2020 Group Project
Sustainable Algae Lipstick / Material Research


What's Urth?

Urth is a redesigned lipstick that provides conscious consumer behavior towards sustainability and a positive end of life. Urth is a healthy lipstick to ourselves and to the environment from the inside and out.

End of life problems of Luxury Cosmetic



Luxury Cosmetics



What if the whole lipstick is biodegradable?

Material Research on Algae 

Center for Renewable Materials at UC San Diego

To achieve biodegradable and compostable lipstick, we begin to look at different materials that are easy to produce and renewable. Because extracting raw materials caused the highest negative impact on the environment in the current lipstick’s Life Cycle Analysis, we decided to reduce it by using Algae.


Material Research : Algae

Lab testing from UCSD on pigments and different types of materials can be produced from extracting Algae.

The test proves that components in the lipstick packaging can be made with flexible to durable/hard material.


Various colors from Algae

The test from the lab shows different color options Algae can produce and these are only sample colors

How to reduce material waste?


Which mechanism should be used to reduce the materials?

How do I remove multiple layers to a single layer?

Can I achieve aesthetics with algae-based material and unusual mechanisms?

I asked a lot of questions to myself when I ideated for Urth. I focused on how to reduce and eliminate any unnecessary parts inside of the lipstick to truly achieve the sustainability goal. Although it may seem like a tiny product won’t make a huge change to the environment, numerous of them are purchased and thrown away every single minute.

I took the Guerlain Rouge’s parts apart and studied its mechanism. The capless idea it had needed relatively bigger space for the cap to go back inside the body part when users push the button down. From the observation, I decide to use the cap as a button to pull the lipstick up from the body. This allowed me to keep the size smaller and remove the button.


Comparison in packaging

L’oreal had the highest dollar sales share (8.3%) of lipstick brands in the US in 2019 and its most loved product had a high impact on the environment.

Whereas Urth, with its biodegradable and compostable material from algae, minimized the impact by reducing the number of materials.

How to refill

loreal_refill_steps (1)-01.png

5. Ready to use!

Cap works as a button to control the inner panel. It simply locks into the panel with a little hook in the back of the cap.

This removes 2 extra layers of material in the original lipstick.

1. Empty lipstick

2. Get a Urth refill

3. Take out the cap

4. Simply insert the refill







Urth is available in 5 different colors and the materials are made in algae polyester, algae PHA, and algae pigments.

Logo Development


Logo modified from Century Gothic Regular

Artboard 1 copy.jpg

Urth is made out of renewable energy, leaving less impact on the environment and a positive impact on your health with non-toxic ingredients.