Foi Sciences: Promoting sustainability in skincare

On March 30th, the world observes International Day of Zero Waste, an initiative that underscores the global imperative to address waste management challenges and promote sustainable practices. As we reflect on the significance of this day, we turn our attention to Foi Science, who boldly exist at the intersection of biopolymer technology, cosmetic science, and social innovation. Foi Sciences, custom designs eco-conscious skincare solutions with formulations that use natural ingredients and upcycled biopolymers from food waste. We sat down with their founder, Nomahlubi Nazo, to discuss how Foi Sciences is leading the way in sustainable skincare.  


Addressing Sustainability Through Waste Utilisation 

With a focus on utilising food and marine waste for cosmetic ingredient production, the company is not only reducing environmental impact but also creating innovative solutions for skincare products. We use food waste, such as fish scales, to produce collagen and eggshells for hyaluronic acid, turning waste into valuable resources.” says Nomahlubi,  who goes on to explain that “By repurposing waste materials that would otherwise be discarded, implementing water-saving methods, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Foi Sciences contributes to a more circular economy.”  


Insights into Waste Conversion Process

The process of converting food and marine waste into cosmetic ingredients involves rigorous extraction and refinement techniques. Foi Sciences ensures the safety and efficacy of these ingredients through stringent quality control measures and extensive testing. By adhering to high standards, they guarantee the integrity of their skincare formulations, offering consumers products they can trust.   

Foi Sciences also incorporates beauty consumer trials to affirm the efficacy of their products in addressing distinct skincare needs. This practice guarantees that their offerings are not only safe and sustainable but also deliver the desired skincare benefits. 

This process typically involves several key steps. First, we carefully select and source the waste materials, ensuring they meet our quality and sustainability standards. Next, we utilise advanced extraction and purification techniques to isolate the desired compounds from the waste. These compounds are then further processed and formulated to create high-quality cosmetic ingredients.” says Nomahlubi.  


Bridging Gaps in Dermatological Care 

Foi Sciences is leveraging technology to bridge gaps in dermatological care, particularly in communities where access to such services is limited. With the development of a skin diagnosis app, which provides customers with the opportunity to upload pictures of their skin or describe their skin concerns and receive a customised course of treatment targeted to skincare needs. The aim of this app is to provide accessible diagnostic tools to individuals without access to traditional medical aid. While the app is still in development, its potential impact on underserved communities is promising. 

Foi Science sees this app as an opportunity to expand its reach and expertise, particularly in the context of rural South Africa.  As Nomahlubi puts it, “Imagine someone in a remote area with a skin concern but no access to a dermatologist. They could use the app to take pictures of their skin condition and receive an initial diagnosis or recommendation for treatment.”  


Drawing Inspiration from Collaborative Experiences 

Reflecting on her time spent at UVU Bio’s first biotech lab, Nomalubi acknowledges the influence of collaborative experiences on the development and growth of Foi Sciences. Lessons learned from interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge-sharing continue to drive the company’s endeavors, shaping its approach to innovation and partnership. Collaboration is a key aspect of their approach, driving innovation and progress in the biotech industry. By partnering with other companies in training, research, and formulation development, the Foi Sciences leverages collective expertise to push the boundaries of possibility.  

Cosmetic Craft, another division of Foi Sciences, specialises in R&D and new product development for other SMMEs in need of third-party manufacturing services at an economical price. Through collaborations these SMMEs can access Foi Sciences’ advanced capabilities and expertise, enabling them to develop new product lines and expand their offerings without the need for extensive internal resources. This collaborative model is a cost-effective solution and contributes to the overall growth and advancement of the biotech industry.”explains Nomahlubi. 


Future Goals in Sustainability and Skincare 

Foi Sciences is excited about its future endeavors in sustainability and skincare. With a focus on expanding its range of sustainable skincare products and exploring new avenues for community engagement, the company remains committed to its mission of driving positive change in the industry. 

Foi Sciences’ has created training initiatives, providing opportunities for unemployed youth and women to benefit from their expertise. In line with their company values, Foi Sciences are constantly exploring new projects and initiatives to further their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. 

Nomahlubi shares what’s in the pipeline for Foi Science, “As Foi Sciences continues to grow, we are excited about several future projects coming up such as the development and expansion of our Rapha Skincare line, developing our Foi Science Virtual Hub e-learning platform courses and our overall goal to continue innovating in the skincare industry that contributes to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.”  

We are proud to have shared a spacewith this growing biotech venture. Our open-access lab provided Foi Sciences with the resources they needed, including access to equipment like the ultrasonicator, to facilitate their product development process. We look forward to seeing more of Foi Science, and their continued innovating in the skincare industry, creating products and educational resources that not only benefit individuals but also contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.