Birkenstock Launches Refillable Sustainable Cork Skincare Product Line

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German footwear brand Birkenstock has just released its Natural Skin Care products, infused with the company’s iconic material: cork. The shoemaker has expanded to skincare after realising that a substance in cork oak contains skin-smoothing properties. Their skincare line will also emphasise sustainability through using only regenerative oak cork, and the products will be refillable. Like other heritage brands that have endured over the years, Birkenstock is staying relevant by appealing to and capturing the growing eco-conscious market with greener offerings. 

245-year old German footwear manufacturer Birkenstock has launched an entirely new category of products called Birkenstock Natural Skin Care. The line will feature foot balms, body scrubs, cleansers, lip balms and eye creams – all of which will contain suberin, a substance in cork oak extract known for its anti-redness and collagen-producing qualities. All the ingredients are natural and cruelty-free, and most of the products are vegan-friendly. Piloting the skincare line in one of their Los Angeles locations in June, the range is now fully available online and will also be launching through third-party retailers like Nordstrom by next year. 

Key to the natural beauty line is the brand’s avowed commitment to sustainability. Birkenstock says that it will not cut down any cork trees for their products’ star ingredient, but instead will only source from mature oak bark, which regenerates every 9 years. Regenerative agriculture is climate-friendly because it can reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that drives global warming, and provide much-needed revival to our poor soil quality due to intensive farming practices and inefficient land management

This isn’t the first time that companies have used regenerative cork to make their products more sustainable. United Kingdom-based cult beauty brand LUSH recently launched cork containers, a carbon positive packaging solution that uses regeneratively-grown and pesticide-free cork sourced from Portugal. 

While the packaging of Birkenstock’s skincare offerings hasn’t yet reached carbon positive status, it is still designed to be refillable. Once finished with their product, customers can replace the cartridge and minimise the waste that often comes with beauty and cosmetics products

This marks a major step for the brand, whose legacy has so far been selling only footwear (more specifically, their instantly recognisable cork sandals). It is an example that even longstanding iconic brands must innovate and appeal to the growing number of green-minded consumers in order to stay relevant. Other heritage brands have also taken similar strides, such as English boot company Dr. Marten’s who have managed to keep up with eco-conscious and animal-friendly trends by selling a line of vegan boots.

Lead image courtesy of Birkenstock.


  • Sally Ho

    Sally Ho is Green Queen's former resident writer and lead reporter. Passionate about the environment, social issues and health, she is always looking into the latest climate stories in Hong Kong and beyond. A long-time vegan, she also hopes to promote healthy and plant-based lifestyle choices in Asia. Sally has a background in Politics and International Relations from her studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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