Over many years, I have experienced a teenage exploration of makeup and dove into elements of the beauty industry. I have evolved enough to find that products we use on our skin and in our routines tend to have some sort of effect on our environment. Most makeup products we find in stores like Ulta, Sephora and especially the common makeup aisle at a drugstore are full of ingredients and chemicals we normally can not pronounce and know very little about.
Products such as deodorant, mascara and skincare items often contain microbeads, synthetic fragrances, artificial silicones and “phthalates,” chemicals known to be extremely toxic to marine life and cause hormonal issues in humans. On top of posing a threat to human health, the ecosystems we vitally need to keep clean in order to maintain biodiversity are at stake when the products leak into the earth’s ecosystems. CV Skinlabs, a company focused on skincare research, finds that the chemicals hanging around in our usual creams and sunscreens can wash up in our water and soil for an extended amount of time. Too many bath, skincare and makeup products are consumed only to seep into waterways and contaminate the environment negatively.
Popular YouTube beauty “guru” influencers and makeup artists such as Tati Westbrook, James Charles and more are known for their packed-on pigments and owning dozens of drawers of makeup. This level of consumption feeds the beauty industry, increasing the demand for more plastic tubes of ecologically unapproved products to be made and sold.
Some celebrities and influencers with greener thumbs and a mind of ecological awareness have found ways to create their own makeup labels with cleaner methods. One prime example is YouTube-grown influencer Liza Koshy, who created her makeup line in partnership with C’est Moi beauty. Not only is this beauty line dedicated to sourcing clean ingredients, it is also safe for coral reefs when worn in the ocean and wild waterways, hypoallergenic on skin, not tested on animals and is EWG verified.
EWG, or the Environmental Working Group, is an association created to monitor and assess the quality and environmental safety of everyday products being put out for sale. A large, searchable list of products that fall within proper guidelines of EWG’s analysis can be found on their very own “SkinDeep” database.
In addition to the need for ingredients to be monitored in terms of environmental health, it is important to note that plastic pollution often comes from tossed away containers, usually still carrying leftover components of used-up product.
Liza Koshy’s makeup line, “One of One,” with C’est Moi also provides information on how to recycle the old beauty packaging through terracycle, an environmental group that offers recycling initiatives toward products and materials that are normally difficult to recycle in an everyday manner. This makeup line clearly knows how to sell mascaras with safer methods. However, what does one do with wands and other disposable beauty tools after its life is over?
Primarily focused on physical packaging, most common mascara wands are plastic bristles to coat eyelashes. This familiar and unique design makes for the perfect tool to provide cleaning and care to small animals at the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge. The refuge has a “Wandraiser,” also known as “Wands for Wildlife” where they collect cleaned mascara wands to repurpose for giving animals proper care; combing fur, cleaning syringes, etc. Sometimes, the refuge pauses their donation period, but all the information is available on their website. I had a positive experience mailing in some of my own old and washed mascara wands to them, saving a little bit of waste from the landfill and maximizing the use of mascara before disposing of it.
Until we find a way to create products made solely with safe, natural ingredients and can create our skincare elements and beauty routines from an environmental eye, some initiatives do exist. Protecting and cherishing all the ecosystems we are attached to when painting our faces and tossing the wands is the current goal. It is time to discover more about which beauty companies truly care about wasteful habits and protecting natural species’ habitats.