Over the last couple of decades, we have seen a significant shift in the beauty market. First, there was Green Beauty, a movement in which environmentally friendly organic ingredients ruled the roost, and phthalates, sulfates, and parabens had no place. Then Clean Beauty appeared, in which traceability of the manufacturing supply chain was a must. Now, a new beauty has joined the eco-friendly family: Blue Beauty. But … What is Blue Beauty anyway, and how is it different than green beauty?
In this post, I'll talk about what this new eco-movement is, its origins, and I'll even mention some brands that embrace it. So don't close this tab; keep scrolling, and let's dive into the waters of Blue Beauty!
What is Blue Beauty?
Unlike the Green Beauty or Clean Beauty movements, the concept known as blue beauty goes a step further in terms of sustainability and environmentalism. It's not just about including natural ingredients in each beauty product (which is already a big step forward) or making supply chains transparent, but also about reducing the negative impact of waste on the environment and especially on aquatic ecosystems like rivers, lakes, and oceans.
What makes a beauty product or brand blue?
In order for beauty brands to be truly Blue or to sell Blue cosmetics, they essentially need to provide supply chain transparency first. Thus, inspectors and consumers will be able to verify that brands meet the following criteria:
Ingredient sourcing: Blue Beauty products contain zero harmful toxic chemicals, no microplastics (more on these nasty little things later), and zero non-biodegradable ingredients such as Teflon or silicone. Those are banned! So, which ingredients are allowed? Fair-trade organic ones, of course! Non-GMO, natural, and sustainable ingredients are always welcome.
Production: This category simply takes into account the manufacturing practices used when a brand creates a product. In other words, whether or not the brand is following environmental regulations, respectfully using water, or becoming certified carbon-neutral. If the brand pollutes the air, water bodies, and the environment in general with its production practices, it is far from being Blue.
Packaging: Let's say a brand has ingredient sourcing and manufacturing practices that are eco-friendly and responsible for our oceans and rivers. One day you're walking down the street, entering a store, and seeing the brand's products on display. But oh, surprise! Their packaging is made out of plastic. What a shame. This is the most obvious category when it comes to Blue Beauty since plastic is the biggest enemy of the oceans. Sadly, the packaging of most beauty products is made of that terrible material. However, not everything is lost for this hypothetical brand! Biodegradable, upcycled, or reusable packaging can save it and assure it the title of "Blue brand".
Shipping: As you may already know, all transportation methods for shipping (airplanes, cars, trucks, etc.) release large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. But wait! Carbon neutral shipping exists. You’re welcome!
Disposal: This category is complemented with "packaging" and "ingredient sourcing", as it's not just about what happens to the packaging of the products when they are disposed of, but what happens to waterways when you rinse off those cosmetics, and the fluid runs down the pipes. But if the brand doesn't use harmful chemicals in the making of its products, you have nothing to worry about.
Giving back: Last but certainly not least, giving back to the environment will help brands achieve the coveted Blue Beauty title. Organizations like 1% For The Planet support eco-initiatives to restore and preserve waterways and the environment in general, others like One Tree Planet that focuses on, you guessed it, planting three, and many more.
Greenwashing is EVERYWHERE, so you better keep your eyes open when shopping for Blue Beauty cosmetics!
Who is Jeannie Jarnot?
Some call her a genius, others a talented beauty boss. But who is Jeannie Jarnot really? To answer this question, let's first take a look at her background and where the brilliant idea to revolutionize the beauty industry towards a more eco-friendly approach was born.
With a degree in hospitality management from Cornell University, Jeannie has always been in touch with the beauty industry. She went from being an assistant spa director to a recognized spa director in less than four years after graduating and proudly maintained her successful career for over a decade.
However, after contemplating her own and her client’s frustrations with the beauty industry for quite some time and having worked closely with non-toxic, natural brands, she decided to pursue the path of entrepreneurship. That's how she took the leap of faith and founded Beauty Heroes in 2014, then in 2018 started the revolutionary Blue Beauty movement. And the rest is history!
Jeannie is not just a genius or a beauty boss. She is the epitome of how you can make a significant change in areas you may think are too big for you, a visionary actively working to improve the landscape of the giant and controversial beauty industry. Long story short, a fierce ecopreneur!
What Makes Beauty Heroes Blue & above all Eco-Friendly?
Taking out of the equation the fact that they were the pioneers in implementing the concept of Blue Beauty to their business model (their founder was the one who started the movement, it would be… Very strange if her own beauty store weren’t Blue), Beauty Heroes currently holds the most rigorous ingredient standard in the industry.
They make sure that every product they add to their store contains no toxic ingredients for either their consumers or the environment, always going for the healthiest and most luxurious brands available. By "luxurious," I don't mean exorbitant prices or ingredients from another planet, but brands that produce the best of the best for your precious skin.
Of course, they're not only strict about the ingredients in their products, but they're also strict about their entire supply chain. From the moment they source their ingredients to how they ship the final product, Beauty Heroes monitors that no substantial harm is done to the air we breathe, the water we drink, or the land we walk on. Plus, they even support environmental initiatives like One Tree Planted, planting a tree for every online order.
Jeannie Jarnot explains it perfectly with this sentence: "My hope is that our customers use products that they love, understand and trust.” When you read their ingredients section, you can understand what they are made of and trust them because the benefits they will bring you are consistent and realistic, and last but not least, that you love them for their transparency and high quality.
Other Blue Beauty Brands You Can Trust
Axiology: This vegan, cruelty-free, palm-oil-free brand uses organic ingredients, including shea butter and moringa oil. In addition to this, its packaging is made out of recycled paper from Bali. How cool is that?
Agent Nateu: In the brand's own words, "our philosophy is simple: Create chic, results-driven, natural beauty products that are anti-aging with healthy, organic ingredients that you can EAT". Yup, this brand is so Green, Clear and Blue that you can eat their products (meaning that you can do it, but you shouldn't! I'm not encouraging anybody to eat their beauty products. Never in a million years would I pictured ourselves doing this type of disclaimer).
OSEA: Its name itself is an abbreviation of "Ocean, Sun, Earth, and Atmosphere.” OSEA is a brand of ecological beauty that uses algae carefully extracted from Patagonia as their key ingredient, and I love it!
EiR NYC: Powerful natural formulas that take care of the environment and your skin, focusing on the minimal use of polluting elements such as plastic for its packaging. Browse their products on their website and get ready to fall in love with them.
So…What's the difference between Blue Beauty and Green Beauty?
We have all heard about "green" initiatives, and of course, the beauty industry couldn't be left out of the picture. While Green Beauty encourages the preservation of our environment by using only natural ingredients, the Blue Beauty movement goes one step further, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
Besides their color (ba dum tsss), the main difference between the two is that Blue focuses on achieving a very specific objective: the rehabilitation and protection of our bodies of water. It revolves around the impact of ingredient sourcing, manufacturing practices, packaging, shipping, and improper disposal on our marine life. It aims to change each of these aspects to make them eco-friendly.
In contrast, Green Beauty is more like an umbrella term. It doesn't have such a specific objective. It simply seeks to ensure that beauty products aren’t made with nasty or toxic ingredients, and it protects the environment in general.
What effects do beauty products have on our oceans and marine life?
To answer the question "what effects do beauty products have on our oceans and marine life?" I only need one word: pollution. And if you're wondering "how?", I also have a short, but strong answer: plastics. Microplastics. And, of course, chemicals.
Plastic pollution is one of the worst side effects of the manufacturing of products for human consumption. Millions of tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans every year, at least 8 million tons yearly. At the same time, more than 120 billion non-recyclable cosmetic packagings are manufactured worldwide every year. Do you think there's any relation between these two data? Of course, there is!
This information is almost predictable, but let's talk about microplastics for a moment. Microplastics are tiny plastic particles formed by exposing these plastics to degradable agents that continuously pollute waterways. But there is also another classification of microplastics, intentionally made for personal hygiene products such as shower gels, facial scrubs, loofahs and even tubes of toothpaste. These are commonly called "microspheres''.
They are described as extra tiny particles, but in reality, they can become a big problem. Sewage systems can’t filter them out, so they end up causing significant damage to the inhabitants of our oceans, their ecosystem, and, of course, to human health.
Do I even need to mention the damage caused by chemicals used in the manufacture of beauty products? As an example of this, one of the biggest threats to coral reefs is sunscreen because they contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, and a variety of other chemicals that cause severe damage to marine life. If a simple, traditional sunscreen can do so much damage to our aquatic ecosystems, just picture the damage done by all the chemicals used in the beauty industry.
How the beauty industry affects our environment as a whole
While I've already mentioned how the beauty industry affects our oceans and marine life, that's just the tip of the iceberg. The beauty industry affects our entire environment. Contributing to climate change with the plastic packaging that will take hundreds of years to break down in a landfill, deforestation by way of palm oil for various beauty products, and CO2 emissions courtesy of the factories that mass produce cheap makeup. That is the ugly face of this industry.
I don't mean to get kind of dark in here, but who would have thought that products meant to beautify our lives would also contribute to slowly ending them in some way?
Blue Beauty Is The Next Logical Step In Helping Our Environment
There is still a long way to go, but the truth is that we are slowly and steadily progressing in terms of sustainability in the beauty industry. While blue beauty is a relatively new “trend,” I hope to see it pick up and become more mainstream in the feature.
Undoubtedly, our seas and oceans are not only for sailing or enjoying their immense waters. They are literally the lungs of our planet and represent a resource without which we cannot live. That is why we need initiatives like the three beauties, which seek to reduce an important part of the negative impact of human beings on the environment.
In addition, our skin is a reflection of our health. Beauty brands of dubious provenance or those containing more than five chemicals that we can't even pronounce most likely will damage our skin in one way or another, so it's better to opt for ones that not only protect our bodies of water and our precious marine life, but also our largest organ, our skin.