Why You Should Care About "Blue Beauty" Just as Much as Green Beauty
No doubt you've seen an abundance of dialogue about "green beauty," but we bet you've not heard the term "blue beauty" before. Yet here's why it's just as important.
It's time we took a long, hard look at the way we consume beauty, in an effort to help protect our oceans. Although there has certainly has been progress in the field of eco-beauty, including the banning of plastic beads in products in 2018, Boots replacing plastic bags with paper ones, and The Body Shop bringing it's Recycle and Refill scheme back. There's definitely more to be done, particularly when it comes to our oceans.
It's all well and good us protecting what's being sent to landfill but what about what's being washed down our drains and washed up ashore? We've explored exactly what blue beauty is, how it differs from green beauty, and how our beauty products may be contributing to environmental risks.
"Conscious beauty is not a trend, it's a movement."
What Is Blue Beauty?
"Project blue beauty" was spearheaded by Jeannie Jarnot, the founder of Beauty Heroes, in an effort to create a better and bluer planet. Jarnot and Kapua Browning, the founder of Honua Skincare, hosted a beach clean up in Oahu, Hawaii, which resulted in a collection of a staggering 700lbs of plastic in a day. During this time, Hawaii banned two widely used sunscreen chemicals — oxybenzone and octinoxate — in an effort to help protect the oceans. "Blue beauty specifically supports ocean conservation, using reef-safe ingredients and moving towards zero-waste packaging, or packaging that is virtually plastic free," explained Jillian Wright, founder of the Indie Beauty Expo.
How Does Blue Beauty Differ From Green Beauty?
Though the thought behind the two are very similar and both aim to educate consumers about the effects products have, not only on their bodies, but the planet, too. "Green beauty is about the transparency of ingredients, where these ingredients are sourced, how they are harvested, manufactured, what resources are used to produce the formulas, how it is packaged and distributed," says Wright. Blue beauty is much more concerned with how this specifically affects the oceans' well-being and preservation.
How Do Beauty Products Contribute to These Environmental Risks?
You might be wondering how exactly products are harmful to oceans. Firstly, it's all down to the packaging. Wasteful and unnecessary packaging is unlikely to be recyclable and will often eventually end up in the ocean, damaging the ecosystem. Secondly, a number of common chemicals in many beauty products are known to be harmful to marine ecosystems. Often found in sunscreen, chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate are said to be contributing to coral bleaching — which is when corals lose its microscopic algae, enabling them to survive.
"Everyone has to make their own choices, but choices being the operative word, we have choice."
However, this does not mean anyone should not stop using sunscreen — our bodies are precious too. If your dilemma is either using a product with oxybenzone or nothing at all, always choose the sunscreen. That said, if you'd like to consciously make the effort to buy products without these chemicals, there are options. When it comes to buying an ocean-safe sun protector, the key is considering chemical vs mineral sunscreen. Chemical sunscreen contains ingredients such as oxybenzone and when in contact with water, can cause potential harm. Whereas mineral or physical sunscreen is made up of active ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which sit on the skin's surface and aren't absorbed. These are said to not pose such a risk.
What Are Brands Doing to Protect Our Ecosystems and Oceans?
So what actually are brands doing to protect our oceans? They need to consider a number of factors. "If you think about the life cycle of a product from start to finish, you will realise how important it is for brands to be aware of the impact it might have on our oceans," says Wright. "From growing and harvesting to using additive ingredients like emulsifiers and preservatives, to production and filling, to packaging, to usage, and then finally, when someone throws the bottle away." How much water does the product require in production? Are the ingredients polluting our waterways? What's happening when we apply it onto our skin, then wash it off? What's happening with the plastic components? Are they properly being recycling or thrown away?" There is a lot to consider.
Brands such as Ethique create products that are made with biodegradable packaging in an effort to reduce the number of shampoo and conditioner bottles that end up in landfills and oceans. And Love Sun Body and Babo Botanicals only include chemicals deemed to be "reef-safe" in their sunscreens.
"Everyone has to make their own choices, but 'choices' being the operative word, we have choice," Wright said. If you have the privilege financially to make these choices, you can do your part to save the planet. "Conscious beauty is not a trend, it's a movement," she said. "Your personal care is driven by awareness and intelligence and there is always room for more people to join in this conversation. You hold the power in the way you spend your money, so spend it on brands that do good."