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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Why you should invest in sustainable beauty

Despite its fair share of bumps and turbulences, the beauty industry is one of the largest selling industries in the world. According to Forbes, the global beauty industry is worth $532 billion (1). After the rise of social media influencers and celebrities’ sponsorships, the beauty industry experienced a large spike in sales. With its success, some brands of the beauty industry have cut corners and lost transparency when it comes to their products and their sustainability. Brands want to make as much product as they can for as cheap as they can possibly make it for. This has led to things such as unethical ingredients being added to extend shelf life, using materials that do not decompose quickly or materials that are non-biodegradable, etc. According to Zero Waste Week, “more than 120 billion units of packaging are produced globally every year by the cosmetics industry… contributing to the loss of 18 million acres of forest annually” (2). Deforestation can make animals have to relocate, if they can even survive relocation. We can lose critical plant life for that ecosystem. It can lead to soil erosion and so much more, making a hefty impact on the environment. Sometimes the impact is so devastating, we cannot bounce back from it. We have lost important key species and plant life due to deforestation and are beginning to face the consequences of our actions.  

Due to their impact on the planet, consumers are holding brands accountable and demanding transparency when it comes to their sustainability. With this new wave of concern and attentiveness, brands have begun adjusting their packaging and formulas to reflect a more green-focused way of doing business. 

There are a few adjustments that brands can make to diminish their carbon footprint. As consumers who care, it is important to look for these factors before buying! One of the most common adjustments we have seen in the beauty industry is the use of refill programs and products. Not only beauty brands, but many popular brands are beginning to provide refills for their products, to lower the amount of packaging that inevitably ends up in landfills. According to a study done by the LCA Centre, “if you buy a refill instead of a completely new product, you save 70 percent on CO2, 65 percent on energy, and 45 percent on water” (3). One-use packaging is something you can definitely ditch if you are wanting to lower your own carbon footprint.  

Moreover, brands can also focus on the use of biodegradable or recyclable material for their packaging. Most of the materials that have been used by the beauty industry for years, either take hundreds of years to decompose or do not decompose at all. For example, plastic can take up to 1000 years to decompose in soil and 500 years in water (4). Plastic packaging is a huge culprit in our growing landfills. Next time you buy a single-use plastic product, just imagine how that plastic will probably outlive you and many other generations before it even breaks down. It may seem simple and innocent, but you are doing more damage by choosing convenience and price over sustainability.  

Furthermore, brands can also begin using recyclable materials such as glass and metal. Glass is a tricky material because although it is 100 percent recyclable and reusable, it will never decompose. However, it is a great alternative to plastic if brands are encouraging the recycling of their products. Some brands can create a dual-beneficial recycling program or provide refillables. There are even outside companies that are making recycling programs specifically for the beauty industry. While researching, I found a brand called TerraCycle that “offers free recycling programs funded by brands, manufacturers, and retailers around the world to help consumers collect and recycle hard-to-recycle waste” (4). These types of programs are amazing and can help in combating waste. However, for this type of system to work, brands need to be making their products with recyclable materials from the start. 

If you are wanting to make a change in what you buy, here are some sustainable beauty brands that I would recommend: Lush, Aveda, Origins, Burt’s Bees, and Ren. For my high-end lovers, Georgio Armani and Clarins are some good high-end brands that are transparent with their sustainability mission. I highly recommend searching sustainable brands and finding what brands align with your personal mission and morals. I hope by the end of this article I have intrigued you into starting your own journey towards living a sustainable life. Once you tackle your beauty products, turn towards some other usual products in your life and ask yourself, are these sustainable? There is no shame in admitting what is and isn’t and making the proper adjustments! 

  1. https://dealsonhealth.net/beauty-industry-statistics/

  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/lucysherriff/2019/09/17/the-minimalist-beauty-company-tackling-the-industrys-waste-problem/?sh=4fd5ce634326

  3. https://trendprivemagazine.com/2020/01/22/how-the-beauty-industry-can-benefit/

  4. https://www.ibcmitrovica.eu/inform/how-long-does-it-take-for-everyday-items-to-decompose/