Blue Beauty: The Next Wave Of Sustainable Beauty

The evolution of sustainable beauty

Beauty is more than skin deep. For decades, the beauty industry has been notorious for its negative environmental impact, from excessive packaging to harmful ingredients. However, in recent years, there has been a growing awareness and demand for more sustainable and ethical practices in the beauty sector.

EP54. What is Blue Beauty?

The significance of “Blue Beauty”

The significance of Blue Beauty

One of the emerging trends that reflects this shift is “Blue Beauty”. This term refers to the movement that aims to protect and preserve the oceans, which are vital for our survival and well-being.

Blue Beauty goes beyond the conventional green beauty standards of natural, organic, and cruelty-free products. It also focuses on reducing plastic waste, supporting marine conservation, and using ocean-friendly ingredients.

The Blue Beauty Movement

Definition and core principles

The Blue Beauty movement is a collective effort by brands, consumers, and organizations to minimize the environmental impact of beauty products on the oceans. The core principles of this movement are:

  • Reduce: Use less plastic and packaging materials, and opt for reusable or refillable containers.
  • Recycle: Choose products that are made from recycled or recyclable materials, and dispose of them properly.
  • Reuse: Repurpose or upcycle non-recyclable items, such as jars, bottles, or brushes. 
  • Respect: Avoid products that contain harmful chemicals or microplastics that can damage marine life or coral reefs.
  • Restore Support brands that donate a portion of their profits to ocean conservation projects or initiatives.

The Environmental Impact

The alarming rate of plastic waste in oceans

Plastic waste is a significant and persistent problem in our oceans. According to a study, threatens to pollute our oceans with more plastic than fish by 2050.

The low recycling rate of plastic globally is estimated at 9%, with most of it ending up in landfills or incinerators where it can leach toxins into soil or air.

Alternatively, it can be carried by wind or waterways into the oceans, where it can accumulate in large patches or gyres, such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is twice the size of Texas.

The detrimental effects on marine life

Plastic waste poses a serious threat to marine life, as it can affect their health, behavior, and survival. Plastic can entangle marine animals such as turtles, seals, whales, or birds, causing injuries, infections, or suffocation.

Plastic can look like food to marine animals such as fish, dolphins, and seabirds. When these animals eat plastic, it can lead to deadly consequences. Moreover, plastic can act as a carrier for invasive species or pathogens that can disrupt the natural balance of marine ecosystems.

Furthermore, plastic breaks down into smaller pieces called microplastics, which can be less than 5 mm long. Microplastics can be ingested by smaller organisms such as plankton or worms, which are at the base of the food chain.

This can result in the accumulation of harmful substances such as heavy metals or persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in organisms at various levels of the food chain.

Blue Beauty vs. Green Beauty

Distinctive features of each trend

Blue Beauty and Green Beauty are both movements in the beauty industry that promote sustainable, ethical practices. However, each movement has its own unique set of principles. Some of the main differences are:

  • Blue Beauty focuses more on the impact of beauty products on the oceans, while Green Beauty focuses more on the impact of beauty products on the land.
  • Blue Beauty emphasizes reducing plastic waste and supporting marine conservation, while Green Beauty emphasizes using natural, organic, and cruelty-free ingredients and supporting animal welfare.
  • Blue Beauty advocates for using ocean-friendly ingredients such as algae, seaweed, or marine collagen, while Green Beauty advocates for using plant-based ingredients such as aloe vera, coconut oil, or shea butter.

The overarching goal of sustainable beauty

Despite their differences, Blue Beauty and Green Beauty share the same overarching goal of sustainable beauty, which is to create beauty products that are good for both people and the planet.

Sustainable beauty products are designed to meet the needs and expectations of consumers, without compromising the quality, safety, or performance of the products.

At the same time, sustainable beauty products are designed to minimize their environmental impact by using ingredients that are sourced responsibly and materials that can be recycled or composted.

Sustainable beauty products also aim to contribute to social and economic development, by supporting fair trade, ethical sourcing, and community empowerment.

The Role of Packaging

The global cosmetics packaging dilemma

Packaging is one of the biggest challenges in the beauty industry, as it accounts for a large proportion of plastic waste. According to a report by Zero Waste Europe, the global cosmetics industry produces more than 120 billion units of packaging every year, most of which are not recycled.

The report also estimates that the cosmetics industry is responsible for more than 142 billion units of plastic packaging waste annually, equivalent to 4.5 million tons. The main reasons for this dilemma are:

  • The lack of standardized regulations and guidelines for cosmetic packaging across different countries and regions.
  • The a lack of consumer awareness and education about the proper disposal and recycling of cosmetic packaging.
  • The lack of incentives and infrastructure for cosmetic brands and retailers to adopt sustainable packaging solutions.
  • The lack of innovation and investment in developing alternative materials and technologies for cosmetic packaging.

Strategies for sustainable packaging

To address this dilemma several strategies can be implemented by cosmetic brands and consumers to achieve sustainable packaging. Some of these strategies are:

  • Reduce: Use fewer packaging materials or eliminate unnecessary components such as boxes, wrappers, or inserts. Opt for reusable or refillable containers that can be used multiple times.
  • Recycle: When choosing packaging materials, keep in mind that it’s best to choose those made from recycled or recyclable materials such as paper and cardboard. These should be clearly labeled with recycling symbols and instructions.
  • Reuse: Look for ways to repurpose or upcycle non-recyclable packaging materials such as jars, bottles, or brushes. For example, use them as storage containers, plant pots, candle holders, or art projects.
  • Respect: Avoid packaging materials that contain harmful chemicals or microplastics that can damage marine life or coral reefs. For example, avoid glitter, sequins, beads, or pearls that are made from plastic.
  • Restore: Support packaging materials made from biodegradable or compostable sources, such as bamboo, cornstarch, and seaweed. These materials are safe for the environment and won’t harm animals or plants.

The Threat of Beauty Products to Marine Life

The looming plastic crisis in oceans

As mentioned earlier, plastic waste is one of the most serious threats to marine life. However, plastic is not the only culprit. Some beauty products also contain ingredients that can harm marine life or coral reefs. These ingredients include:

  • Microplastics: These are small pieces of plastic that are intentionally added to some beauty products such as scrubs, toothpaste, or makeup. They are used as exfoliants, abrasives, or fillers. However, they can also be washed down the drain and end up in the oceans, where they can be ingested by marine animals or accumulate in their tissues.
  • Oxybenzone and octinoxate: These are chemical filters that are commonly found in some sunscreens. They are used to protect the skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays. However, they can also be washed off into the water when swimming or bathing, where they can affect coral reefs by causing bleaching, deformities, or death.
  • Parabens: These are preservatives that are widely used in some beauty products such as shampoos, conditioners, or lotions. They are used to prevent microbial growth and extend shelf life. However, they can also be washed off into the water when rinsing or showering, where they can affect marine animals by disrupting their endocrine system, which regulates their hormones.

The harmful effects of sunscreens on coral reefs

Sunscreen helps protect our skin from sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer. However, some sunscreens also have harmful effects on coral reefs, which are vital for maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems.

A study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that about 14,000 tons of sunscreen lotion end up in coral reef areas every year. In addition to endangering coral reefs, some sunscreen ingredients can also cause coral bleaching, deformities, or death.

Coral bleaching is a phenomenon where corals lose their color and symbiotic algae, which provide them with food and oxygen.

This makes them more vulnerable to diseases, predators, or climate change. Coral deformities include skeletal growth anomalies, tissue damage, or reproductive failure. Coral death occurs when corals are unable to recover from the stress caused by sunscreen exposure.

The Consumer Shift

The rising demand for eco-friendly products

The Blue Beauty movement is not only driven by brands but also by consumers, who are becoming more aware and concerned about the environmental impact of their beauty choices.

According to a report by Nielsen, 73% of global consumers say they would change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact. The report also found that 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products Moreover, according to a survey by Mintel, 61% of US consumers say they prefer to buy beauty products that have minimal or recyclable packaging.

The survey also found that 56% of US consumers say they look for claims such as “reef-safe” or “ocean-friendly” when buying sunscreens.

The influence of socially conscious brands

The consumer shift towards eco-friendly products is also influenced by the role of socially conscious brands, which are brands that use their platform and influence to raise awareness and inspire action on social and environmental issues.

Socially conscious brands can leverage their social media presence, marketing campaigns, product development, and corporate social responsibility to communicate their values and vision to their customers and stakeholders. Some examples of socially conscious brands in the beauty industry are:

  • Lush: Lush is a UK brand that offers natural and handmade beauty products that are cruelty-free and vegetarian. Lush uses its social media channels, website, and stores to raise awareness about various causes including animal rights, environmental protection, human rights, and social justice.
  • The Body Shop: The Body Shop is a UK brand that offers natural and ethical beauty products that are cruelty-free and fair trade. The Body Shop uses its marketing campaigns, product lines, and petitions to support and campaign for various causes such as ending animal testing, empowering women, protecting forests, and fighting climate change.
  • Aveda: Aveda is a US brand that offers natural and sustainable beauty products that are cruelty-free and organic. Aveda uses its product development, packaging, and events to support and promote various causes such as clean water, renewable energy, biodiversity, and indigenous rights.

The Role of Refills and Reusables

The importance of refillable beauty products

One of the ways to reduce plastic waste and packaging materials in the beauty industry is to use refillable beauty products.

Refillable beauty products are products that can be replenished with new content when they run out, without having to buy a new container. Refillable beauty products can offer several benefits, such as:

  • Saving money: Refillable beauty products can be cheaper than buying new products every time, as customers only pay for the content and not the container.
  • Saving resources: Refillable beauty products can save resources such as water, energy, or raw materials that are used to produce new containers.
  • Saving space: Refillable beauty products can save space in the bathroom or vanity, as customers only need one container for each product.
  • Saving the environment: Refillable beauty products can save the environment by reducing plastic waste, greenhouse gas emissions, or landfill space.

Creative repurposing of non-recyclable items

Another way to reduce plastic waste and packaging materials in the beauty industry is to find creative ways to repurpose or upcycle non-recyclable items. Non-recyclable items are items that cannot be recycled due to their composition, condition, or contamination.

Some examples of non-recyclable items in the beauty industry are mascara wands, nail polish bottles, and makeup sponges.

However, these items can be given a new life by transforming them into useful or decorative objects. Some examples of creative repurposing of non-recyclable items are:

  • Mascara wands: Mascara wands can be cleaned and donated to wildlife rescue centers, where they can be used to groom or remove parasites from animals such as birds or mammals.
  • Nail polish bottles: Nail polish bottles can be cleaned and filled with water or oil, where they can be used as mini vases for flowers or herbs.
  • Makeup sponges: Makeup sponges can be cut into small pieces and glued together, where they can be used as cushions for pins or needles.

The Global Response

The Global Response

Governmental and organizational efforts

The Blue Beauty movement is not only supported by brands and consumers but also by governments and organizations that are working to protect and preserve the oceans. Some examples of governmental and organizational efforts are:

  • The European Union (EU): In 2019, the EU adopted a Single-Use Plastics Directive to reduce the consumption of disposable plastic items such as cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, or balloon sticks.
  • The directive also bans some single-use plastic items such as oxo-degradable plastics or expanded polystyrene containers. Moreover, the directive requires that by 2025, at least 25% of plastic bottles must contain recycled plastic content.
  • The United States (US): The US passed the Save Our Seas Act in 2018, which aims to enhance the federal response to marine debris, promote international cooperation, and support marine debris research and prevention.
  • The act also reauthorizes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, which coordinates and implements projects to address marine debris issues.
  • The United Nations (UN): The UN launched the Clean Seas campaign in 2017, which aims to engage governments, businesses, and individuals to take action to reduce marine plastic pollution. The campaign also supports the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, which is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources.
  • The campaign has mobilized more than 60 countries and hundreds of organizations to join the fight against marine plastic pollution.

The future of sustainable beauty

The Blue Beauty movement is not a passing trend, but a lasting change that will shape the future of sustainable beauty.

The future of sustainable beauty will be driven by innovation and collaboration, as well as by consumer demand and awareness. Some of the possible scenarios for the future of sustainable beauty are:

  • Circular economy: A circular economy is a system in which products, materials, and energy are kept in use as long as possible; all forms of waste are minimized so that they can be recycled or reused; and natural systems are regenerated. In a circular economy, beauty products will be designed to last longer, be repaired or refurbished, or be recycled or composted. This will reduce the need for new resources and minimize the environmental impact of beauty products.
  • Biotechnology: Biotechnology can be used in a variety of ways, including creating new drugs and medical treatments, improving crop yields, and making new materials with unique properties. In biotechnology, beauty products will be created or enhanced by using microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, or algae. This will enable the production of natural and sustainable ingredients that can offer novel benefits or functionalities.
  • Personalization: Personalization is the customization of products or services to suit each customer’s preferences or needs. In personalization, beauty products will be tailored to the specific skin type, condition, or goal of each customer. This will improve the effectiveness and satisfaction of beauty products, as well as reduce waste and overconsumption.

The Call to Action

Personal responsibilities in the Blue Beauty movement

The Blue Beauty movement is not only a responsibility of brands, governments, or organizations but also of each individual who cares about the oceans and the planet. Each individual can make a difference by taking some simple steps to join the Blue Beauty movement, such as:

  • Educate yourself: Learn more about the issues and solutions related to marine plastic pollution and ocean conservation. By reading books, articles, blogs, and watching documentaries or videos, you can learn more about the world around you and be inspired to help make it a better place.
  • Choose wisely: Choose beauty products that are eco-friendly and ocean-friendly. You can look for labels or certifications that indicate the environmental performance or impact of the products, such as B Corp, Ecocert, Leaping Bunny, or Reef Safe.
  • Use less: Use less beauty products or packaging materials. You can opt for multipurpose products that can serve different functions, such as moisturizers that can also act as sunscreens or primers. You can also opt for refillable or reusable containers that can reduce plastic waste.
  • Recycle more: Recycle more beauty products or packaging materials. You can check if your local recycling facilities accept your empty containers or packaging materials.
  • You can also check if your favorite brands offer recycling programs or incentives for returning your empty containers.
  • Support good causes: Support good causes that are related to ocean conservation or marine plastic pollution. You can donate money or time to organizations that are working to protect and restore the oceans. You can also sign petitions or join campaigns that are advocating for policy changes or actions.

Steps to make a difference

The Blue Beauty movement is not only a movement that involves individual actions but also collective actions. Collective actions are those that groups of people undertake to achieve a shared goal or interest.

Collective actions can amplify the impact and influence of individual actions, as well as create a sense of community and solidarity. Some examples of collective actions that can support the Blue Beauty movement are:

  • Spread the word: Spread the word about the Blue Beauty movement and its benefits to your friends, family, colleagues, or social media followers.
  • You can share your stories, tips, recommendations, or opinions about eco-friendly and ocean-friendly beauty products or practices.
  • Join a community: Join a community that is dedicated to the Blue Beauty movement or related topics. You can find online forums, groups, blogs, podcasts, or newsletters that can connect you with like-minded people who can share their experiences, insights, or resources.
  • Participate in events: Participate in events that are organized by brands, organizations, or individuals who are promoting or celebrating the Blue Beauty movement.
  • You can attend webinars, workshops, seminars, festivals, or fairs that can educate you about new trends,  innovations, or best practices in sustainable beauty. You can also join beach cleanups, ocean awareness walks, or fundraisers that can help you make a positive impact on the oceans.
  • Collaborate with others: Collaborate with others who are passionate or knowledgeable about the Blue Beauty movement or related topics. You can partner with brands, influencers, experts, or activists who can offer you guidance, support, or opportunities to advance your goals or projects. You can also create or join networks, alliances, or coalitions that can enhance your collective voice and action.


The collective impact of Blue Beauty

The Blue Beauty movement is a powerful and inspiring movement that has the potential to transform the beauty industry and the world. By adopting eco-friendly and ocean-friendly beauty products and practices, we can not only improve our health and well-being but also contribute to the health and well-being of our oceans and our planet.

By supporting and collaborating with brands, governments, organizations, and individuals who are committed to the Blue Beauty movement, we can not only enjoy the benefits of innovation and creativity but also create a positive change and a lasting legacy for future generations.

The vision for a cleaner, bluer future

The Blue Beauty movement is a vision for a cleaner, bluer future, where beauty and sustainability go hand in hand. In this future, beauty products will be made from natural and renewable resources that are respectful of the environment and the people.

In this future, beauty products will be packaged in materials that are recycled, recyclable, or reusable that are mindful of the oceans and marine life. In the future, Ausmetics private label cosmetics products will be free from any ingredients that are harmful to the skin or the oceans that are responsible for the coral reefs and the biodiversity.

In this future, beauty products will be more than just products, but also expressions of our values and our love for ourselves and our planet.