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Why blue beauty is the new green beauty (and why you need to care)

If you’re “going green,” that’s great. But are you using blue beauty products yet?

Do you ever think about where your empty foundation bottle goes? Or your finished face serums? The sad truth is, these products we use so religiously tend to find themselves drifting along the the bottom of the ocean and consumed by marine animals, often killing them. In fact, WWF reported that one dump truck full of plastic waste enters our ocean every single minute which has a severe impact on aquatic life and our ecosystem.

‘Blue beauty’, coined by Jeannie Jarnot, ensures that beauty products are safe for the environment, are sustainably sourced and minimises our overall carbon footprint. When the green beauty movement first evolved, it was focused primarily on ourselves – i.e. what ingredients we are applying on our skin and our body. The movement, while still growing, has now differentiated to blue beauty, focusing on the implications of those ingredients that we apply on our skin – and when washed down the drain.

With endless numbers of cosmetics entering our oceans in some form, whether it be physical packaging or flushed into our waters, there’s a desperate need for consumers to be more conscious when purchasing products. Our beauty choices inevitably do affect the environment, marine life and our planetary health. So, what is blue beauty? What should we be looking for when browsing for our next face cream?

[Hero and Featured Image Credit: Mathilde Langevin/Unsplash]

blue beauty
Image Credit: Mathilde Langevin/Unsplash

Blue beauty ingredients

Ingredients such as micro-plastics, silicones, teflon, and oxybenzones are not only toxic to your skin, but when consumed by marine life, cause severe blockages in their digestive tracks and ultimately diminish the urge to eat, and alter feeding behavior – often causing marine life to die from starvation. It is important that the ingredients found in our makeup are biodegradable. 


The actual process of creating your foundation, i.e the amount of water used, how the water is disposed of and the quantities of pollution produced.


A crucial point. Products are often composed of plastics and non-recyclable materials that can contribute to waste found at the bottom of the sea. Alternative packaging is not always the solution, as the ingredients can still play a huge role in damaging the environment. It is about reducing our consumption and actively contributing to a greener, healthier planet.

blue pool
Image Credit: Artem Militonian/Unsplash

Brands investing in blue beauty

Rather than greenwashing its consumers, several of your favourite brands and retailers have already become more environmentally conscious. Perhaps consider purchasing from these brands investing in blue next time your skincare cupboard needs a top up…

Body Shop: Recently, the brand has introduced refill and recycling stations in its shops worldwide. Products include haircare, shower gels and hand wash. This concept has been similarly been adopted by L’Occitane, offering refillable sachets of shower gels and shampoos as part of its sustainability initiatives, Dior for its Sauvage men’s fragrance range, and Aesop.

Caudalie: Caudalie Milky Sun Spray, with maximum SPF protection, uses a new formula to prevent any damage to coral reefs, but still protects your skin from any free-radicals, generated by UVA and UVB rays.

Juice Beauty: Its Stem Cellular Overnight Retinol Serum is the brand’s very first product that uses both recycled ocean and land waste plastic, which it aims to apply to all of its remaining products that utilise plastic bottles.

Biossance: A go-to blue beauty brand that has formulated its own sustainable and ethical squalene alternative, Biossance does not harvest from shark liver, but instead through biotechnology, discovered a way to produce this mega-moisturiser as safely and effectively as the body does – but made from Brazilian sugarcane. The brand calls this “squalane”. Other brands that use squalene alternatives include Chantecaille’s ‘Lip Sleek’ in ‘Tango’.

Davines: Its ‘A Single Shampoo’ is the world’s first carbon-free product made from sugarcane, reducing its carbon footprint by 48 percent by shipping weight and carbon emissions from its original shampoo bottle. A bonus? The bottle is also recyclable.

Ethique: The world’s first ever zero-waste brand offers a range of skincare and haircare beauty bars rather than bottles or tubes that we are accustomed to. Besides its sustainably sourced ingredients, the brand prides itself in the blue beauty movement by donating 20 percent of its profits to environmental charities.

Tarte: The Sea Surfer Curl volumising mascara offers everything a normal mascara does, but its infused with natural ingredients such as vitamin E and plant waxes to lift and condition your lashes. The mascara tube is also recyclable.

REN Clean Skincare: Its Atlantic Kelp Range is made from ocean-collected plastic, reducing the number of aquatic animals from consuming these dangerous materials. Also, its pumps are recyclable, contributing to its zero-waste initiative.

ĀTHR Beauty: The first zero-waste eyeshadow palette delivers all of your favourite shades and colours, but is recyclable and made from FSC certified paper. Even though there are no mirrors or magnets, the elastic closures can be used as hair ties.

Coola: The suncare brand uses sustainably sourced sugarcane resin plastic, packaging that is flat-packed, cosmetic containers that are fully recyclable, and its glass bottles and jars made from conscious ingredients are both people and ocean friendly.

This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.


Despite pursuing a career in Law, Tanya has always been interested in journalism seen by writing on social activism, lifestyle and culture in Hong Kong. If she’s not writing or in court, you can catch her reading the latest book on her Kindle whilst sipping her latest matcha latte find.