I’m standing up to my knees in tulips on a private farm just outside of Amsterdam when the sun bursts through the clouds overhead. Sunshine drenches the fields of lush bulbous blooms, lighting them up from the highway to the horizon in electric stripes of white, yellow, and red. It’s even better than the pictures.
As I tip-toe through the delicate rows, I ask the owner of the private farm what will happen to all these beautiful flowers at the end of the season. “They’re getting chopped off and composted tomorrow,” he says flatly. “It’s only the bulbs that we sell all over the world.”
Dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mt. Sinai Hospital, Joshua Zeichner, MD, sees potential in the line. “Tulips contain high levels of growth factors that allow the flower to continue to grow even after it has been picked,” he says. “These growth factors serve as messengers to stimulate activity of skin cells to strengthen the skin foundation and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”
Jensen’s work has also garnered the attention of the Dutch government, which provided two grants to support the research and development of the line. “The Dutch government supports circular farming and this is the perfect circular farming opportunity,” says van Haaster. “There are billions of bulbs and eventually the flowers get cut off and we want to use those flowers in our skin care. It will drive innovation because growers will have another value stream.”
It’s a discovery that will likely bring more Dutch beauty brands to the forefront, which is especially exciting given the Netherlands’ approach to sustainability, something that’s historically been lacking in the global beauty industry. “Dutch farmers have actually defined sustainability,” van Haaster says. “We are 10 years ahead of the states in terms of sustainability and water usage. We are doing everything efficiently and trying to export that to the rest of the world. They call the Netherlands the Silicon Valley of agriculture.”
For Bloomeffects, that means using 100% recycled cardboard, FSA-certified paper, soy ink, and recyclable glass containers — and continuously finding ways to reduce the carbon footprint of what’s inside the packaging. “There are some waste products in the bulb industry and these beautiful petals end up in compost,” Jensen says. “We want to work out every part of the tulip, bulbs, leaves, and petals. There are billions of tulips grown here and huge potential.”
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