Employing the powerful benefits of natural sources has gained increasing popularity over the years, with the bioactive cosmetics ingredient market projected to reach $2,215.96 million by 2028. The team behind the Blue Lagoon spa and product line in Iceland have been tapping into this valuable resource for three decades.
In 1976, the Blue Lagoon took shape in the Svartsengi Resource Park on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula, when geothermal seawater from underground volcanic aquifers (2,000 meters below the earth’s surface to be exact) was channeled to the surface. With local bathers and visiting tourists reporting vast skin improvements, scientists began studying the water’s properties in 1987, including Bárður Sigurðsson, who later became the chairman of the Blue Lagoon scientific committee. They found exceptionally high levels of silica in the geothermal seater, with immense benefits to healing psoriasis, strengthening the skin barrier, preventing collagen breakdown, and promoting collagen synthesis.
In 1992, physician Grímur Sæmundsen founded Blue Lagoon Ltd. after intensively studying the water’s benefits for not just skincare, but also wellness and medical treatments. He onboarded Ása Brynjólfsdóttir, who remains the Director of R&D for the company to this day and led the development of the Blue Lagoon skincare line, which launched after two years of development in 1995. A year prior, the Blue Lagoon medical clinic had opened up, offering natural psoriasis treatments. “These 30 years of scientific journey have been amazing,” Brynjólfsdóttir tells BeautyMatter. “Step by step we have, through our research, built up a deeper knowledge of the Blue Lagoon Water, its healing power, and bioactive ingredients, which have been the driving force in our innovation and sustainable development.”
Today, the company offers three vegan product lines: BL+ luxury skincare, Derma bodycare for sensitive skin, and Spa offerings to recreate professional treatments at home. While all make use of Blue Lagoon seawater, the BL+ additionally targets anti-aging factors such as wrinkles, weakened skin barrier, dull texture, dehydration, and a lack of radiance and elasticity. “Our philosophy is promoting a minimalistic regimen of highly effective, clean, and clinically proven products that can transform the skin. With BL+ we offer the future of skincare, focusing on healthy skin and wellbeing for people and the planet,” she explains.
That philosophy includes finding the optimal way to channel the advantages of the precious resource at their hands into consumer products, while also ensuring environmental circularity. “The biggest challenge has been to develop skincare products that effectively harness the regenerative powers of the Blue Lagoon Water. Our proprietary ingredient technology BL+ Complex is the culmination of that challenge—and at the same time, our greatest success,” she states. The formula contains patented Blue Lagoon microalgae and Blue Lagoon silica, in addition to delivering deeper epidermis penetration, according to Brynjólfsdóttir.
The R&D team has developed a unique sustainability solution to capturing these potent materials, resulting in carbon neutral microalgae cultivation and forestry: local geothermal CO₂ is upcycled in order to provide the materials for the microalgae’s photosynthesis. “This pioneering technology enhances Blue Lagoon’s efforts to neutralize its carbon footprint, bringing the company substantially closer to one of its most important goals: a world without waste,” Brynjólfsdóttir notes. Blue Lagoon’s bioactive ingredients are COSMOS (Cosmetic Organic and Natural Standard) approved, while the company’s BL+ The Serum and BL+ Eye Serum were recently COSMOS Natural-certified thanks to a 100% natural formula and recyclable packaging.
The Blue Lagoon team hopes that its sustainability efforts can reach beyond Icelandic waters, providing a potential operational model to the industry as a whole. “In the beginning our key objective was to understand the healing properties of the Blue Lagoon Water and how to develop the company as a destination. Through its development, Blue Lagoon has become a unique example of sustainable development and multiple use of geothermal natural resources,” she adds.
Looking to the future, said resources are calling for even more applications as the R&D team continues to dive deep into the benefits of the milky Icelandic waters. “We see many opportunities in further product development,” Brynjólfsdóttir enthuses. “Our belief is that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg of the beneficial effect of the Blue Lagoon Water, so we are looking forward to next discoveries and the future of our skincare.”
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