It’s difficult, through the layers of mascara and foundation, to see how harmful the cosmetics industry is to the environment. So many companies these days simply slap the word “natural” in front their product and ignore how wildly problematic the word is. Between trends and cost and packaging and chemicals, the cosmetics industry, while it looks pretty on the surface is anything but.

Pink, glittery, and gorgeous, cosmetics look innocent enough until you look at the label. Most cosmetics currently sold in stores are full of damaging chemicals, waiting to wreak havoc on the environment when they are washed down your drain. Those gorgeous lipsticks might just be full of P-phenylenediamine, a chemical toxic to aquatic ecosystems. Over periods of time, it can diminish the plankton population and even kills many aquatic species.  Dioxane, a chemical found in many cosmetics such as shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, and soaps, is a carcinogenic chemical, costly to remove from products, although possible, and fatal to insects and fish populations. This list goes on and on with triclocan which changes the biochemistry of amphibians, and DBP which can change the biochemistry, genetics, and growth of fish when washed down the drain. When cosmetics go down the drain to tamper with the aquatic eco-system, what becomes of the rest of the world? All life on Earth is dependent on water and if that water and life in that water has experienced chemical alteration, so will the rest of the Earth.

Not only this, but cosmetics packaging in incredibly harmful to the environment. Because of the numerous chemicals in each products, the packaging must be made out of material durable about not to corrode when in contact with the products. This means that the plastic is more difficult and will simply sit in landfills as more and more plastic bottles and packages accumulate. Such packaging is costly not only to the environment, but also when compared to the cost of homemade and truly natural cosmetics products in reusable containers.


The latest trend in cosmetics is throwing “natural” in front of every name and product. Consumers want to feel as though they are being less harmful to the environment by buying a product made from natural ingredients. However, in order to cash in on this trend, many cosmetics companies are looking towards acquiring natural products through farming and mining. However, it is not cost-effective to harvest these ingredients sustainably. They farm through pesticides and toxins to increase yield, doing more damage than good, effectively eliminating anything natural about their product.

However, that’s not to say that someone must forego their favorite beauty regimen. There are cosmetics companies that stay true to the “natural” label. provides a rundown of some top-notch makeup products that won’t harm people or the environment. Not only is buying from eco-friendly cosmetic companies an option, but making homemade products can be beneficial as well. Not only is it a safe way to ensure that the ingredients in the products are natural and safe, but it also reduces, even eliminating wasteful packaging. The ugly truth about cosmetic companies is that they damage the environment, but by being eco-friendly in personal beauty routines, people can reduce the risk to the environment and potentially make lasting change in the beauty industry.