Beauty brands have been going green for some time now. Over the years, ingredient lists have shifted from indecipherable essays to easy-to-read and compact compilations. At the same time, natural cosmetics went from being niche to a priority for brands. With this increase in visibility, more natural beauty companies appeared on the market and consumers were granted more accessibility to products that wouldn't leave them with a guilty conscience. Now that green has pretty much taken over, Jeannie Jarnot, the owner of online beauty store Beauty Heroes, thinks it’s time to move onto the next phase of clean beauty: going blue.
According to Jarnot, who founded an initiative called Project Blue Beauty—which spotlights brands who are helping create a bluer planet—the blue beauty lifestyle goes a step beyond green and primarily involves giving back and contributing to the well-being of the environment in a positive way. “Going blue is brands saying, ‘We want to do the best we can in our company, we want to be as green as we can, but we also recognize that the industry needs to make up for the damage that’s been done to the planet.’”
Don’t let the name (or color) fool you—going blue doesn’t just involve products that preserve the ocean. Your sunscreen may be reef-friendly and your body scrub might not contain microbeads anymore, and that’s great, but what is the brand you’re supporting doing to positively impact the environment or, say, the community it sources its ingredients from?
Some brands that Jarnot thinks embody the blue philosophy well are Laurel Whole Planet Organics, Honua Skincare, and Kahina Giving Beauty. All three, she explains, work with the farmers who the founders source ingredients from to help sustain them. “How they work with them is, they say, ‘Okay, we're not only going to buy ingredients from you, that's one step, we're actually going to support you in creating systems so that you can grow and replenish what we're taking.’” Laurel commonly works with farmers in northern California, Honua with agricultural farmers in Hawaii, and Kahina with farmers and agricultural co-ops in Morocco. “They work with these communities to actually lift them up, so that they can grow and be bigger and support others.”
Some other favorites are Osmia Organics and Osea. About Osmia, Jarnot says, “[The founders] really look at product life cycle all of the way through to the end.” She adds that the brand also plants a tree for every online order. “So, they’ve planted like 15,000 trees this year so far.” Osea, on the other hand, works with sustainable seaweed harvesters and gives back to causes that support ocean health. Another brand that recently launched, One Ocean Beauty, partners with the organization Oceana to help protect and restore the world’s oceans.
For a lot of the brands Jarnot highlights, this concept of giving back is part of its DNA; she says, “This is why they started their companies, to be able to contribute to a better planet.” But, of course, not all companies were aware of their potential to go blue. How can they easily make the switch? Jarnot recommends starting the process of going blue by encouraging companies to sign up for One Percent for the Planet. “They don’t have to start a big program or do something that’s really laborious and takes a lot of time to be able to do something,” she says. The organization will simply give 1 percent of profits to, as the website states, “address the most pressing issues facing our planet.”
As for what consumers can do to help the blue initiative move forward, the big (and most obvious) one is making sure you support brands that are giving back something to the planet (the ones we listed are great; Beauty Heroes also has a list of its own here). Another is being conscious of how many products we use and cut back on excessive buying. “Beauty is something that you replenish all of the time,” Jarnot says. “It’s not something that you buy once, like a computer or a car, and buy again every five or seven years. You're constantly buying new foundation, lipstick, deodorant... it's just a very consumable and huge industry.” So since it's just about impossible to limit yourself to buying products every couple of years, instead, put more thought into whether or not you really need something before swiping. “Be in love with beauty, it’s awesome and it’s so fun,” Jarnot says. “We love our favorite products, we just need fewer of them and better ones.”
The blue beauty project is still very much in its beginning stages, but here’s hoping it takes off just as swiftly as the green movement did. We should care about what’s in our products just as much as we do about the ethical nature of the brands making them. “I think beauty is an emotional industry and what we use on our bodies and what our skin is so personal and intimate,” Jarnot says. “And knowing that you're buying from a brand that cares about your health and the health of the planet, I think, just strengthens that emotional connection you have.”