Support good to look good

“A PERSON who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly,” Roald Dahl wrote in his book, The Twits. When good business practices like sustainability, transparency, and inclusivity are distilled in a bottle, perhaps that’s at least one step to becoming truly beautiful?

Good Molecules, a US-based brand, seems to want its values displayed in its name, in the same way it has its ingredients and formulas printed on its packaging. Nils Johnson, founder of beauty e-commerce platform Beautylish and also behind Good Molecules, said during a press conference early this month, “It’s really something that we believe is really important; that people know exactly what they’re putting on their skin.”

“I think we’re the first brand to basically just give away our formulas. The reason we did that is one, we want you to know what’s in our products, and also, for us, it invites a good way that we can have honest conversations about how much we’re using,” he said during the Zoom conference on March 9.

Mr. Johnson walked us through some of the products, which, save for two lines (the pineapple exfoliant and a hydrating bar) are vegan, and were never tested on animals. All the products are priced well below or just a little above the P1,000 mark. There is the Niacinamide Serum, at P375 that refines and brightens skin tone and texture, along with a matching toner (P875) that evens out skin tones. There’s the  Hyaluronic Acid serum (P375) that hydrates the skin, as well as the Pineapple Exfoliating Powder (P1,000) that softens, brightens, and exfoliates. There’s a Discoloration Correcting Serum (P750), a personal favorite of Mr. Johnson’s, that improves the appearance of age spots, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage.

“SPF everyday,” he said in a roundtable interview after the press conference, when asked about his own skincare tips.

“We try to use glass,” he said about the packaging. “We’re trying to use materials that are either… things that are already recycled, or materials that can eventually be recycled.” As for the ingredients, they try to source ethically, citing that their rosehip oil from Chile is sourced under fair-trade practices. “It’s important for us to know the sourcing from an ethical sourcing standpoint, as well as to make it cost-effective,” said Mr. Johnson. “We try to direct-source as much as possible. It sets good prices; we can price our products as low as possible.”

It might have been easier, or cheaper, for Good Molecules not to be good: it could have placed guesswork in the ingredients list; it could have skipped recyclable glass as a packaging option — it could have done a dozen options that made its own business easier, and the customers would have been none the wiser. In jest. responding to how it could have been easier to become just another “evil” CEO, Mr. Johnson said, “I know; I want to be that.” However, times are changing, and consumers are becoming more aware of where their money goes, and that money should reflect on their own values. Mr. Johnson said, “The truth is, over time, we’ve become larger and we’re doing higher unit sales of our products. We want to be able to make sure that we’re having a positive impact in more than just on a customer level.”

“I think it’s part of the responsibility of just running a business now that you have to look at all the stakeholders and the people you have an impact on,” he said.

“That’s just the bar today.”

Good Molecules is available on BeautyMNL. For the full product list and more information, visit, and follow @goodmolecules_philippines on Instagram. — Joseph L. Garcia