SBTRCT’s Solid Skincare is the Future of Beauty

Pin It
Courtesy SBTRCT

The new, multi-award-winning skincare line specialises in solid moisturisers, face washes and retinol

  1. Who is it? SBTRCT, a multi-award-winning new skincare line specialising in solid moisturisers, face washes and retinol
  2. Why do I want it? As well as being effective, the brand is also leading the way in ethical innovation: it’s 100 per cent plastic-free, vegan, palm-oil free and uses only 0.5 per cent of water in its ingredients
  3. Where can I get it? Online from the official SBTRCT website

Who is it? Hertfordshire-based entrepreneur Benjamin Grace is no stranger to skincare. Before starting SBTRCT in 2020, he spent a decade as the managing director of Bulldog. While there, he helped transform the men’s skincare brand from ramshackle startup to international powerhouse, learning the secrets of product formulation, development and marketing along the way. “I had 10 years of incredible experience, and I wasn’t really putting it to use,” Grace says today. “That’s when I started to think a bit more about launching my own skincare brand, and what it would look like.”

At the time, Grace himself was embracing a more minimalist lifestyle. After leaving Bulldog in 2017, he started to simplify his day-to-day habits, buying “a lot less” and becoming more environmentally conscious. It was during this period that he had the idea for SBTRCT: a premium, highly innovative skincare brand that uses proven ingredients – like retinoids and squalane – in a truly sustainable way, scrapping all unnecessary pollutants. “If you strip out everything that you don’t need in your life, you’re more able to love and value the things that you’ve made a conscious choice to keep,“ says Grace. “Less is more.”

From there, he identified three of the beauty industry’s biggest environmental problems: plastic pollution, water scarcity and an over-reliance on palm oil (which is a major contributor to global deforestation). “When it comes to premium skincare and beauty, the brands in that space have been really slow to wake up and offer any sort of meaningful alternatives to the plastic packaging they’re really wedded to,” Grace says. He also points out that the majority of skincare products use between 70 to 80 per cent of water in their formulas, which “really doesn’t need to be there [when] there are 844 million people around the world who lack access to clean safe water.” After years of meticulous product development, Grace came up with an answer: solid skincare bars which are 100 per cent plastic and palm-oil-free, and use only 0.5 per cent of water.

Why do I want it? The clean beauty movement can feel overwhelming. With so many brands haphazardly wielding buzzwords like “sustainable”, “green” and “environmentally-friendly”, it can be hard to discern true authenticity. But in this bustling market, SBTRCT is the real deal. Its pioneering approach to plastics, palm oils and water usage has already earned it numerous awards – including seven Beauty Shortlist nods – despite being on the market for barely a year. 

And while the shift to solid skincare might feel a little strange at first – particularly for those who’ve grown accustomed to their shelves of luxurious creams, plastic pump bottles and silky lotions – the products themselves are undeniably effective. Currently, SBTRCT offers two types of cleanser, a facial balm, and a gentle night retinoid treatment (the first of its kind). All of these offerings are solid, like soap, and require rubbing between your hands before use, which helps release the brand’s soft signature scent of geranium, rose and tonka bean.

The products work, smell delicious, and offer an innovative and ambitious solution to the beauty industry’s environmental issues – but the biggest question is whether or not consumers are ready for this solid revolution. For Grace, it comes down to the products themselves – and he believes they are good enough to convert the sceptical. “It all comes down to performance,” he stresses. “People might make the switch to solid, but if the products don’t perform it’s not going to work – you’re not going to have repeat purchase. So getting it right was really, really important. I spent a long time working it ... Hopefully, we’ll continue to grow.”

Where can I get it? Online from the official SBTRCT website.