. The reasons are simple and logical: ongoing time and increasing everyday disturbances such as stress or sun exposure. To counteract this, sober uses plant oils that block the decay of skin cells and normalise cell communication through antioxidants.
But this is not the only way that sober sets itself apart from other cosmetics companies. Sober founder Philipp Roth explains: "We believe that people expect more and more from companies today. That's why our products are not only good for their users, but also for the environment." From production to shipping, all steps are environmentally friendly and climate neutral. But that is not enough for the young Berlin-based company. "With every product we produce, we want to give more back to our planet than we have consumed. So, with every order placed, a tree is planted," Roth explains. Sober calls this: Clean Beauty Concept. All the materials used are completely biodegradable, free of microplastics and chemicals that pollute water; shipping is plastic-free and Co2-neutral and all products are developed and produced in Germany. What sounds very ambitious and progressive thus makes sober the first climate-positive cosmetics company in the world.
The zeitgeist is not only present here in terms of sustainability. Interested people of all genders will find something in the portfolio. Suitable for everyone is the "Hydra Defence Creme", a moisturiser for daily use that both protects and moisturises. With a scent of lavender, it has a refreshing effect and also combats tired eyes, contributing to a more revitalised and younger-looking complexion. The contained D5 Cell Complex additionally helps with oxidative stress, which is a consequence of too many so-called free radicals (aggressive molecules that lack building blocks and thus damage other molecules) in the body.
Thus, in October 2017, just a few months after its foundation, the Hydra Defence Cream was the cornerstone for sober's first product and paved the way for a successful future. Since March 2020, sober cosmetics have no longer been available only digitally. Douglas, OTTO, Flaconi and Zalando also sell the products of the Berlin-based company.
At the same time, the coronavirus pandemic is also presenting the sober team with new and unexpected challenges, as Philipp Roth says: "The pandemic has not stopped at us. Some supply chains have collapsed or been severely delayed, many of our producers are working with limited staff or there is a lack of the raw materials they need. This meant that we also had to adjust our production plans for current and future products." Nevertheless, the company continues to exist and is gaining popularity in the cosmetics industry. The founder adds, "We are happy that smaller companies, like ours, are increasingly being heard by the end consumer and that the sheer size of global brands is no longer automatically enough to convince. In the end, honesty and sustainability count and that will lead to a bigger shift within the cosmetics industry in the long run."
- by Maximilian Immer