What is the Supply Chain?

laurel ingredients

Photo Courtesy of Laurel Skin

I don’t know about you, but, until recently, I had never given much thought to “the supply chain.” Which is strange, considering that I’ve put considerable research time into finding out where the ingredients for my beauty products are grown, how they’re processed, who formulates them, and other details like that that many consumers don’t consider. It’s part of my job as a beauty journalist and blogger to think about the Berber women who harvest Argan oil for Kahina Giving Beauty, the local, California farms that Laurel Skin gets plants from, and the ways that Maya Chia gives back to the people of the region that inspired their formulations.

I’ve even thought about packaging! Axiology, a brand I love and am excited to welcome to Integrity Botanicals, uses handmade paper (made from 100% recycled paper waste, no less, and manufactured by a group of women in Bali that collects trash from around the island and turns the waste into beautiful packaging) to make all their boxes. Josh Rosebrook has done incredible updates to his line’s packaging to be as eco-thoughtful as possible, using innovations like fully recyclable airless glass bottles and bio-resin sugarcane plastic materials. 

But I haven’t given a ton of thought to how it all comes together, and gets from place to place. I’ve had my own, small experiences with the frustration of slow mail delivery; for example, I ordered this gorgeous rug from Rifle Paper Co’s collab with Loloi a few months ago and have had to wait because of the supply chain delays (totally worth it, though!). But recently, more and more of us have become aware of these “supply chain issues.” What does that even mean, exactly?

Well, it can mean a lot of different things. On the most basic level, it can mean shipping delays of consumer packages– both USPS and UPS started experiencing delays before the full-on holiday shopping (and shipping) season began. But once you start to go behind the scenes, the supply chain problems get more complex and varied; a lot of brands and companies are experiencing packaging and ingredient delays, causing products to be out of stock for extended periods of time.

Here are some examples of products that are out of stock or delayed, and some ideas for substitutions to try while you wait!

Fitglow Beauty’s Vita Shield SPF 30 has been out of stock because of packaging delays, and likely won’t be returning until Spring of next year. It has long-been one of Integrity Boanicals’ best selling SPF products, and we know it will be again once it returns.  (While we wait for it to come back, try new-to-us brand Solara Suncare for all your SPF needs!)

La Bella Figura tells us that they are just now getting ingredients that they ordered back in March!  Everything La Bella Figura has been sold out on IntegrityBotanicals.com since June.  They may be able to get us 3 or 4 products soon, but we won’t be fully stocked with LBF again until sometime (hopefully) early next year. (Nothing can replace LBF, of course, but while we wait for it to return, you might like Live Botanical or Blüh Alchemy!)

Here’s what the LBF team said about production delays in their most recent newsletter:

“After nearly a year of experiencing supply issues we’ve been able to source our unparalleled, fragrant mango butter from Brazil and sumptuous, rich murumuru butter from our producers in the Amazon. We waited this long because our sources experienced production issues due to Covid and these ingredients are the best we’ve ever tried. We practiced patience and finally we’ve been able to formulate fresh batches of Rainforest Hydration Treatment.”

Nudus, a lipstick brand based in Australia, was shut down for a while over the summer and had to stop production. The last time they shipped to Integrity Botanicals was in June, but they’re hoping they will be able to ship to us again soon. (I highly recommend Axiology if you’re looking for a Nudus replacement in the meantime!)

We’ve been told that Fontana Candle Co’s large tin packaging is not available for the company to order, so it’s been out of stock for the last month.  They don’t expect they’ll be able to get the large tins (black or gold) back again until next year. They normally use black tins but have had to use gold here and there to compensate for the black packaging shortages. (Never fear: they still have glass containers and small tins, so stock up on great-smelling candles from Fontana now!)

de Mamiel‘s Rosey Lip Balm is another example of a beloved product having been out of stock for so long.  It was a best seller at Integrity Botanicals and has been out of stock since shortly after the pandemic started due to de Mamiel not being able to get the necessary ingredients. Co-founder Terri Hall tells me she actually had to remove it from the Integrity Botanicals website because so many customers kept asking when it was going to be back in stock! The company tells us it should be back next year sometime, so stay tuned, everyone! It’s coming back. (And while you wait, have you tried Kari Gran’s Rosie Gold Lip Whip?)

Laurel Skin’s Hydrosols, particularly Calendula and California Rose, won’t be available to ship to Integrity Botanicals again until early next year due to ingredient shortages. (If you want to try something different but equally good, I recommend Maya Chia’s The Optimist!)

And how are customers reacting to these shortages? At Integrity Botanicals, we’ve seen some customers stock up on things – like buying 6 of a beloved deodorant, getting back-ups of their favorite blush, mascara, facial sponges, etc.– which I, a tried-and-true product junkie, have to applaud. When you know you love something and you can’t live without it, it’s a great way to plan ahead!

However, many of us have had to sacrifice (for lack of a better term) in terms of being able to get our favorite skincare products, and instead, look to getting similar alternatives.  This can actually be a blessing in disguise– sometimes it forces us to try new things and discover new products we love or get out of our ruts!– but it can also be a real bummer when you’ve finally found the one thing that really works for you, and then you can’t get it.

It’s always good to know what’s going on– a lot of us don’t realize that the companies we love and depend on are experiencing packaging and ingredient delays, and that that’s why products are out of stock for extended periods of time. But I encourage all you fellow beauty-lovers to use this as an opportunity to sample some new things. You never know what you might discover and fall in love with! And never fear– almost all of the things we love and miss will come back in stock in the next few months or so. Patience is a virtue, right? And while you wait, you just might find a new favorite product.

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Emily Barth Isler

About Emily Barth Isler

Emily Barth Isler is a writer whose work appears on Allure.com, Mother.ly, Organic Spa Magazine, and Popsugar.com. She is also the author of 3 books for young adults and co-creator of the natural beauty blog, Product Junkies Rehab. She loves coffee and podcasts, and is so good at watching TV it should be considered a skill. Emily lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two children. Find her on Instagram @emilybarthisler for skincare and book recommendations and pictures from her favorite California hikes.