Updated: Jul 20
*this blog contains affiliate links and gifted products*
YSL Beauty is a brand eponymous with luxury in the UK. For as long as I’ve had an interest in beauty, I’ve thrown lingering glances at glossy counters with perfectly put-together sales staff and sleek, sharp products.
However, YSL Beauty are far more than just a beauty brand, their impact is far more reaching than their high-end concessions and glamorous aesthetic would have you believe.
To put this into context, we need to go back a little bit.
As highlighted by Positive Luxury: In 1966, 33-year-old founder Yves Saint Laurent discovered the sun-soaked Morocco and fell instantly in love, declaring the city of Marrakech as his refuge; just like Delacroix and Matisse, it became his muse and provided limitless inspiration. Today, the brand may be headed by Tom Pecheux, but the relationship with Morocco continues.
Inspired by the Garden of Eden, the Ourika Gardens can be found at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. These were established by YSL Beauty in 2019 and were founded as an innovative space not only as a space to grow plants and flowers for product formulations but also as a space of contemplation and research.
Alongside creating an assurance for the source of the ingredients in their products, YSL Beauty has established a women’s cooperative to develop the Ourika Gardens. Since it’s set-up 33 women have been tending gardens and giving back to communities through the Gardens’ sustainable development and ensuring a lasting legacy.
YSL Beauty have used their botanical research area as a source of inspiration for their product formulations, scientists are able to research and identify the benefits of their home-grown ingredients and find ways to enhance their properties and continually improve their sustainability.
An example of how these scientific steps have enhanced the natural goodness of produce grown is in the Saffron that has been distilled especially for the Or Rouge range. Local communities are part of the sustainable sourcing model by sharing their own expertise of produce and ingredients.
A new product packaging design was introduced into their Or Rouge range aimed to reduce waste through it’s refillable and recyclable format. The range manages to retain its luxury experience whilst making small changes which in turn, will result in big ones.
A Butterfly Marked organisation, YSL Beauty’s sourcing model – among other things – is in line with their sustainable development efforts as they commit to reduce their environmental footprint.
The Butterfly Mark “ identifies the luxury brands that meet the highest standards of verified innovation and environmental performance, offering transparency at points of sale and equipping consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions”
What are the standards that YSL Beauty are held to?
Free from Microplastics – committed to eradicating their use
Supports Philanthropic Causes
Reducing Waste – throughout all aspects of the business
Reducing Water Use – conscious usage & using water as efficiently as possible
Recyclable Packaging – packaging is completely recyclable
Responsible Sourcing – sourcing of raw materials doesn't have a harmful impact on local communities or eco systems
Uses Forest Stewardship Council Certified Materials – uses materials from certified sources in their commitment to forest conservation
Promotes Equal Pay – promotes equal pay and doesn’t discriminate based on gender, race, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, religion or nationality
Owned by L’Oreal, YSL Beauty adopts the same policies with regards to animal testing. Ethical Elephant is a great resource to break down what this means.
Whilst L’Oreal has been pioneering scientific methods to grow skin tissue in labs to provide an alternative to animal testing – and completely stopped using animals themselves in 1989, they do still sell into markets requiring their own tests on animals, this is still the case in China.
So, while YSL Beauty do not conduct these tests themselves they are still complicit in this behaviour. They’re by no means alone, Aveda, Becca, Hourglass and Natasha Denona are all in this limbo-like state where some consumers may accept them as cruelty-free and others will choose to avoid on ethical grounds.
I’m delighted to be joining the YSL Beauty Affiliate Team, partnering with such a huge brand that is making waves in terms of community impact is really exciting. I’ve been testing out some of YSL Beauty’s most iconic products over the past couple of weeks and I can’t wait to share my reviews with you.