Eco Hero

Uni, A New Body Care Line, Is Here To Give Your Shower A Glow-Up

Sustainable personal care, designed for your #shelfie.

“Sustainable” is 2022’s newest beauty buzzword, but, like its precursor “clean,” the definition usually remains murky. Uni, a new body care line founded by tech entrepreneur Alexandra Keating, wants to make it crystal clear — like, Great-Barrier-Reef-water clear. “For me, it stemmed from a problem — one-third of single-use plastic comes from the beauty industry,” Keating says. “That’s just insane, but it’s a solvable problem.” Her solution? A streamlined range of body care products in an innovative, carbon-neutral delivery system that she hopes will one day replace the plastic bottles millions of people use then discard every month. Keating was clear on her vision on creating a more sustainably-minded future for the common consumer (a viewpoint that resonated with early-stage investors like Ashton Kutcher’s SoundWaves, which led to the brand’s impressive $4 million seed funding), but first, she knew the line had to be something people would want to use — and for that, she reached out to Marc Atlan, the creative director and veteran packaging designer behind brands such as Commes des Garcons, Hourglass, Kjaer Weis, and more. “I had to convince him that a reusable body care line could be elevated,” she laughs. “But once he saw the vision, he was in.”


The Packaging

Atlan’s vision for Uni’s design involves sleek, reusable aluminum in soothing curves and an innovative, plastic-free delivery system. This is how it works: When you order your first Uni product, you’ll receive an aluminum pump dispenser and an aluminum refill bottle containing Uni’s Skin Shield Body Wash, Exfoliating Hand Wash, Hydrating Shampoo, Hydrating Conditioner, or 24 Hour Body Serum. The aluminum dispenser nestles over the refill bottles and is designed to be something you’ll keep, so that moving forward, you’ll only have to order the refill bottles. This delivery system allows for a zero-waste, closed-loop system — users keep the aluminum dispensers (which come with a two-year warranty), and mail back the refill bottles once they finish them to be recycled by Uni. The products range from $28 to $40, with the refills being offered for less (i.e. $25 for the hand wash refill versus $28 for the system that comes with the dispenser). “I wanted to separate the price,” Keating says. “You have the initial price for the dispenser and the refill, but I wanted the ongoing refill to be something that wouldn’t feel like a huge deal.” Though the price may feel steep compared to the products you find at your local drugstore, it’s much less than other luxury body care brands like Aesop and Nécessaire. “I think a lot of these brands are prohibitively expensive and now that I understand the industry, there’s absolutely no reason for it,” Keating says.


The Ingredients

Keating put just as much care into what’s inside Uni’s unique packaging — uni, after all, is also the Japanese word for sea urchin, a tasty delicacy hiding within a hard-shelled exterior. All of the ingredients in Uni’s range are certified reef-safe, meaning they don’t harm the land or sea once they’re washed down into our waterways, and contain sustainably sourced marine actives from Keating’s native country Australia, as well as natural fragrances. “Transparency is key for us,” says Keating. “You can hover over any ingredient on our website and see why it’s there and its EWG rating.” Uni’s hand wash is made with upcycled olive pips, the body wash is made with Australian caviar lime extract and kakadu plum, and the body serum was inspired by the high-quality ingredients in a face serum Keating used and loved. “Out of all of the products, it’s probably my favorite and what I feel is a category winner,” she says. The scents — often the signature element of many body and hair care ranges — were inspired by the jungles surrounding Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, smelling of “foliage and spicy woods.”

Uni Product Review

I received Uni’s entire product line and have found a permanent space in my shelf for the brand’s Skin Shield Body Wash, Exfoliating Hand Wash, and 24 Hour Body Serum. The aluminum dispensers feel hefty, but look sleek and streamlined — minimalists will love the way they look on their bathroom counter or for their #showershelfie. If you’re expecting to be hit in the face with floral, woodsy, pungent fragrances like other luxury personal care brands, you won’t find that here. All of Uni’s scents are understated and fresh-smelling — less of a sensory overload, and more of a slight whiff of marine breeze. I personally prefer more of a scented experience in my body and shower-care routine, but as I’ve used the products over the past few weeks I’ve found myself gravitating more and more towards their more subtle scents — the body serum especially has become a new favorite (and one that my boyfriend now steals from me constantly). The dispensers are satisfying to use, the pump system is incredibly easy to put together, and overall, the line feels thoughtfully designed while leaving my skin feeling soft and hydrated. It also just feels good that I’m using a product line that’s making such a concerted effort for a more sustainable future.

Keating says that her dream one day is that Uni will be found on the shelves in any Manhattan fashion store, hotel, or restaurant: “I want to be in culture and my hope is to walk into a place and see Uni without me putting it there,” she says. “That would be a happy moment.”