Companies and Customers Must Commit
Two years ago, Project Blue Beauty started as a conversation. After a lightbulb moment at a business summit, Beauty Heroes Founder Jeannie Jarnot realized that the green beauty industry was ripe for disruption. Ingredient transparency and recyclable packaging were table stakes; more effort, intention and innovation was needed to make meaningful change.
In the spirit of “Use Less, Love More”, Project Blue Beauty invited us to “aspire to live lighter.” Beauty Heroes has always been unapologetic about encouraging less consumption. While this message seems counter to capitalism, the Beauty Heroes community, which includes conscious brands and conscious consumers alike, has proven that a planet-first company can not only be profitable, but can attract a very loyal following.
The Blue Beauty conversation escalated into a commitment: Beauty Heroes was the first to formally define Blue Beauty standards, introduce a dedicated zero-waste retail category and mobilize the community into action. Blue Beauty became more than a buzzword. It started to define a kind of business model that many pioneering brands began adopting, (and a few visionary heritage brands began reclaiming). Perhaps what was most remarkable, however, was how many customers started seeking out, even demanding, blue beauty! It is this simpatico relationship between a conscious company and a conscious consumer that is key to making meaningful change.
And this brings us to today. It seems that everyone everywhere is talking about sustainability (finally!). Brands big and small, from indie beauty to the biggest behemoths, are sharing their environmental commitments publicly, making big promises and accepting responsibility for changing the current trajectory of climate change. This surge of interest and engagement in sustainability was not lost on Irina Kremin of INNOCOS, so she approached Jeannie about hosting a weekly Blue Beauty Webinar. Both Jeannie and Irina agreed that frequent dialogue about the advances, innovations and challenges that environment-first brands face was one powerful way to keep the momentum alive and inspire more brands and customers to join the movement.
“I’ve been talking to brand founders about these ideas for years,” says Jarnot, “but something powerful happens when you invite others to listen in. On this webinar, founders, entrepreneurs and conscious consumers are now all on the same page. There’s honest dialogue about the challenges brand owners face and the confusion that consumers have. And there’s also excitement about new innovations and breakthroughs, and there’s a real sense of hope in our young entrepreneurs, who are motivated to reimagine old, outdated systems and create better businesses for our planet. These conversations are the beginning of change.”
It is my fundamental belief that it is the responsibility of the companies, first and foremost, to use advances in science, technology and globalization to ethically source materials, more accurately measure environmental impact, and sustainably scale their businesses, making more responsible products accessible to more people. Further, the onus is on the companies to educate their customers about these initiatives.
But once the product is purchased and in the customer’s hands, the blue beauty baton is passed. As customers, we are more than users; we are end-of-life choosers, and it is 100% our responsibility to ensure that a product is recycled, keeping it in the loop and out of the landfill.
As a recent guest on the Blue Beauty Webinar, I encouraged brand founders, beauty professionals and consumers alike to celebrate how far we’ve come, and to continue to support each other in going the distance. Though the path isn’t always clear, we’re making great strides at a rapid clip, and 2020 will be seen as a cataclysmic year for growth and change. From the supply chain to the consumer’s shopping cart, there’s interest, engagement and education happening at every point in a product’s life cycle. As a celebratory roundup of lessons learned and ideas ignited by the Blue Beauty movement, below are some important takeaways that support the ongoing dialogue between blue beauty brands and the customers who love them!
What Customers Should Look For
- As a blue beauty baseline, be on the lookout for products that contain ethically sourced botanicals and clean synthetics that do not contain petrochemicals, phthalates, or toxins that can leach into our soil and waterways when disposed of.
- Further, whether it’s plastic, glass or another hybrid material, look for post-consumer recycled packaging that can also be recycled. This is the closed-loop model, and it requires equal commitment from the company and the customer for it to work.
- Look for instructions on how to dispose of the packaging. If it’s recyclable, it should clearly be indicated on the bottle and box. Be aware that some level of effort may be necessary. For example, most pumps and some caps aren’t recyclable, so they should be separated and put in their respective bins. Also, labels may need to be removed before recycling. Taking these extra steps to recycle properly makes all the difference.
- When zero-waste, low-waste and reusable packaging are available, choose it. Beauty Heroes has dedicated Blue Beauty and Zero Waste sections on their site and in their store to make this easy! Brands like Meow Meow Tweet and Cleo and Coco offer low-waste, biodegradable packaging, and Osmia reimagines no-package bar soap through the lens of luxury.
- Finally, look beyond the marketing to the philanthropic commitments. Some Blue Beauty brands offset their carbon footprint by planting one tree for every product sold, others set goals to reach carbon neutrality by a certain date. Commit to the brands that are committed to the environment.
What Customers Can Ask For
- First, if any of your favorite brands have not made the transition to recyclable, low-waste or reusable packaging, press them to do so. Customer demand inspires progress and innovation.
- If you aren’t sure how to properly dispose of product packaging, DM the brand to find out.
- If you aren’t sure about your city’s recycling options, visit How2Recycle. If you’re not satisfied with your city’s services, order a Zero Waste Pouch from TerraCycle to ensure that all of your beauty product packaging is recycled.
What Customers Can Do
- When given the option to purchase refillable, reusable products, choose it, then commit to it.
- Experiment with innovative formats, like soaps that come as solid, concentrated tablets that emulsify with water.
- When making a purchase, choose brands and companies that share your values, and that value the environment.
- When you can, where you can, donate and participate in local revitalization initiatives.
- Buy less. Seriously. The paradigm shift that’s slowly but surely taking place is not just to buy better, bluer things, but to literally consume less. And as more of us begin to realize that less really is more, the blue wave will continue to gain strength.