Shining the ‘Blue’ Light on Osmia’s Dr. Sarah Villafranco

I was inspired to found Beauty Heroes because I wanted to shine a light on the wellness and beauty brands that are paving the way for a healthier planet – and doing it well. Earlier this year, I began thinking about it, and the lightbulb went off in my head– green beauty brands are actually ‘blue’ beauty brands. With much thought and love, we launched Project Blue Beauty, a platform to spotlight the brands that are using their business to create a better, bluer planet.

One of the first blue beauty brands that came to my mind was Osmia and Founder Dr. Sarah Villafranco. You may remember when I visited her in early 2016 at Osmia headquarters in Carbondale, Colorado.

It was a pretty special weekend, as I got to visit her home, cross-country ski with her…and even make soap. Sarah and her family live minimally. Their company operates minimally, and she and her team work hard to take into consideration the impact of every decision they make–from new product development, packaging, ingredient sourcing, you know, the full life cycle of a product. With Sarah at the forefront, Osmia is not a brand that caters to trends or makes anything that can’t be made in a way that considers all the stakeholders. Osmia is synonymous with Blue Beauty–a beauty brand that does all it can to make the planet a cleaner, healthier, bluer planet. Those who love Osmia are fiercely loyal to the brand because of its thoughtfully-made and effective skin and body products, foundational brand values and charismatic brand founder. I asked Sarah to answer a few questions and share with us what Blue Beauty means to her and how she sees beauty evolving. And, in her true-to-form style, she went above and created a playlist on Spotify, with her favorite blue-themed songs. Enjoy!

The very existence of brands like Osmia contributes to a bluer planet. Each of your products is crafted with a focus on being light on the planet, was that your intention from the very beginning?  

Absolutely. I’ve been eco “conscious” for as long as I can remember, but since moving to the mountains of Colorado 13 years ago, I have become eco-obsessed. Watching what is happening to our planet as a result of our carelessness over the last century is one of the greatest sources of distress in my life, and my decision to leave medicine and start Osmia is my effort to help create change. Our products contain ingredients that are healthy for humans and the earth but, on a larger scale, I hope to promote a lifestyle that has a lower impact on the ecosystem we all share. Whether it’s eating real, unprocessed, plant-based food or relying more on exercise and stress management than on pharmacology for your wellness, there are countless ways to help shape the future. Our brand is as much about those daily choices as it is about skincare. 

How does the Osmia customer contribute to the planet, in ways that they might not even know about?

As of Earth Day this year, every single Osmia order plants one tree. We partnered with a Vermont-based non-profit called One Tree Planted, and we donate quarterly to their organization. While tree-planting is not the permanent solution to our global carbon overload, it sequesters carbon for a period of many years, and contributes to environments and ecosystems in so many other ways. We have planted over 5,000 trees so far this year, thanks to our amazing customers!

Are there any innovations and developments by way of ingredients or packaging that are inspiring you because it’s lighter on the earth, or maybe even gives back in some way? 

I think there are some very exciting things happening in the world of sustainable ingredients and packaging, but the industry is still in its infancy. We’re learning how to source things in less damaging ways, and Osmia works to stay on top of those discoveries, switching suppliers when a better option becomes available. At the moment, there’s no such thing as environmentally “friendly” packaging, but I hope the next decade will bring innovation that would have seemed unthinkable a decade ago. In the meantime, we choose the most environmentally-considerate packaging we can source, as well as choosing things like recyclable packaging and boxes, biodegradable packing tape, and sustainable building materials in our facilities.

Is there a process you go through in Osmia’s early product development stages that evaluates sustainability and lifecycle? If so, what’s your process?  

We have a group of trusted partners for ingredients and packaging who help us as we consider all aspects of product development, from the conscious sourcing of raw materials to the paper mill we choose because they plant two trees for every tree they harvest. So many environmentally careless practices have been off-limits for our brand since the beginning, so we start the process from a fairly elevated baseline. We consider the details of sustainability, and that’s where we spend most of our time–making the most sustainable choice instead of just telling a sustainable story.

If there were one Osmia product that you would want the whole world to try and fall in love with, what would it be and why?

It would be our body soaps, whichever one makes your nose happiest. Body washes and liquid soaps come in plastic bottles for the most part, and contain surfactants and preservatives that wash down the drain and affect plants and fish. Our soaps are not only gorgeous, but they are packed with beautiful ingredients, packaged with biodegradable material, and last forever. Plus, the skin of your body accounts for 91% of the surface area of your skin, so by switching your body products, you’re having a big impact on your health as well as that of the planet. 

Learn more about Osmia and see Dr. Sarah Villafranco in action, sign up to receive our free Master Class Video series, her class was a favorite from the event. You’ll feel so good after watching it, promise.

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