From children in Jharkhand risking their lives to mine Mica for your makeup, to depleting atmospheric oxygen level and destroying marine life – the list of the harmful effects of the makeup and skincare industry is quite long.
Who thought that makeup and skincare, something that we use to look and feel good, can have harmful effects on us and the environment? To better understand its effects, let’s start by seeing what’s inside our makeup.
Even if a brand advertises their product as ‘natural’, they can be filled with harmful chemicals along with a few natural ingredients for reasons like to give the product a longer shelf life.
Here are only a few chemicals that you don’t want in your makeup – paraben, sodium lauryl sulfate, formaldehyde and titanium dioxide (TiO2). While TiO2 can stop phytoplankton (which is responsible for producing roughly two-thirds of atmospheric oxygen) from growing, others like paraben can kill off coral and accumulate in the tissues of marine organisms, bears, and birds.
Everytime we wash our face, we are flushing down these harmful chemicals. From our sinks the chemicals are released into our lakes, streams, rivers and public water systems, damaging it all.
Even the natural ingredients found in these products are sourced unsustainably by large companies. Illegal mica mining in Jharkhand is just one example of such practices.
Mica is a shiny mineral which adds shimmer to nail polish, lipstick and eyeshadow. Illegal mica mining not only causes serious health hazards among the women and child workers but also leads to massive deforestation and loss of wildlife.
Apart from this, microbeads were introduced in our face wash and face scrub (and even toothpaste) as gentle exfoliators but did you know microbeads, also known as microplastic are the worst kind of plastic? They cause plastic pollution and have been detected in drinking water, beer, seafood and table salt.
Not just the plastic inside our makeup but the plastic outside them is also a concern. Not all makeup packaging is recyclable and of which are, not all of them reach the recycling bin.
But what can we do?
We can start by reducing and buying mindfully. Look for all natural, cruelty-free products and local brands with eco-friendly packaging. When we switch to green options, it forces big companies to change their unsustainable practices. Together we have the power to make the world a better place.