Learn more about one of the biggest new sustainability movements in the cosmetics world: blue beauty. What exactly is it and should brands get involved?

The cosmetics industry is underpinned by creativity and change. Consumers rarely stand still for long — so neither should brands.

Suffice to say, knowing what’s around the corner is crucial.

So, if you’re giving thought to an exciting new beauty product range, you might appreciate some insight and inspiration from a leading wholesale supplier of natural oils and oil-based ingredients.

(That’s us, in case you hadn’t already guessed!)

Behold, part one of our 2021 beauty industry trends. What are cosmetics consumers turning their attention to in the New Year? In this first instalment, we’re introducing blue beauty. Alongside clean and green beauty, it’s one of several flourishing, sustainability-focused beauty movements. 

What is blue beauty?

There’s no way around it, the beauty industry has done some appalling historic damage to our natural environment and its aquatic ecosystems.

Each year, the cosmetics industry adds 120 billion units of plastic to our planet. If we keep going the way we are, by 2050 our oceans will have more plastic than fish by weight — that’s according to the UN.

Thankfully, we are waking up. Whilst microbeads may finally be a thing of the past, beauty brands and consumers don’t want to stop there. The fight for pro-ocean cosmetics has a name — blue beauty.

Blue beauty is focused on alleviating but also repairing this damage to the world’s maritime ecosystems. Blue beauty means creating cosmetics products that are pro-sea, sustainably sourced in every single way and completely non-toxic in their ingredient makeup.

Clean, green and blue beauty?

Today’s beauty consumer is much more discerning than previously — this is reflected in an array of new, thriving cosmetics movements.

Clean beauty is defined by products that are natural and non-toxic to humans and our planet. Green beauty, meanwhile, places key emphasis on environmental consciousness; this means sustainable, 100 percent renewable ingredients and packaging.

Blue beauty, as we explained, is more of a specific rallying call for oceanic action, with an uncompromisingly marine-centric environmental message at its core.

So, whilst there is significant overlap in the environmental ambitions of these trending movements, each places its emphasis on something distinct.

How blue beauty is starting to make waves

Blue beauty encourages creativity and imagination in ways we can refill packaging, supporting initiatives that encourage reuse. Many brands are even turning attention to plastic recovery; Ren Clean Skincare’s Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium features bottles made up of plastic extracted from the ocean.

But blue beauty is also about what’s inside the bottle. Our shampoos, creams, moisturisers and deodorants can contain many harmful synthetic nasties.

Take coral reefs, for example. They’re estimated to support over a quarter of all marine species. It’s been discovered that ingredients contained within sun creams — octinoxate and oxybenzone, specifically — can be extremely harmful to these incredibly important lifeforms.

Parabens are also common in many cosmetic formulations. As well as being linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues in humans, they’ve recently been found in sea creatures, entering marine environments after going down our drains. A matter of ongoing research, parabens are regarded as an emerging pollutant, causing insidious damage to our ecological systems.

Thankfully, many beauty brands are introducing ocean-friendly, reef-safe sun creams and paraben-free beauty formulations, with marine-derived ingredients also gaining traction

Consumers expect brands to help save our seas

Conscious consumerism is a real trend that can’t be ignored.

According to one survey, in 2020, one in seven people changed to a more environmentally-friendly cosmetic product. A whopping 90 percent of Generation Z consumers expect beauty brands to do more to help reduce climate impact, with 88 percent of UK adults wanting the ability to refill their cosmetics.

The solution for beauty brands?

A purpose-led product range with blue beauty at its core. Show that you mean business when it comes to giving our planet’s seas a helping hand.

O&3: your blue beauty formulation partner for 2021

With blue beauty, brands are in danger of talking the talk, but not walking the walk — what’s been called ‘blue-washing’. So, if you’re looking at creating some real blue-ribbon blue beauty, we’re here to make things happen for you.

Our expansive database comprises hundreds of sustainable, zero-waste, non-toxic natural oils and oil-based ingredients — ideal for realising your next line of blue beauty products.

We say ‘no’ to parabens, synthetics and other nasties, providing an exhaustive material data safety sheets for each ingredient. All natural, here.

From that initial ‘light bulb’ idea through to the detailed, all-important formulation and eventual delivery of your brand-spanking-new product, we’re with you every step of the way.

Get in touch to discuss your project. Oh, and don’t forget to check back for parts two and three of our beauty industry trends and insights!