Blue Heron Botanicals ticks off a checklist of consumer musts in this era of conscious, clean beauty and sustainable packaging.
The female-owned, made in the USA, small business is a 100% plastic-free, zero waste, all USDA certified organic lip therapy and skin balm brand that advocates for an “entirely sustainable natural beauty industry.”
The brand additionally takes its support for Mother Nature one step further, donating a portion of its proceeds to saving baby sea turtles.
The California-based brand was founded by 15-year veteran horticulturalist Theora Jackson, who named Blue Heron in ode to her youth on the Lake Champlain Islands of Vermont, which she says “deepened her love of Mother Earth and is where she fell in love with the Great Blue Heron—a much anticipated symbol of Spring on the lake.”
Small-Batch Formulas with Medicinal Herbs
Jackson prides herself on Blue Heron Botanicals’ all-original formulas, which are created using all-natural, hand-picked ingredients.
Products include Organic Lip Therapy (available in Pacific Mint and Cali Orange), Healing Lip Therapy (Lavender and Lemon Balm flavors), Tinted Lip Therapy (Ruby Red Grapefruit), Vegan Lip Therapy (Pacific Peppermint and unflavored Coastal Berry), Tattoo Aftercare Balm and Wound Warrior Balm.
Each product is small-batch produced to ensure potency, quality, and effectiveness. Ethically sourced from local farmers, her own herb garden, or wild harvested (intentionally supporting the containment of invasive species), Blue Heron Botanicals’ products are organic and fair trade certified, nontoxic and chemical-free.
Formulas use “time-honored” medicinal herbs (e.g. beeswax, calendula, coconut oil, comfrey, peppermint, tea tree, and more). Lip products feature a creamy blend of botanical butters and oils—beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter and other lip soothing oils—but they will not melt in your pocket.
From harvest to production to packaging, each step is done with sustainability in mind and a commitment to reducing the use of plastics in the natural body care industry. Oils and herbs are infused using solar power—in fact Jackson’s entire farm and facility is powered using solar energy.
Zero-Waste Packaging Is a Priority
For its skin care offerings, Blue Heron Botanicals uses 100% compostable, biodegradable paper balm tubes made from post-consumer waste paper, replacing more commonly used plastic tubes and tins. The brand says these components provide excellent product protection and are convenient to use.
The paper eco-friendly squeeze lip balm tubes are smooth and tapered and are made from post-consumer waste paper, an alternative to typical lip balm tubes made from petroleum plastics. The fitted caps as well as the tubes are constructed with a naturally coated (not plastic), oil resistant paper barrier appropriate for the brand’s all-natural lip balm recipes.
According to Blue Heron, “Paper is the most successfully recycled post-consumer material, is inherently carbon neutral and is easily composted, making it the most sustainable packaging material available today. The brand says grease resistant paper packaging often contains fluorocarbons (PFCs) PFOA and PFOS, which have been shown to be persistent chemicals, both in the environment and in human tissue.”
Blue Heron Botanicals paper lip balm tubes contain no fluorinated chemicals and utilize a naturally grease-resistant biodegradable adhesive and tree-free sugar cane fiber that is suitable for home composting.
Additionally, says Jackson, their tubes “do not contaminate products with phthalates, bisphenols (BPA) or other chemicals found in plastics that are raising concerns about commonly used plastic packaging.”
Blue Heron Botanicals lip balm tubes weigh 1.7 grams and are made in the USA, making their carbon footprint minimal. The larger 1oz. skin balm tubes are slightly more common, featuring a push-up design and are made from a blend of 60%/40% recycled paper and FSC virgin paper.
The inside coating of plant-based wax makes them oil resistant and home compostable. These larger tubes as well as all labeling are also made in North America.
Plastic-Free, Solar-Powered, & Design Considerations
“Our world faces an ever-growing plastics pollution problem,” says Jackson. “I wanted to create a product line made from ingredients that are good for the body, and packaging that is good for the environment.
From hand-harvested, locally sourced ingredients and solar-powered manufacturing to 100% plastic-free and recyclable packaging, Blue Heron Botanicals is focused on providing the highest quality products with the smallest carbon footprint.”
Jackson says the initial challenge with these tubes was ensuring barrier properties were adequate and the product was the right consistency to dispense properly from the tube yet soft enough to be easily applied to the lips or skin.
Design considerations included ease of use, sizing similar to a regular lip balm tube, tight-fitting lid/adequate barrier function, resistance to oil stains, sturdy enough to last the life of the product and renewable options (composting/recycling) for its end of life.
Another significant component was consumer education—teaching “natural beauty” fans about the true environmental impact their brands may have.
What is ‘Blue Beauty’?
Blue Heron Botanicals embodies what is called “Blue Beauty.” This term is inclusive of all that is loved by green beauty enthusiasts, explains Jackson—high quality minimally processed ingredients that are effective, naturally derived, selected with attention to production, cruelty free, and ethically sourced.
“Blue Beauty goes a step further to include innovative sustainable packaging solutions and philanthropy. There is an added concern for our oceans and targeted focus on preservation to combat the impact of plastics pollution,” she says.
Blue Heron Botanicals ranges in price from $8 – $18; bundles and gift sets are also available.