What's In Birkenstock's Skin Care Line? It's All About Cork

Everyone's favorite summer shoe brand is headed into an unexpected arena: skincare. Birkenstock is launching a Natural Skin Care line, making a seemingly random jump from footwear to face lotions. While it's definitely an unanticipated transition, the venture presented itself in an organic way to the label in the form of cork oak extract.

Known for their clunky cork soles, the German company has a long history working with cork — 240 years, to be exact. While their all-natural, granola-like platforms are part of the reason why fashion lovers love contrasting their outfits with their styles, Birkenstock discovered that they could also use their knowledge of cork to translate the material into a powerful skincare line.

“While we were doing our research regarding a healthy product concept in the skin-care segment, we realized that scientists in the cosmetics industry had discovered the highly effective antiaging effect of suberin, a remarkable substance which is contained in cork oak extract,” Birkenstock chief executive officer Oliver Reichert told WWD.

So what does cork actually do? It turns out it's great for skin elasticity and care. Scraped from the bark of cork oak, it has a skin-smoothing effect, stimulates collagen formation, reduces redness, and protects your skin from free radicals

Once that discovery was made, the skincare line project started, where the brand made a special cosmetics division to research, develop, and test a range of products that would help lift, tighten, and cleanse the skin. The end result was an all-natural, sustainable collection of a whopping 28 items.

Birkenstock Natural Care

The collection is split into six different categories, which tackle different needs. "Natural Comfort" offers intensive care for hands and feet that will help regenerate and protect stressed skin. "Natural Moisture" will help to reinvigorate, firm, and smooth the skin; and "Natural Age Control" will smooth, lift, and repair the skin.

"Natural Shapes" and "Natural Freshness" will be the the body, hair, and face cleansing line, which will nourish your body and hair without causing irritations or drying them out. And "Natural Man" offers three skincare products targeted at men that will fight dehydration, signs of fatigue, and premature skin aging.

Birkenstock Natural Care

All the products are parabens, paraffin, synthetic, and silicone free, where the formulas instead focus on using natural active ingredients. "While conventional cosmetics may contain irritating or even harmful substances, our innovative skincare line uses selected plant extracts and unique combinations of active substances with proven benefits," Birkenstock shared on their site. "They protect, nourish, and regenerate our skin — without any chemicals."

While all-naturalness is a huge cornerstone of their new line, so is sustainability. Not only is their packaging eco-friendly and incorporates cork, but the way they harvest the cork oak is very environmentally conscious. Their trees will be peeled at intervals of nine years for about a century and a half, ensuring that they don't strip the trees to the point of ruin. "Cork oak populations also act as an essential lung for the planet, as they are able to absorb a great deal of carbon dioxide, thereby helping to combat global warming," Birkenstock shared on their site. "It is important that the cork oak plantations are managed in an environmentally responsible manner, thus affording them long-term protection."

Birkenstock Natural Skin Care products won't be coming to stores until the fall, meaning you still have some time until you see them in stores. They will retail from $17-$75, making it a mid-range line and relatively affordable for an all-natural, sustainable collection.

While it's a venture that seemingly came out of the blue, the beauty world is excited to see just how these beauty products will shape up!