This is blue beauty, jump on board

Written by Bea Taylor

The latest beauty trend to surface is making waves. Here’s all you need to know about blue beauty.

blue beauty

It’s time to add another beauty trend to your repertoire, and it’s not a YouTube challenge. Blue beauty is the latest sustainable trend to surface and it’s having a ripple effect like no other. 

Similar to green beauty and clean beauty, blue beauty focuses on the sustainability of packaging and transparency of ingredients, but specifically champions ocean conservation. It advocates for recycled, reusable and recyclable zero-waste packaging, but also stresses the importance of formulas that are free from microbeads and reef-sensitive ingredients. 

According to WWF, one dump truck full of plastic waste enters our ocean every minute. This is equivalent to eight million tonnes of plastic a year, and it’s having a huge impact on our sea life. Jeannie Jarnot, founder of Beauty Heroes and the blue beauty movement says, “a lot of people associate blue with ocean-friendly. And, that is a part of it, but there’s more to it. Blue beauty brands are making sure their products are safe for the environment — which includes being ocean-safe as well as sustainably sourced and minimising carbon footprints — but are also looking at ways their practices are contributing back to and having a net-positive effect on the environment.” 

Terrifyingly, by 2050 it is predicted that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. Sustainable materials specialist at WWF UK, Paula Chin says, “more than 120 billion units of cosmetics packaging are produced globally every year, a lot of which is not recyclable.” But she says switching to alternative packaging is not necessarily the answer because “all materials can have negative environmental impacts.”

Instead, she suggests buying beauty products where the packaging is refillable or reusable for another purpose. “Support brand and retailer initiatives that 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.”

Whilst packaging is the principal perpetrator, chemicals, too, are causing just as much damage. Those found in sunscreens, for example — oxybenzone and octinoxate — are said to be contributing to coral bleaching when worn in the sea. Don’t stop wearing sunscreen though, when it comes to choosing which cream to slather on your face before stepping out in the sun, the key is choosing mineral sunscreen instead of chemical sunscreen. Mineral sunscreen (also known as physical sunscreen) is made up of active ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which don’t pose such a risk to the ocean.

Brands have been quick to jump on board the blue beauty ship and, if you’re looking to support the movement, here’s where to direct your attention:

Coola tick a lot of environmentally friendly boxes, ocean safety being one of them. Not only is their sunscreen formula reef-safe, but they’ve also been planting coral to help rebuild and strengthen threatened reefs. They’re also reducing their plastic usage with all of their tubes made from sustainably sourced sugarcane resin, which is 100 per cent recyclable, and all of their secondary packaging made from post-consumer recycled paper. Currently, 75 per cent of their packaging is fully recyclable, with the aim to be at 100 per cent by 2023.


Ren Clean Skincare
Another brand paving the way forward for blue beauty is Ren Clean Skincare, who have pledged to produce zero waste as early as 2021. They are already using reclaimed ocean plastic in the production of their skincare and body care packaging and have teamed up with initiatives Surfers Against Sewage and Plastic Patrol, to help protect oceans, beaches and wildlife. 


Ethique is nailing the sustainability game. To help reduce the number of plastics that end up in landfills and oceans, they have gone for a no-packaging approach. Their #giveupthebottle initiative has already saved the production of six million bottles and, by 2025, they hope to hit the lofty goal of 50 million. 


Kevin Murphy
Kevin Murphy was the first beauty brand to convert their bottles into 100 per cent-reclaimed ocean waste plastic (OWP) and, in doing so, they have saved 360 tonnes of plastic from ending up in the sea. The brand also support The Climate Reality Project, which focuses on educating the public about climate change and the science behind it.


The French beauty brand have been offering refillables for a while now, but they’ve also partnered with Plastic Odyssey, which is a crew of engineers, marine professionals, anthropologists and entrepreneurs that go around the world collecting plastic pollution.


New Zealand-born beauty brand Syrene is ocean-inspired in looks and values. They pledge to ‘turn the tide’ on ocean waste — to date they have helped remove 180,000 plastic bags from the oceans — with the aim to be using ocean-waste plastic in all product packaging by September this year. Their formulations are also safe for the ocean and, in fact, also derived from the ocean’s greenery. 


In 2019, when waterless beauty became the focus for the brand, L’Oréal achieved a 60 per cent reduction in water consumption per finished product. They have also publicly committed to 100 per cent eco-friendly packaging by 2025. 


La Mer
It’s all in the name. La Mer (which means ‘the sea’ in French), famous for their algae-derived concentrate, have always had the ocean at the forefront of the brand. In 2013, they embarked on a journey with ocean explorer Dr. Sylvia Earle to take a deep dive into underwater habitat protection and addressed actionable changes. In 2017, they launched the La Mer Blue Ocean Fund, which supports conservation initiatives in the Azores, Grenada and East China Sea.


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This is blue beauty, jump on board

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