If the city of Guérande is famous for its salt, it is a little less so for its cosmetics. However, for the past three years, a young brand has been designing beauty products formulated using active ingredients from salt marshes. Between local production and upcycling, Guérande Cosmetics is in tune with the times.
Not surprisingly, the story begins in Guérande. What is a little more surprising is that the starting point of this cosmetic adventure comes from the salt harvesters themselves.
“Everything started with the Coopérative des Salines de Guérande a few years ago. Already, the world of cosmetics was beginning to take an interest in marine resources. Aware of this, they thought that they might have real unexploited treasures in front of them. And the Cooperative has therefore decided to have tests carried out by a biologist to better understand the potential cosmetic ingredients present in salt marshes,” explains Sandrine Le Carpentier, the brand’s marketing and communication manager.
Assets made in Guérande
The intuition of the salt workers proved to be good since their salt marshes are full of co-products, hitherto unvalued.
“Salt harvesting basins are surrounded by specific natural resources given the high salinity of the environment. There are also plant species such as salicorns and microalgae. One of our star assets is undoubtedly the Eaux-Mères,” explains Sandrine Le Carpentier. “These are the residual waters from the last salt evaporation basins, which are present after the salt harvest. They are harvested at the end of the season, in August or September depending on the year. They are interesting because they are eight to ten times more concentrated than seawater in mineral salts and trace elements such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium present as active ions. They are very interesting in cosmetics because they have the same profile as our skin, they are isotonic.” The marketing manager confides that for the moment, the Science and Nature laboratories (which are responsible for the development of Guérande Cosmetics) have probably not yet revealed all the treasures buried in the salt marshes of Guérande.
A virtuous circle
While we hear everywhere that the players in the cosmetics industry must be part of a more circular economy, and seriously consider environmental issues, Guérande Cosmetics did not need to be told. The “Green touch” has been there since the birth of the brand.
All the marine assets of the Breton brand are harvested locally, according to very precise specifications.
“Why go looking for ingredients very far when you have so many resources at home?” asked Sandrine Le Carpentier. "Of course, we are not going to change the face of the world, but the brand has been designed with a view to promoting co-products from the salt industry. It is also an additional way to promote the city’s heritage and showcase its talents."
Young brand will become big!
Since its launch, Guérande Cosmetics has taken advantage of the city’s ancestral reputation.
“Of course, the active ingredients from salt marshes are at the heart of our formulas, but it is time for us to free ourselves from this environment. Sometimes people think our products are made with salt,” says Sandrine Le Carpentier. “It is imperative to understand that, while salt workers and the saline ecosystem are at the heart of the project, there is above all a strong cosmetic expertise behind it.”
Still in line with this reasoned logic, Guérande Cosmetics intends to expand its product range “to respond to market’s expectations and not to occupy more space on the shelves. We make sure we listen to our consumers’ needs in order to respond as accurately as possible,” concludes Sandrine Le Carpentier. The Breton brand has understood everything!