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Why and how Comme Ça creates only 100% Vegan and Plant-based Skincare

An interview with the founder of Comme Ça Skincare, Charlotte Seijerlin, about being a vegan-only pioneer in skincare & beauty land.

Conscious consumers, amongst them many vegans, look for vegan beauty and vegan skincare products aligning with their values. Frequently, they end up disappointed, finding that many brands offer a selection of vegan products yet also sell products that are not animal-friendly and contain animal-derived products. Buying from those brands, the money spent will partly still go to causes that vegans don’t support. In this interview, we meet Charlotte, the founder of Comme Ça, talking specifics about running a pioneering, vegan skincare brand committed to ethical and sustainable practices, focussed on transparency, and formulating 100% vegan skincare products made of plant-based ingredients only. 

Vegan Skincare Comme Ça Skincare

What motivated you to create a 100% vegan skincare brand?

When I started Comme Ça, it was a no-brainer for me to make my skincare products vegan. As I was a vegan already myself, it never even crossed my mind to do it any other way. At that time, and still today, few brands are fully vegan. Some skincare brands offer some products without animal ingredients, but also have products containing animal-derived ingredients in their assortment.

My desire was to create a brand that is entirely vegan, since I believe it's unnecessary to use animal ingredients in skincare. Why should we, if it's not needed? 

The difference between cruelty-free and vegan isn’t always clear. Can you explain the difference? What is the importance of both aspects for your brand?

Vegan means that a product does not contain any animal-derived ingredients. Cruelty-free means that the products and ingredients have not been tested on animals. For Comme Ça, both aspects are essential. Our products are 100% cruelty-free, and we ensure our suppliers are, too; our products and ingredients are guaranteed never tested on animals. In addition, all our products are vegan and, therefore, never contain any animal-derived ingredients.

Does formulating vegan skincare products have specific challenges compared to non-vegan skincare?

Creating vegan skincare versus non-vegan skincare isn't necessarily more difficult. The main difference is doing proper research and requesting documentation and certificates from the suppliers that ensure that the ingredients are indeed vegan. 

With the growing interest in vegan ingredients, suppliers are increasing their focus on clearly indicating this and offering vegan alternatives to replace animal-derived ingredients. Lanolin is a great example; it is a wonderful ingredient for lip products, a fat coming from sheep wool, for which several plant-based alternatives are available now. Therefore, finding plant-based versions has become much easier lately, and so is moving towards being a trustworthy, ethical brand.

Beyond the clear and ethical reasons, do vegan skincare products have any specific benefits for the skin compared to non-vegan products? 

Not really. It is difficult to prove that either vegan or non-vegan skincare is better for the skin, so I would never state that. Yet, using plant-based ingredients certainly has its advantages over using synthetic products.

Please share; how do plant-based ingredients contribute to healthier skin vs. synthetic ingredients? 

Plant-based ingredients often contain a mix of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fatty acids that work in harmony with the skin and its natural behaviour. Think about lavender, which has calming properties, and prickly pear seed oil, which reduces hyperpigmentation due to its high percentage of linoleic acid as it also calms and soothes the skin simultaneously.

All of this is due to biocompatibility: the skin recognizes and accepts natural ingredients better, which can lead to better absorption and effectiveness of the active ingredients. Synthetic ingredients are not necessarily worse because the skin can also respond well to them, but natural ingredients are typically easier accepted by the skin since they are closer to the body's own substances. Nature figured it all out long before we did!

Do you consider yourself a vegan activist, and Comme Ça your tool to make your voice heard?

To call myself an activist would be an exaggeration, but I do believe it is important and a chance to spread awareness with Comme Ça, being a conscious brand and having a platform at my disposal. What I have always wanted to do differently is to be transparent about the exact contents of our skincare. I want to communicate honestly and openly to consumers about topics that often remain foggy. 

I aim to answer questions about the origin of the ingredients and how consumers can be sure whether a product is truly natural, vegan, and cruelty-free as accurately as possible and by providing educational content. Not only that, but I want consumers to know exactly what they are buying and for vegan customers to be sure that they are purchasing 100% vegan skincare when shopping with us. We carefully select each ingredient and conduct constant research. It is essential to me that our products are good for the skin and that they are friendly to animals, people, and the environment. Yet, in all honesty, even though I would like to claim that everything we do is in harmony with all around us, I realise that this is not true.

Can you explain why you feel that way?

Well, I would love to say that we are doing zero damage by producing our products, but this is not true. If hectares of lavender are planted for our products and trees are cut down for this, this will be at the expense of the existing nature and the animals' living environment. I also chose glass packaging to avoid using plastic, but this weighs more than plastic and, therefore, uses more fuel during transport.

I delve into the impact of my brand and try to make well-considered choices based on knowing what my research finds. Making money is necessary, but it is not the most crucial thing. Making beautiful and effective skincare products with love, respect, and consideration for everything around us is more important. But I certainly don't claim that we are doing it perfectly.

What are your future goals for Comme Ça? 

Comme Ça’s long-term goals will remain close to our original core values, ethics, and goals: to continue prioritising natural, vegan and cruelty-free products and ensuring full transparency about ingredient sourcing and production. I aim to use responsibly and sustainably produced ingredients and packaging, making the best choices possible within our budget and its limitations. 

For example, we produce both our skincare products and packaging locally in the Netherlands. We will continue to look for more or other ways to limit our impact and improve the sustainability of all production processes. 

Ultimately, I want our brand to contribute to the larger movement towards ethical and sustainable consumer choices whilst maintaining the high standards we hold in everything we do.

Charlotte, founder of Comme Ça Skincare

Charlotte, founder of Comme Ça Skincare


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