There’s no doubt that you’ve probably heard a lot about the “green beauty” trend that’s been buzzing around the beauty community for a while (especially the clean beauty community). While green beauty has been a great stepping stone to improving beauty’s impact on the Earth and its environment, there’s a new beauty movement that’s been making waves recently: blue beauty.
But what exactly is “blue beauty” anyway?
What is Blue Beauty?
The blue beauty movement began as Project Blue Beauty, started by the founder of Beauty Heroes Jeannie Jarnot. Jarnot came to realize that while the green beauty movement was making progress in reducing harmful waste and creating a sustainable model for the beauty industry, it was not enough to simply cut back on plastic packaging and use Earth-friendly ingredients.
While similar, blue beauty’s mission is a bit more focused. This movement is more specifically concerned with the effects that our beauty products and packaging have on the ocean and how to restore and maintain these ecosystems.
While many green beauty products and brands also share this same sentiment, it’s an important distinction to make, as simply using clean ingredients isn’t always enough.
How Does the Beauty Industry Effect Marine Life?
Most of us know that plastic waste is one of the most detrimental things affecting our environment currently. Of the over 300 million tons of plastic produced each year, at least 8 million tons of it ends up in our oceans every year as well.
This waste is currently the most abundant type of litter found in our oceans, making up 80% of all ocean debris. Plastics can be found in every part of the ocean, from shorelines to sediment at the bottom of the ocean.
The main problem with plastics is that they can take up to 1,000 years to break down, if ever, and when they do, they release harmful chemicals into their surroundings.
Plastics make their way into oceans by way of urban runoff, improper waste disposal and management, construction, industrial facilities, illegal dumping, and beachgoers.
Almost every mainstream beauty brand is guilty of using plastics in their packaging, and much of it will end up in the world’s aquatic ecosystems. In fact, over 40% of total plastic use comes in the form of product packaging. Hard plastics such as those used in deodorant sticks will likely never break down and will continue to pose a threat to marine life for centuries.
When these plastics find their way into oceans, they have a devastating effect on marine life. Many species, such as turtles, fish, whales, and birds, will mistake plastic waste for prey, leading them to ingest the substance.
This causes devastating effects on their health and can result in starvation.
Ocean creatures are also frequently the victims of strangulation, lacerations, and infections due to the buildup of plastics in the ocean.
What Are Beauty Brands Doing to Change This?
Despite the sad reality that the beauty industry is contributing to our ocean’s plastic problem, there are many brands that are committed to making a change by implementing blue beauty practices into the production, distribution, and advertising of their products.
Beauty brand Ethique is making huge strides in creating a more ocean-friendly and sustainable beauty industry. New Zealander Brianne began mixing her own formulas in her kitchen and started her brand out of frustration for the amount of waste the beauty community creates.
“I figured out that up to 95% of your bottle of conditioner is made up of water—which is just ridiculous considering you have water in your bathroom!”, she explains on her website.
Ethique has made it their mission to eliminate all plastics and other harmful chemicals from their products, even down to the box they’re shipped in. Sustainable practices and a zero-waste philosophy make this brand the perfect choice for eliminating plastics from your body and hair care routine.
Aether Beauty is another brand that’s fully contributing to the blue beauty movement. Founder Tiila Abbitt left her position as Head of Product Development at Sephora to launch her own brand after finding that most clean beauty products lacked efficacy and variety when compared to conventional beauty products.
She learned how to formulate cosmetics according to a chemical ban list of over 1,400 harmful chemicals, including only organic, fair-trade, and child-labor-free ingredients in her formulations.
Abbitt has been successful in creating eco-friendly, highly-pigmented color cosmetics and her eyeshadow palettes are known to be the first zero-waste eyeshadow palettes in the beauty industry. She makes sure to never launch a product without making sure there is a more sustainable alternative available first.
A portion of the sales of each product is donated to environmental charities, continuing her mission to make the world a more beautiful and sustainable place.
What Can You Do to Make a Difference?
One person will create around 220 pounds of plastic waste each year, mostly in the form of product packaging. But thankfully, with more and more people choosing to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle, it is easier than ever to start implementing blue beauty into your life.
Beauty Heroes features a compilation of dozens of beauty brands that are committed to making a change in the environment through recyclable and biodegradable packaging, skin and Earth-friendly formulations, and sustainable ingredient sourcing.
Research your favorite brands and products and see what they’re doing to eliminate plastic waste and create a more sustainable and less toxic planet.