Lebanon’s budding skincare industry is jumping on the eco-friendly bandwagon. Seemingly overnight, various locally made skincare labels have surfaced on the Lebanese market, including Savvy Element, which was launched by Batoul Hakim in 2019 after three years of research.
“I’m a chemist, and it was a bit difficult for me to decide where to go,” Batoul explains, referring to her desire to use sustainable skincare products. “I had a strong environmentalist push, and everything I was buying was imported. So I thought, why not have something eco-friendly and local?”
In addition to earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in chemistry from Beirut’s Université Saint-Joseph (USJ) and a Master’s in economics from Beirut’s École Supérieure des Affaires (ESA), Batoul also worked for five years with the United Nations on renewable energy projects, so she was well-placed to launch a company with a sustainable bent. Her background also includes two research fellowships, one from the United States and another from Germany, during which she learned more about green chemistry and reducing environmental impact.
While Savvy Element doesn’t claim to use natural products, it is in fact an eco-friendly brand. “I use chemicals and synthetic ingredients that are biodegradable and safe,” says Batoul. “The methods of extraction are environmentally friendly, we don’t test on animals and the production cycle is energy efficient and non-water intensive.”
Savvy Element offers a home care line and a personal care line, and some of the brand’s most popular products include a shampoo bar that is both non-toxic and biodegradable. “This is new in Lebanon, it’s an innovative product,” says Batoul. “It works like a shampoo even though it looks like a soap.” Other bestsellers include an eco-friendly dishwashing soap that’s extra-gentle on the hands, and a leave-on moisturizing hair serum designed for a healthier scalp.
Batoul is hoping to start exporting her products sometime in the next six months, both to Europe and the Arabian Gulf countries. Currently, Savvy Element is available in Lebanon at A New Earth, Le Panier Du Coin and Wake, and online at Mint Basil Market, Kwikby and Lebzone, which also caters to international buyers. Lebanon customers can also purchase their favorite Savvy Element products through the company’s Instagram channel.
In keeping with its environmentally friendly ethos, Savvy Element uses biodegradable packaging. “We encourage people to return the packaging to us,” says Batoul, “and we offer discounts for those who do.”