The ocean is an incredible source of life—an underwater universe of blue beauty that covers 70 percent of Mother Earth. Not only is it home to about one million species of animals, it is teeming with plant life that, while mostly tiny, like microscopic phytoplankton, have mighty capabilities and an atmospheric impact on the world around us. Through photosynthesis, they produce about half of the oxygen that humans and other land-dwelling creatures breathe, and play a major role in the global carbon cycle, also helping to create what is the world’s largest carbon sink, absorbing about as much carbon as all the plants and trees on land combined.
But if the Netflix documentary, Seaspiracy, or sinking, oil-laden cargo ship off the coast of Sri Lanka—the country’s worst ever ecological disaster—is anything to go by, our oceans are under major threat by the devastating impact of human actions and activities. Besides overconsumption, it is the excessive and highly irresponsible amount of waste that’s dumped into the ocean that’s destroying it all. Plastic and chemical pollution in these waters means marine life are ingesting micro plastics (or worse), which affect the rate at which all species flourish, and the rate plankton trap carbon and produce oxygen, directly impacting the world’s carbon cycle and in turn, global warming and climate change.
What is “Blue Beauty?”
Thankfully, there’s a growing sector of individuals, organisations and companies committed to protect, conserve and give back to the ocean—including the rising tide of “blue beauty” brands. “Blue Beauty” is a global movement spearheaded by Beauty Heroes founder Jeannie Jarnot, which celebrates ocean-friendly beauty businesses, reef-friendly formulations, sustainable packaging and conscious conservation efforts around the world that strive to make the planet a better, and bluer, place. As we celebrate the beauty of our seas in honour of World Oceans Day (8 June), let’s also highlight the brands, efforts and initiatives of the beauty industry that we should continue to support all year round.
Conserve marine habitats with One Ocean Beauty
One Ocean Beauty is a clean, clinically proven and sustainable blue beauty brand with the ocean at its heart. Founded by Marcella Cacci, the brand’s formulas utilise the highest concentration of rich marine actives to deeply nourishing and rejuvenate skin. But rather than repeatedly harvesting this from the water, the company takes the natural molecules from living marine microorganisms and reproduces them through sustainable Blue Biotechnology and bio-fermentation. A long-term partner of Oceana, One Ocean Beauty donated US250,000 to the foundation even before selling a single product, and is committed to working with them to change policies and restore the ocean in the years to come.
Save the sharks with Biossance
For the longest time, squalene was used in skincare products. Unfortunately, squalene is a highly unethical shark-derived ingredient harvested from these marine animals’ livers. In response to this, Biossance pioneered a way to produce squalane, a sugarcane-derived alternative that is sustainable, renewable, vegan, plant-based and entirely cruelty-free. Here, squalane is celebrated in more ways than one—not only does it power its best-selling formulas, this skincare innovation saves more than two million sharks from being hunted every year. On the packaging front, renewable sugarcane paper is also used for outer cartons while tubes and bottles are entirely recyclable too.
Clean up the ocean with La Mer
Luxury skincare brand, La Mer (which literally means “the sea” in French) was born from the creation of Miracle Broth, a proprietary ingredient made of fermented sea kelp brimming with cell-renewing powers. This secret ingredient has powered elixirs like Creme de la Mer since day one, and for the last four years, the brand has made a commitment to give back to the source—through the La Mer Blue Heart Oceans Fund, which supports ocean conservation efforts around the world. Such efforts include coastal restoration by supporting The Nature Conservancy; youth empowerment via EarthEcho International to teach the next generation to protect 30 percent of our ocean by 2030; and ocean education through Ocean Azul Foundation, which equips nearly 30 percent of Azorean teachers to bring ocean literacy to primary school students on the islands. For over 15 years, La Mer has donated over US5.7 million and has helped to support the protection of 16 million miles of unique marine habitats across the globe. You, too, can be part of this movement by indulging in a jar of limited edition Blue Heart Creme de la Mer, or post an image of you by the beach or ocean using the hashtags #LaMerBlueHeartSG #LaMerSG #LaMerTGE in June. For every public post, La Mer will work with The Green Escape to clean up one kg (up to 150kg) of marine debris in Singapore.
End marine wildlife consumption with Chantecaille
Over the last 20 years, Chantecaille has set a high standard in the realm of smart botanical skincare and cosmetics, using beauty as a tool to effect change in the world. Reflecting its sustainable ingredients and nature-powered formulas is a commitment to global environmental issues and conservation efforts, with philanthropy collections that have helped raise awareness and funds for endangered sea turtles, coral reefs, bees, elephants, gorillas and more. One of its causes, Vibrant Oceans, seeks to end the global consumption of wild marine animals that not only pose a threat to certain species—like whale sharks that are hunted for their meat and fins, and manta rays for their gill plates that are used in health tonics—but also to human health from zoonotic disease outbreaks. For this, Chantecaille has partnered with WildAid, an NGO that works with governments and partners to protect vulnerable marine reserves from illegal fishing and shark finning; to strengthen the protection and conservation of priority marine areas; and to enhance public and political will for anti-poaching efforts.
Snap up ocean-bound plastic with Love Beauty and Planet
Love Beauty and Planet might only be four years old, but the vegan personal care brand has already saved and recycled 60 million used plastic water bottles to create their product packaging—including eight million ocean-bound plastic bottles that have been transformed into the Clean Oceans Edition line of beauty and bodycare. What is ocean-bound plastic? This refers to the plastic waste found along coastlines, beaches and waterways, and Love Beauty and Planet collected these within 10 miles of the coastline for their exclusive Clean Oceans Editions. To encourage similar “small acts that add up to big impact”, the brand, and its sister Love Home and Planet, have partnered with The Surfrider Foundation to sponsor 26 more beach clean ups and donate US250,000 back towards protecting our oceans. Beyond the water, they’re also making significant steps in supporting green—and blue beauty—partners (like donating over US750,000 and 195,000 products to organisations), and pride themselves on formulating effective products with ethically sourced ingredients and as small of a carbon footprint as possible.