Not only are you what you eat, you’re also what you put on your face.
Cosmetics and skincare products have a bigger impact on your health than you’d probably guess. The skin is the biggest organ on the human body which absorbs a shocking five pounds of makeup every year on average. The same chemicals that are harmful for your body are also harmful for the environment. The extraction and manufacturing of these products contributes to Carbon Dioxide emissions, as well as toxic waste that is hard to dispose of.
These tips will help you make purchasing decisions that are good for your face and the planet.
Where To Start
The Green Guide laid out the “Dirty Dozen” ingredients common in personal care products. These are an easy place to start when ruling out products you’ll be putting on your skin.
Here are a few that stood out the most because they’re so common in every day and popular products:
Parabens are a household name in skincare, haircare, and cosmetics. They’re a commonly used preservative, but can be easily absorbed through the skin and are harmful in large quantities. You can avoid parabens by looking for “Paraben-Free” labels. Without preservatives the cosmetics may have a slightly shorter shelf life, but the pros outweigh the cons when you consider environmental and personal health.
DEA (diethanolamine) are compounds that give cosmetics their creamy or sudsy nature. It also helps adjust pH and counteract toxicity. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, DEA can cause irritation to the nose and throat when inhaled and irritate the skin with rashes when applied directly. These are less common and more easily avoidable with natural products.
Petroleum is another common additive in the cosmetic industry. When you first think of petroleum you probably think of the oil industry and you wouldn’t be too far off. The same crude oil used as fuels is a staple in many over the counter makeups, lotions, and sunscreens. One of the biggest health deterrence is that it can’t be metabolized, meaning once it enters the body it’s hard for it to ever leave naturally.
The Environmental Impact
Next to consider is the health of the environment and how you have the power to create a healthier world around you with every purchasing decision.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repeat
Big name brands like M.A.C, Garnier, AVEDA, and Origins all have well established recycling programs for when you’re done with your cosmetics.
Instead of filling up landfills that release methane, you can mail in your finished items or take them to the specific store on your next shopping trip.
You can also gravitate towards brands that offer multiple-usage options like refillable eyeshadow palletes versus single use items with a shorter lifespan. This will give you versatility in the colors you use and allow you to produce less waste from disposing full, mainly plastic based, palletes.
Investing in good quality products that will save you multiple trips to the store over the corse of a year. Lastly, look for applicators that are bamboo based or use recycled materials.