The Importance of Investing in Sustainable Makeup Products

In the past year, we had to witness some of the most detrimental natural disasters that affected many homes, families, and animals. Most of the harm that the environment suffers from is caused by us and our unsustainable daily habits. Using reusable water bottles and eating less animal products is a good start, but many of us fail to consider the effect that makeup and other beauty products have on the planet. According to the EPA, 80.1 million tons of waste in 2017 was made up of packaging materials, most of it coming from beauty products. Luckily, many makeup brands (drugstore and high end) have started to produce more vegan and sustainable products at an affordable cost. Not only is investing in sustainable beauty helpful for the planet, it’s also helpful for the skin.  

An immense way cosmetic brands are hurting the environment is through their packaging system. Even if the makeup itself is made with natural ingredients and is cruelty free, the large quantities of plastic used for the packaging is quite unnecessary. Whether it’s a mascara wand, a tube of lipgloss, or an eyeshadow palette, the odds of it being made from plastic is high. Not limited to beauty products, “the amount of plastic packaging on U.S. products has increased by over 120 times since 1960—with almost 70 percent of that waste piling up in landfills” according to National Geographic. Plastic has always been a reliable packaging source for many beauty and self care companies because of its cost and easy access, but it’s time for brands to actually take a stand and finally acknowledge climate change and other environmental issues.

Most major makeup brands still use toxins in their products, which are harsh on the skin but even harsher on the planet. Washing off the day’s makeup every night means that toxic chemicals that run through the drain end up in oceans, lakes, and other bodies of water. This hurts the aquatic life that is already suffering enough from climate change. Below are the some examples of how certain toxins in makeup affect the environment, according to the Huffington Post

These toxins along with many others are terrible for the skin as its use becomes more frequent. Most people probably don’t take the time to consider what toxic chemicals are hidden in their favorite products. An article from ABC News states that “women use an average of 12 products a day, containing 168 different chemicals. Men use fewer products, but still put 85 chemicals on their bodies,” that’s insane! Traditional makeup uses synthetic preservatives, artificial colors and heavy metals that can lead to skin issues, but switching to sustainable makeup is always a safe option. Healthline recommends looking for products that are labeled USDA Organic, fragrance free, cruelty free, and allergen friendly (meaning no harsh chemicals were used). 

Lots of research has been done to prove how awful most makeup products are for the environment and our bodies. Finally, brands are slowly making the switch to incorporate sustainable ingredients and packaging into their makeup. For instance, L’Oreal has publicly announced that they are “aiming to make 100 percent of their packaging reusable, refillable, or compostable by 2025, and to source 50 percent of that packaging from recycled material” according to National Geographic. Other makeup brands have reduced their plastic packaging by a large percentage and now use materials like glass instead. Investing in sustainable makeup can be a bit pricey whether it’s from a large brand or small business, but it’s so worth it when considering how helpful it is for the planet. 

Here are some brands that offer sustainable makeup that I personally recommend: 

The beauty industry has been too reliant on using cheap, toxic chemicals in makeup products and using insane amounts of plastic for packaging, but that needs to end now. There are many brands that still aren’t completely on board with making their products eco-friendly, but it’s a steady process. As consumers, we need to spread awareness of how detrimental makeup can be for the environment and our health. We can do our part by supporting more brands that believe in the power of sustainability, reading labels carefully, and reusing packaging. Buying products from companies that want to make a positive impact on the environment will allow other brands to follow in their footsteps.