Our Process & Sustainability
Like many other entrepreneurs, I started Chuan's Promise because I had a need. I was under a lot of pressure as my dad’s primary caregiver, and I wasn’t sleeping well due to anxiety and midnight phone calls from the hospital he was in. All of this wreaked havoc on my skin. The acne I thought I had left behind in my teenage years resurfaced with a vengeance.
When I was a teenager, I used ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide to treat my acne and tried every drugstore product I could find. While this helped, it also caused my skin to become patchy and sensitive over time.
In the years since, I’ve learned a lot more about skincare, health and wellness. This time, I wanted to find a product that would gently cleanse my skin, but didn’t contain artificial chemicals, additives, fillers, preservatives or fragrances. I wanted it to be made from natural ingredients that were sourced from reputable suppliers, too. From my experience, I knew packaging was a huge selling point in the beauty industry, but I was looking for a product that would produce extra waste and didn’t require single use packaging or plastic containers.
I did a ton of research, but couldn’t find a product that met all of my requirements and didn’t break the bank. So, I decided to make my own.
I started by developing a clay mask recipe that would fulfill my needs and treat other skincare concerns, too. Coming from the tech industry, I took a pretty techie approach to developing this mask: I used research to come up with a shortlist of ingredients, ordered small batches from an organic apothecary and started mixing them. I tested my mixtures on myself until I found a recipe that worked for my skin.
Then, I sent samples to 15 friends as a beta, a type of test where an almost-finished product is sent to customers for feedback. Because I was sending samples across the country, I packed my clay mask powder in small kraft paper bags. I included instructions and asked my friends to either do the mask while they were on a video call with me, or to fill out a survey as they mixed the mask themselves.
From this process, I got great feedback. I used it to refine my recipe, make my instructions clearer, figure out how different types of skin reacted, and see the results of my mask on people of varying ages, races and genders who had different skincare concerns from me.
The trickiest feedback was about my packaging. I had originally chosen kraft paper bags for my test because: 1) I could fit multiple servings in one bag and avoid single use packaging, 2) bags could be shipped flat which would minimize shipping costs and weight, and 3) there was a low probability that the bag would break in transit. However, the plastic window and sealing mechanism meant the bag was less than ideal for disposal.
So, I looked into other options. I initially launched my line with rust-resistant tins and glass jars, both of which could be recycled or repurposed. But, these packaging options were less than ideal to ship - both because of breakage and the extra weight that contributes towards the carbon impact of shipping. In 2022, I moved to compostable paper packaging for powder and solid products, and continue to look for even more sustainable options for my oil-based products.
In my beta, a friend also suggested including accessories in my shop. Adding scrunchies and headbands (to keep your hair out of the clay!) to my self-care kits was a no brainer. Textile waste is a huge issue, so to keep these accessories as sustainable and low-waste as possible, they’re all created with secondhand fabric that would have otherwise gone to the landfill. I source fabric at local non-profit craft stores, like ReCreative in Denver and Arts Parts Creative Reuse Center in Boulder.
The last part of my process was figuring out a sustainable shipping option. The most sustainable option is to clean and reuse external materials like bubble mailers and boxes, but sometimes I have more orders that need mailers than boxes or vice versa. So, I decided to supplement recycled packaging with other options.
I tested compostable mailers (too thin to reliably withstand USPS sorting machines) and sturdier envelopes (hard to put a tin into), before settling on a variety of shipping materials from EcoEnclose, a local company that also happens to be a global leader in eco-friendly shipping and packaging.
As a result, sometimes you’ll receive an order in a recycled Amazon bubble mailer, and sometimes you’ll get a cardboard box made from 100% recycled post-consumer content. I hope you appreciate the steps I’m taking to reduce waste, but if you prefer not to receive recycled shipping materials, you can just add a note to your order!
I continue to learn about sustainable practices every day, and rest assured, I’ll continue to add to and update this commitment as I learn and grow.