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Meet Green Beauty’s Iconoclastic Big Sister: Blue Beauty

The movement taking conscious beauty one step further

issue ten : icons & iconoclasts

By Kat Nugent

‘Eco-Beauty’, ‘Clean Beauty’, ‘Green Beauty’ and now . . . ‘Blue Beauty’? With all the lingo being tossed around the conscious beauty space, it can be overwhelming keeping up with it all. As our awareness and understanding of the harmful impacts of the beauty industry (both on our bodies and our planet) evolve, so does our thinking around the solutions to it. Blue Beauty is a term that only really started being used in this space at the end of 2018. It’s a concept that is often overlooked in the natural and organic beauty world, but one that is becoming increasingly vital as we are confronted with our growing environmental crisis.

Personally, I like to think of Blue Beauty as the more responsible, iconoclastic big sister of Green Beauty. Don’t be fooled by the name – this isn’t a case of conscious beauty that’s focused on our oceans . . .  Blue Beauty takes the concept of Green Beauty and pushes it into a more revolutionary, active space. It demands the acknowledgement of responsibility to not only prevent further harmful impact on our environment but to address existing damage that has already been done. It’s a notion that is critical to understand if we really want to see effective environmental impacts in the beauty space – so here, we take the time to delve into the concept and help you get to grips with the next wave in the beauty revolution. 

Blue Beauty vs. Green Beauty

Since the 2010s, we’ve all become pretty clued up on the term ‘Green Beauty’. It’s an umbrella definition for a movement that challenges the potentially harmful ingredients in beauty products. In general terms, ‘Green Beauty’ indicates that a product has been made with naturally-sourced or naturally-derived ingredients. From here, it’s up to personal interpretation. Most consider the term to extend to the source of the ingredients (needing to be organic, sustainable and eco-friendly), but some don’t. Like many terms in the beauty industry, ‘Green Beauty’ is unregulated and has become a victim to countless brands who use it as a marketing buzzword, manipulating it to encompass much lower standards than what many consumers assume it does.

While the crux of Green Beauty is to minimize the continued impact of synthetic and toxic ingredients on our human body and our planet, Blue Beauty takes it one step further. The focus of Blue Beauty is ultimately on the environment. It challenges the natural human condition of caring only for one’s self and thrusts notions of Green Beauty into a collective and culpable space. It demands that companies not only look to minimising future impact but also take responsibility for the damage that has already been caused by looking at ways to address existing environmental and societal issues.

Iconic ideas often breed iconoclastic ones, and that’s exactly what can be seen with Green Beauty and Blue Beauty. It’s not that one is here to replace the other – it’s recognising that we need both to make a real impact and ultimately, save our planet.

Blue Beauty: What does it mean?

The term Blue Beauty was first coined by Jeannie Jarnot owner of the online beauty store, Beauty Heroes. Growing from her initiative ‘Project Blue Beauty’ which celebrates brands excelling in this space, Jarnot explains that Blue Beauty is about brands taking their responsibility one step further than ‘going green’. It’s about actively giving back to offset the damage already caused.  

Businesses that practice Blue Beauty recognise that their responsibility goes beyond green initiatives like recycling and working with organic, fair-trade suppliers. They make it part of their business model to practice actions that positively improve the community and environments involved in their products. For example, many of the brands that Jarnot celebrates in Project Blue Beauty don’t only carefully consider where they source their ingredients from, but how they can help to sustain them. One of the companies featured is Kahina Giving Beauty, a beauty brand that champions argan oil as their hero natural ingredient. Sourcing it from a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains, the company supports the education of the female farmers in Morocco on safe and sustainable harvesting practices to protect the longevity of the forest. They have fair-trade partnerships with women’s households, providing garbage cans and equipping them with electricity. Kahina Giving Beauty also donates funds to support the planting of trees in rural Morocco – to date they have planted over 15,000 trees. It’s big-picture thinking that considers the role of a beauty company in the wider sphere of community and environment, and it’s only with this kind of iconoclastic approach that we’re going to have any chance of cleaning up this environmental mess that we’ve created for ourselves. 

Our Blue Beauty Stars

With some fantastic companies leading the way in Blue Beauty, we have high hopes for where this new movement is going to take the industry. Check out Jarnot’s Project Blue Beauty for a range of iconoclastic companies that embody Blue Beauty principles, as well some of our favourite brands who are taking conscious beauty that one step further: 

BYBI Beauty: 

High-performance beauty that is natural, vegan and cruelty-free, BYBI places sustainability at the heart of its business model, while also recognising that ‘sustainability’ itself is a murky and unregulated term. Specific about how they seek to remedy the impact of the beauty industry, BYBI is dedicated to working with suppliers to create upcycled beauty ingredients and thereby minimise waste. They partner with the juicing industry in Europe to source fruit juices for their Strawberry and Blueberry boosters which would otherwise be thrown away. 

UpCircle: 

This is another exciting brand that’s all about giving “waste” a new lease of life through beauty. Taking used coffee grounds and brewed chai tea spices that would otherwise be binned, UpCircle creates effective cleansers, exfoliants, serums and masks that are rejuvenating for your skin and for the planet. 

Tabitha James Kraan: 

As well as strictly adhering to policies of organic ingredients (wherever possible), sustainable harvesting, recycling (both re-fillable/recyclable packaging and recycling 95% of all operational waste) and renewable energy, Tabitha James Kraan supports local charities in the UK which strive to protect the natural world around us. 

Keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming editorial in which we collaborated with the brilliant multi-award winning organic and sustainable hair expert, Tabitha. 

Sappho New Paradigm

A womxn-led vegan and organic colour cosmetic line, we love Sappho New Paradigm for their commitment to creating products to match all skin tones. They share our passion for showing that organic makeup is highly-effective in creating any type of look – not just bare-faced and natural. They support any and all environmental groups that approach them and donate a percentage of all Canadian Silky Setting Powder sales to the Canadian Breast Cancer support fund.  

Beauty Kitchen

Having recently been awarded the Skincare Brand of the Year in 2019’s Sustainable Lifestyle Awards, Beauty Kitchen is not only a pioneering brand in the re-use/recyclable packaging space but also a shining example of blue beauty practices. Beauty Kitchen donates a portion of their sales to causes they are aligned to including The Seahorse Trust and the Plastic Soup Foundation, an organisation committed to saving our oceans by removing plastic from them. Founder, Jo also often speaks at numerous industry events to educate and inform about how the beauty industry can minimise their harmful impact and mitigate the damage already caused. 

See our round-up of the Beauty & Skincare winners of 2019 SLAs here.

Stop The Water While Using Me! 

An iconoclastic brand that puts its message front and centre, with its name serving as a call to action. An instruction, if you will, to the user to switch off the tap and save precious water while using their products. Stop The Water While Using Me! make 100% biodegradable natural personal care products in refillable containers. Each purchase also becoming a donation to their worldwide water initiative, Goodwater Projects. Their philosophy and approach ensure that we pause for a moment in our everyday lives, rethink the status quo and perhaps even change the world.

The Future of Blue Beauty 

The conversation around the responsibility of the beauty industry in today’s environmental crisis is ever-evolving, and so it should be. As our awareness of the issue grows, so does our understanding of its urgency and complexity. It’s too late to just change the way that we produce and consume moving forward. We need to look back at the damage that’s already been done and address ways to regenerate the ecosystems and communities that support our beauty habits. Blue Beauty isn’t here to replace Green Beauty. It’s here to remind us that we can always go one step further, and in this case, we must. 

untainted |ˌənˈtān(t)əd| adjective
not contaminated, polluted, or tainted: the paper was untainted by age.

UNTAINTED is a directional beauty platform, pushing the boundaries of clean, sustainable beauty. We are inspired and motivated by the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-sabi.

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