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Sustainable Skincare: What Does It Mean to Mother Dirt

Jenna Jolls

Our Innovative & Sustainable Approach To Skincare

From ingredients and formulas to packaging and practices, we've made it our mission here at Mother Dirt to celebrate the magic of Mother Earth every day of the year.

Since 2015, we've been creating products that restore and maintain the skin microbiome. Many years ago, our founder, MIT scientist David Whitlock, discovered our proprietary technology, Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria (AOB), while studying why horses roll around in the dirt. He hypothesized that this bacteria fed off ammonia and produced Nitrite and Nitric Oxide, which are beneficial compounds in the earth's ecosystem, as well as the skin's. 

The Mother Dirt Difference

Along the lines of the hygiene hypothesis, David saw the correlation between our personal care products combined with less time spent outdoors, a weakened skin microbiome, and a huge rise in skin issues. 

It's ironic and frustrating that the products we've chosen throughout our life to care for ourselves have instead wreaked havoc. For many years we had limited choices and no education on these matters, which is why we create with intention and practice transparency, as evidenced by our product labels, ingredients glossary, and our mission to educate our customers by creating and sharing helpful, informative content.

As such, our goal is to provide you a level of trust and comfort knowing the products we produce are safe, free from parabens, phthalates, and harsh surfactants, and formulated to work with you instead of against you.

So we went to work harnessing the power of live probiotics and potent probiotic extracts in our Active Probiotic System to restore and maintain the skin microbiome. Using naturally derived ingredients and science as our guide, we created an AOB-friendly assay to ensure everything we do maintains harmony with our proprietary technology.

Lauren Trahan, Mother Dirt's Director of Product & Innovation, explains, "the assay itself measures how much Nitrite/Nitric Oxide is produced by AOB alone, compared to when we mix AOB with our products. If there is no Nitrite released, the product kills AOB.

If there is Nitrite, but it decreases over time, the product will probably harm the AOB and ultimately kill it. So, we confirm that the AOB (1) still produces Nitrite and (2) increases that production with continued exposure -- up to 24 hours. This guarantees that if you use the Mist with the other products in our Active Probiotic System, you'll reap the benefits of AOB."

In the end, we aim to help you restore your relationship with your skin - to one that is healthy, strong, And peaceful. So, all of our skincare products are made with sustainable and ethical practices.

Our Vision

Our vision is to restore the skin microbiome, activating the transformative power of probiotics to help repair the imbalance caused by traditional skincare - revealing your most biologically balanced and vibrant skin.

We Believe

We believe that the power of probiotics, guided by science and influenced by nature, is the key to healing the relationship with your skin.

Our Values

Our innovative approach to skincare combines biotic-infused formulas made from naturally-derived ingredients with scientific research to help restore the microbiome and bring radiance back to your skin.


We select raw materials to help keep your microflora in check.


We comply with clean beauty standards. All of our formulas are free-from:

  • Parabens
  • Sulfates
  • Phthalates
  • Mineral Oil
  • Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde-releasing ingredients
  • Oxybenzone
  • Coal tar dyes
  • Hydroquinone
  • Triclosan


Our products are formulated to be safe for both your skin and our proprietary ammonia-oxidizing Bacteria (AOB). We test on humans (and bacteria) to ensure our product's safety. Almost all of our ingredients are sourced from plants.


Some brands use only three ingredients. We won't commit to a number; we commit to using ingredients that work. If it's in our formula, it's for a reason.


From non-toxic gels to biodegradable and recyclable packaging, containers, and corrugates, we are committed to developing products that are just as friendly to the environment as they are to your skin. When we talk about sustainable beauty, we want to exceed what the beauty industry is already doing.

"We're constantly working to improve the sustainability of our products, everything from packaging to what's going into our products and even how they are distributed. Over the past few years, we've been trying to streamline our packaging and are moving to more eco-friendly recyclable friendly materials as we continue to develop and launch more products," says Lindsey Fries, Supply Chain Manager for Mother Dirt.

Mother Dirt is focusing on supporting sustainability (in addition to your skin microbiome!). Here are just a few ways how:

  • All of our direct-to-consumer shipping materials are now curbside recyclable or biodegradable.
  • We are working to include more and more recycled materials into our packaging; many of our boxes, bottles, and tubes contain already recycled materials. Our products are packaged in recyclable components and are primarily curbside recyclable. Many are made with post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials. Our Body Wash, Hair Wash, and Conditioner bottles are made from 100% PCR, in addition to the cotton in the liners we use for our temp-controlled AO+ Restorative Mist direct to consumer packaging.
  • The gel refrigerant packs which provide temperature-sensitive protection for the safe transport of our AO+ Restorative Mist are durable, reusable, and non-toxic. The refrigerant in our gel packs is completely drain-safe! It can be poured right down your kitchen sink, and the pouch is recyclable.
  • The temperature control liners we use to insulate our AO+ Restorative Mist during transit to our customers are made of recycled cotton with a proprietary biodegradable film.

Our beauty products are a combination of natural ingredients and years of research designed to treat your skin type from sustainable sources materials and ethically sourced ingredients.

We Are Certified Cruelty-Free

We choose nature-identical ingredients that are not tested on animals for cosmetics purposes. We are members of PETA's Beauty Without Bunnies program, which certifies that our entire product line is vegan and cruelty-free.

Wrapping It Up

Having pioneered a new approach to skincare, our restorative skin probiotics line combines biotic-infused formulas made from naturally-derived ingredients and advanced science for glowing, healthier-looking skin. We take great pride in our innovation and sustainability. We will continue to evolve our brand, formulas, and packaging to make your skin microbiome (and the world we live in) happier and healthier.

When you use Mother Dirt's products in your skincare routine, you can feel confident that

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