I was very excited to learn about a new clean beauty trend called Blue Beauty I read about in an Elle article. Compared to Green Beauty, Blue Beauty goes a step further. It revolves around the affect packaging has on our marine life, water wastage and minimizing the damage we inflict on our oceans.
The Difference Between Clean, Green and Blue Beauty
- Clean Beauty: non-toxic beauty, as in non-toxic when applied to your skin.
- Green Beauty: sustainably sourced ingredients.
- Blue Beauty: products are safe for the environment – which includes being ocean safe as well as sustainably sourced, minimizing carbon footprint etc.
Blue = Ocean-Friendly
Blue Beauty is all about limiting plastic wastage, ways to recycle and protecting our oceans from chemicals found in our beauty products, such as sunscreens. A lot of them contain oxybenzone, which can seep into the water, where they’re absorbed by corals. These substances contain nanoparticles that can disrupt coral’s reproduction and growth cycles, ultimately leading to bleaching, causing serious damage to the ecosystem.
In 2018 Hawaii passed a bill and the small island nation of Palau announced to ban the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, another harmful chemical. Hawaii is the first state to pass such a measure, and it will go into effect as a law January 1, 2021.
Tip: When buying sunscreen, choose mineral-based sunblocks that use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide—“non-nano” size particles that can’t be ingested by corals. Also look for these certification labels on the packaging.
How Does Plastic Waste Effect Our Oceans?
Currently we have a shocking 150 million tons of plastic litter our oceans. We produce more than 300 million tons of plastic every year, and 8 million tons enter our oceans each year. It is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the oceans.
Plastic pollution has a deadly effect on wildlife. Thousands of seabirds, sea turtles, seals and other marine mammals are killed each year after ingesting plastic or getting entangled in it.
Further oceans provide more than 3 billion people with the primary source of protein.
The next time you’re eating a tuna steak, you might be eating decades-old microplastics contaminated with all kinds of toxins.Ian Kane, Earth Scientist University of Manchester
What To Look For When Buying Blue Beauty Products?
Globally over 120 billion units of cosmetic packaging are produced every year, a lot of it is not recyclable.
Laura Chin, Sustainable Materials Specialist at WWF-UK explains in Elle:
The answer isn’t necessarily to switch to products in alternative packaging as all materials can have negative environmental impacts.
The key is to identify beauty products where the packaging is refillable or reusable for another purpose; support brand and retailer initiatives who encourage the return of packaging for recycling purposes and ensure that where packaging is unavoidable, it contains recycled materials as this can reduce the overall carbon impact.
Brands are starting to introduce PCR (post-consumer plastics) in their packaging which means no new plastic is being produced, giving the environment a helping hand.
Tip: If made of PCR, it is indicated on the packaging.
Blue Beauty Brands
Even though still a long way to go, the beauty market has made some strides in terms of sustainability in recent years. Here are some brands that stand out and are taking Blue Beauty to the next level:
REN Clean Skincare (also available at Sephora, Dermstore)
L’Occitane (in partnership with Plastic Odyssey)
All these brands were recommended by Elle. To read the full article and learn more about them click here.