The environmental impact of the Beauty Industry

The Beauty Industry and The Environment

The National Climate Assessment have stated that failing to address climate change and by not taking immediate action will cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives.

While we all try to do our bit in saving the planet, we tend to not think about beauty products and personal hygiene when trying to become more environmentally friendly. We all use cosmetics and personal care/hygiene products without second thought.

The skin care and cosmetic industry are now rushing to come up with greener formulations and eco-friendly packaging to reduce environmental impacts, which is a must! While that being said, global beauty brands and leading cosmetic companies haven’t completely eliminated plastic packaging.

The average grooming and beauty ritual includes:

  • Soap (11.7 billion bars per year annually in the United States)
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Lip Balm
  • Makeup
  • Body Lotion
  • Shaving products
  • Sunscreen

According to a 2010 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
(NIEHS) study
, “personal care products that rinse down drains and into rivers agitate the hormone systems of wildlife”, (more specifically an ingredient known as Triclosan (an antibacterial agent)).

According to the FDA:

  • (FDA 1999)… cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without approval from the FDA.
  • (FDA 1995)… the FDA cannot require a company to do safety testing of their products before marketing
  • (FDA2000/CIR 2003)… the industry’s panel has reviewed just 11 percent of the 10,500 cosmetic ingredients. The 89 percent of ingredients that remain unassessed are used in more than 99 percent of all products on the marke

In 1989, a house subcommittee asked the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to analyze 2938 chemicals used in personal care products with the result that:

  • 884 of the ingredients were found to be toxic
  • 778 of these can cause acute toxicity
  • 146 can cause tumors
  • 218 can cause reproductive complications
  • 314 can cause biological mutation
  • 376 can cause skin and eye irritation

How You Can Help

With more and more people becoming educated on environmental issues, the more people are moving towards making a positive impact. Therefore, the environmental movement continues to grow, the more companies seek to satisfy their consumers by offering greener alternatives. Regardless, some, (and not all) companies aim to achieve an “environmentally-friendly reputation”, while still continuing to do ecological harm.

To combat this, you, as a consumer should read product labels prior to purchasing. The more words you can’t pronounce on the label, there’s a likely chance that the ingredients of the product contain environmental toxins.

Another cool, and fun way to help the planet is to create your own beauty and personal hygiene products. Natural oils are fantastic moisturizing bases for applying cosmetics. It’s also possible to make your own toothpaste, mascara, and even foundation! There are plenty of youtube tutorials and Google search terms available to you!

If you haven’t got the time, patience, or you really just couldn’t be ar*ed making your own products, look out for organic beauty and personal hygiene products.

So, let’s let future generations enjoy our planet by recognizing the importance of protecting it. By making small changes to our beauty and personal hygiene routine, we can put our best selves (and faces) forward while protecting our one and only home.