While both blue and green beauty exist under the same sustainability umbrella, they reside in slightly different subsets. Green beauty refers to beauty products that are produced using clean, sustainably sourced ingredients with the aim of being better for both our skin and the environment. Blue beauty, on the other hand, aims specifically to reduce the negative impact of products and packaging on our oceans and marine life. “It’s about cleaning up our oceans by using reef- and ocean-safe ingredients, avoiding any chemicals that are harmful to our ocean life, adopting a zero-waste policy, avoiding the use of plastic packaging entirely, and offering refillable and reusable options,” says Jill Turnbull, founder of Jill Turnbull Beauty.
In other words, the green beauty and blue beauty movements are both championing the same cause: sustainability. “Both fight to reduce emissions, prevent pollution and waste, and reduce energy,” says Trunbull. “Ultimately, the planet needs both green and blue beauty. We cannot increase our carbon footprint much further without inducing severe climate change, and we cannot contaminate our oceans through our rivers with industrial and consumer waste,” she adds.
Sadly, however, there’s still a fair amount of confusion around brands claiming to be eco-friendly. Because terms like “green” and “blue” are subjective and not regulated, some companies are able to define themselves as such by implementing only one of these sustainable solutions (like reusable packaging, organic ingredients, or eco-friendly manufacturing). Bonnie Schiffman founder and CEO of This Stuff Goes Bad, says, “Using clean, organic ingredients, yet packaging in plastic, would not make my list of green beauty or blue beauty brands, yet there are companies who categorize themselves as such.”
To be truly blue, brands must consider every aspect of their products’ lifecycles, such as ingredient sourcing, production, packaging, shipping, usage, and disposal. But why does this matter? Let’s dive a bit deeper.