By  on December 8, 2006

Cargo is encouraging customers to plant one — one them.

The indie cosmetics firm is readying its launch of PlantLove, a 12-item lipstick range with what company founder Hana Zalzal claims is the industry's first 100 percent biodegradable packaging, made from polylactic acid, a polymer made from corn that also is said to be a greenhouse gas-neutral polymer.

"Two years ago, I was looking at our lipstick case, and asked myself how I could make it better," said Zalzal. "A formulation change was the obvious answer, but I also wanted to improve the packaging — and I thought it would be great if it was biodegradable and earth-friendly."

The outer carton is fashioned from paper embedded with wildflower seeds. "It's about taking something that was once considered wasteful, and making it productive," said Zalzal. "PlantLove is a philosophy as well as a product line. The seeds we sow today will be reaped tomorrow."

The formulation also was updated to eliminate petroleum and mineral oils. PlantLove will replace Cargo's existing lipstick line.

Six of PlantLove's colors were developed in cooperation with celebrities: Cece by Courteney Cox is a sheer berry; Lindsay by Lindsay Lohan is a sheer pink; Mariska by Mariska Hargitay, a sheer nude caramel; Maria by Maria Menounos, a sheer poppy; Evangeline by Evangeline Lilly, a sheer coral, and Sarah by Sarah Chalke, a shimmering petal pink.

Zalzal was particularly fascinated by how some of the celebrities chose to demonstrate their desired shades: "Lindsay sent us a pale pink Post-It, and Courteney — who did an eye shadow palette for us last summer — sent us a piece of fabric," she said. "Mariska mixed a bunch of pigments together and sent us the results, and Evangeline tore out a random magazine page with a bright orange font. Each of these women was very involved in creating her color."

Five additional shades are named for beautiful locations: Nahinni, a shimmering semi­sheer copper; Yakushima, a sparkling candy-apple red; Killarney, a shimmering terra-cotta pink; Majella, a shimmering iced rose, and Sagarmantha, a sheer rosewood.

Each of the lipsticks will retail for $20. Cargo will donate $2 from each lipstick sale to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. While Zalzal wouldn't comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that PlantLove could do $2 million at retail worldwide in its first year on counter.Cargo currently is carried in about 300 doors worldwide. In the U.S., these doors include Macy's Herald Square and Sephora. PlantLove will enter Sephora in February for a one-month exclusive, then will enter Cargo's other doors in March.

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