The glowing cerulean waters of the Blue Lagoon, juxtaposed with the craggy moss-covered lava fields that surround it, have drawn people from all over the world since it officially opened in 1992—though locals in Iceland snuck in before word of its healing powers got out on a global scale. Since then, the striking locale has racked up plenty of likes on Instagram and hosted one million visitors in 2019 alone, making it one of the most popular spas in the world.
“The Blue Lagoon was listed as one of the wonders of the world by National Geographic and that tells how unique this place is,” says Ása Brynjólfsdóttir, Director of Research and Development, Blue Lagoon. “Even though we have many different places with hot water in Iceland, this one is totally different because of the situation on this peninsula. We have this black lava field, so the water from the ocean can seep into the ground through it. We are on this active area where the tectonic plates meet. We also have freshwater from the highlands. This mixes under high pressure and heat, coming in contact with magma. The result is this unique water with this unique composition of minerals and high levels of silica and microalgae.”
Nestled in the Reykjanes Peninsula in the southwest corner of Iceland, it’s the high concentration of silica particles that gives the waters its signature eye-catching blue hue. In 1994, the Blue Lagoon’s Medical Clinic for psoriasis opened, where people spend about a week in the pools to jumpstart a renowned treatment. “The water has amazing healing powers, especially for psoriasis,” Brynjólfsdóttir says. “We research key players in the healing process. From our studies, we’ve learned that the key players are silica and microalgae in treating dry skin, the skin barrier, eczema and psoriasis.”
BL+ was founded in 2021 to bring the healing waters and bioactive ingredients of the Blue Lagoon into people’s home at a new level. Thirty years of research went into developing the luxury line, which is clinically proven to improve skin health at a cellular level. The entire line is infused with Blue Lagoon water, specifically the BL+ Complex, the cornerstone of every product, a unique blend of patented silica and microalgae ingredients. The BL+ Complex stimulates collagen synthesis and prevents collagen breakdown, working to boost the mRNA expression of genes that control collagen, leading to firmer skin. It also strengthens the skin barrier by fighting off environmental aggressors that weaken it, including pollution, allergens, pathogens and irritants.
“It’s a high-performance formula,” Brynjólfsdóttir says. “The key components target fine lines and wrinkles, dehydration, firmness and protect skin against free radicals and pollution with antioxidant properties. So, the result is stronger and deeply hydrated and radiant skin. The products are suitable for all skin types and have a very light texture.”
BL+ Skincare launched with The Serum; in addition to the BL+ Complex it also contains vitamin C to brighten and three types of hyaluronic acids to improve skin health over time, boost radiance and fight the signs of aging. Next came the Eye Serum, a gentle formula with a cooling roller applicator designed to nourish the delicate skin around the eyes while minimizing dark circles, puffiness and free radical damage, all while boosting collagen and hydration with their signature complex, vitamin C and licorice root extract. BL+ is working to expand the line, with the next offering dropping at the end of this summer.
The research team at the Blue Lagoon has made great strides in skincare discoveries, including publication in many peer-reviewed journals, such as on the Blue Lagoon’s unique ecosystem, bioactivity studies on microalgae and silica, anti-aging properties, as well as earning patents on its microalgae and silica. At their COSMOS approved research facility located on-site at the Blue Lagoon, they are always looking for new opportunities to develop new skincare ingredients and products.
“Our beautiful lab is very inspiring,” Brynjólfsdóttir says. “The algae is the tip of iceberg; there are many more research opportunities. We did this mapping of the microalgae and silica and the results showed it supported the skin barrier and made it healthier and also stimulated collagen in the skin, so it had very nice anti-aging properties. When the BL+ Complex was developed, we confirmed the delivery system of these actives is able to penetrate through the upper skin layers so they can go deeper and have [a greater] effect.”
Using special silica precipitation tanks, the silica from the Blue Lagoon is collected by cooling hot geothermal seawater and letting it evaporate; the remaining fluid is used for microalgae cultivation—and the mineral salt is used for food. The dominating species of unique microalgae in the water is isolated and grown for cosmetic use. They tap biotechnology to cultivate microalgae, using a carbon capture method that’s easier on the planet. “We mimic its natural condition to cultivate algae because it needs lots of light to grow,” Brynjólfsdóttir says. “I don’t know any other cosmetic company using this pioneering method. It’s very sustainable.”
Sustainability has always been at the forefront of BL+. “For 30 years we have been upcycling byproducts, including electricity,” Brynjólfsdóttir says. “Today the world is talking about sustainability but it’s in our DNA. The products are Cosmos Natural certified. This means all ingredients are traceable, coming from resources that are harvested using sustainable methods. We have been very focused on working with nature. All methods here are developed with green chemistry.”
Completely vegan, the brand’s primary and secondary packaging is 100% recyclable with FSC certified paper. They invest 10% of sales toward sustainable exploration and research on Blue Lagoon’s bioactive water. Additionally, the strikingly sophisticated bottles are made with light-resistant UV glass to extend their shelf life. To save on paper, each box has a QR code that customers can scan to go to their website to get more information about the product.
Ultimately, BL+ is all about paying homage to the Blue Lagoon waters. “It’s a beautiful concept,” Brynjólfsdóttir says. “Mother Earth is delivering the products.”