Beautyblender’s BIOPURE Sponge is Pure Greenwashing

As I mentioned last year in my video on H&M, the biggest trend in 2021 will inevitably be sustainability, which you would think is a good thing. But a lot of brands like to cut corners here, trying to make their products look sustainable in appearance only. Dig into the nitty gritty behind their marketing and you’ll find that it’s just that…a marketing tactic.

This brings me to a recent launch by Beautyblender, called their BIOPURE sponge. While the majority of their sponges are made from a latex-free foam (they don’t specify the material used), BIOPURE contains 60% sugarcane.

That’s a bit vague, so I dug into their FAQs, which revealed more about it:

Anytime a renewable resource is used in place of a non-renewable resource, CO2 emissions are lessened and there is less strain put on the limited supply of fossil fuels. Benefit #1: Sugarcane is a renewable resource, therefore in the process of creating BioPure we are emitting less CO2 and putting less strain on the supply of fossil fuels. Benefit #2: Sugarcane is also considered a waste product. Meaning once it has been used (i.e. to make sugar) it is thrown away and will eventually end up in a landfill. The bio-based materials used in creating BioPure are derived from “used” or “waste” Sugarcane. 

Now Beautyblender isn’t wrong here, as an important part of sustainability is repurposing waste products, like sugarcane. By doing so, you’re also not spending more time harvesting ingredients which would involve the additional use of equipment, transportation, etc. And that increases CO2 emissions just by harvesting these ingredients.

But here’s where it gets iffy:

To summarize: In creating our latest innovation, Beautyblender BioPure, we are replacing 60% of our raw non-renewable materials with a more sustainable alternative. One that is carbon neutral, nondependent on fossil fuels and renewable, all while maintaining the same soft bounce and experience of the award winning Beautyblender.

Carbon neutral? I usually see brands promote carbon neutrality when it comes to auditing their entire manufacturing and shipping process, not for a single ingredient. This ignores the fact that their sponge is only comprised of 60% of this ingredient, which means that although they claim this ingredient is carbon neutral, it doesn’t apply to the entire product. We don’t know the carbon emissions involved in actually creating the BioPure sponge, nor the carbon emissions involved in shipping out these sponges.

To make matters worse, they sell 14 different beauty sponges, in addition to limited edition sponges such as their Zodiac collection (that’s 12 additional sponges), a beauty sponge just for blush, a mini sponge, cleansing products and an assortment of makeup. None of these are manufactured sustainably, as far as I can tell.

“Only a single ingredient used in one of our beauty blenders is sustainable” doesn’t sound quite as catchy, I suppose.

To add to this, BIOPURE isn’t even biodegradable. That’s also an important part of sustainability, as plastic-based products not only take hundreds of years to break down, but also release microplastics into the environment once they do. This not only pollutes waterways but harms animals as well. This looks especially bad considering EcoTools recently released their own sustainable beauty sponge which is completely biodegradable, called BioBlender for a fraction of the price ($4.99).

Bottom line? I’m definitely not buying BIOPURE, as the only sustainable thing about it is that it partially contains sugarcane. When it comes to sustainability, looking at the entire brand is more important here to understand how it contributes to CO2 emissions and microplastic pollution. The overwhelming majority of Beautyblender’s products contain plastic and don’t appear to be sustainable. Beautyblender could easily be more sustainable instead by not manufacturing 12 sponges that have a zodiac sign imprinted into them, or by offsetting carbon emissions for all of their products.

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