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Eco-Friendly Makeup

Have you ever thought about what really makes up your makeup products? Have you ever thought about why people are shopping for eco-friendly makeup?


Take a look at the makeup you use daily, is it in plastic packaging, does it list dozens of chemicals you don’t know? 


Chemical exposure, pollution problems, and animal cruelty could be a part of your beloved cosmetic companies, but not to fear, there are many eco-friendly brands that produce cruelty-free products in recycled or reusable packaging and discard unnecessary and harmful chemicals.


Impacts of cosmetics

Before I get into what’s in the products, it is important to notice what holds your favorite foundation or lipstick. According to a report covered by The Guardian in 2019, the United States produced 234 pounds of plastic waste per person per year and because we are all consumers, the biggest domestic use of plastic is the packaging


Packaging, depending on size, thickness, materials or chemical composition, can affect the breakdown time, which is averaged to take 400 years to breakdown. As the breakdown process occurs, chemicals are exposed, affecting the surrounding environment and its inhabitants. 


Even glitter is harming our oceans. National Geographic states “Glitter is made from plastic sheets and used in a wide array of products, including cosmetics. When washed down the drain, glitter becomes a subset of marine plastic litter known as microplastic” (Laura Parker, 2017). Although more evidence is needed to study the full effects glitter has on the environment, its best to steer clear from these plastic glitters and try a more eco-friendly makeup brand like Eco-Stardust where their glitter is made from plants.


Beauty is harming sharks

On top of the packaging and harmful environmental effects of glitter, many cosmetics products have been using shark squalene, a compound of shark liver oil, as a moisturizing ingredient. Squalene can also be found in plants and oil but because of pricing, sharks were picked.


A non-profit named Bloom, did a study in 2015 to reassess the cosmetic industry for shark squalene after massive consumer backlash against the use of shark squalene in 2012. This study found that 1 in 5 moisturizing creams out of the 72 tested contained shark squalene. Some of the brands that included shark squalene were CliniqueBliss (contained animal squalene) and Beyond. The Shark squalene industry has significantly decreased due to reports and consumer backlash, but we must keep an eye out for the ingredients still. Many brands have chosen other methods of squalene extraction like The Ordinary use squalene that is 100% plant-based derived. 


eco-friendly makeup
Cruelty Free Kitty

Traditional makeup is cruel, eco-friendly is cool

Sharks aren’t the only animals being harmed. Many beauty companies still engage in animal cruelty practices. In the image above is a list of makeup companies that test on animals. You can find more companies that engage in animal testing at Cruelty-Free Kitty


It is important to note that the FDA relies on the makeup brands and companies to self-regulate themselves, meaning that brands have the power to decide what they want to put in their makeup, with the exception of 11 chemicals the FDA banned. Because of this self-regulation power, many brands have misleading labels to keep from disclosing the origin of an ingredient. This is a major contrast to places such as Europe who has banned over 1300 chemicals from the cosmetic industry alone.



Beauty products are filled with harmful chemicals

Let’s take a look at how this freedom has gotten the better of some companies. In the Johnson and Johnson lawsuits, the company knew for years that its talcum powder, the signature ingredient in their baby powder, contained asbestos, and failed to inform the public about the harmful effects of this chemical which has been claimed to cause cancer. Johnson and Johnson were required to pay 4.7 billion in their baby powder lawsuit.


Along with Johnson and Johnson the brand Claire’s which has been known for its glittery and colorful accessories and makeup, but were called out by the FDA in 2017 when they found cancer-causing asbestos in some of their makeup products. Because the FDA has little control over the industry, they could do little to stop the production of the products but eventually, Claire’s recalled the items. 


Sustainability and style: Eco-friendly brands to shop

Because the FDA does not regulate makeup brands, it’s up to the consumer to look at the ingredients and brand to truly decide if they are true to their word. Here are a few brands that kept their promises to eco-friendly makeup!


1. Lush Cosmetics

Lush is a popular company that aims for cruelty-free, handmade, 100% vegetarian, fresh ingredients and reusable or no packaging for each and every product on their market. 

Lush even has its own charity pot program where when you purchase the product, 100% of the proceeds go to grassroots organizations working for an animal, human and environmental justice.

2. Juice Beauty

“Juice Beauty offers award-winning (InStyle, ELLE, Allure, Glamour, EWG) skincare and makeup products that meet rigorous USA organic regulations supported by solid eco-values that include purchasing many ingredients locally from West Coast certified organic farmers and manufacturing strictly in the USA, often with solar & wind power, utilizing sustainable containers and printing with soy ink.” (Juicebeauty.com)

3. Credo Beauty

“At Credo, our mission has always been to change the entire beauty industry for the better. From day one, we’ve stocked our shelves with the best non-toxic products around, helping people reconsider what goes into conventional products, onto our skin, then down the drain.” (Credobeauty.com)

Credo beauty offers many products from eco-friendly makeup brands that are deemed, safe, sustainable and use no harmful toxins.

4. RejuvaMinerals

Rejuvaminerals has been credited with many awards such as the Environmental Working group verification, Made Safe seal and is rated clean on the Think Dirty app. This brand has an extensive list of chemicals they refuse to use, using certified organic ingredients and packaging their products in eco-friendly jars and recycled materials.

Doing some independent research

  • Makeup brands are constantly producing products and new brands are always popping up on the market, but the Environmental Working Group (EWG) works tirelessly to rate and verify cosmetics to determine whether they are worthy enough to use. Click the link to check them out and search your makeup products and see if they pass!
  • Safe cosmetics also has plenty more information about in-depth toxin reports and the regulations other countries have and the effects these chemicals and toxins have on the body.
  • Made Safe is another non-profit that aims to label brands and products safe and provide a comprehensive database of the best products to use.
  • If you are unsure about a product or the origin of an ingredient, call the company and ask!



Parker, Laura. “To Save the Oceans, Should You Give Up Glitter?” National Geographic, 2 Apr. 2018, www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/11/glitter-plastics-ocean-pollution-environment-spd/.

Holden, Emily. “US Produces Far More Waste and Recycles Far Less of It than Other Developed Countries.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 3 July 2019, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/02/us-plastic-waste-recycling.

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Prohibited & Restricted Ingredients in Cosmetics.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetics-laws-regulations/prohibited-restricted-ingredients-cosmetics.

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Cosmetics & U.S. Law.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetics-laws-regulations/cosmetics-us-law.

Parker, Laura. “The World’s Plastic Pollution Crisis Explained.” Plastic Pollution Facts and Information, 7 June 2019, www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/plastic-pollution/.

Loney, Sydney. “FYI, Your Fave Face Cream Might Contain Sharks.” Flare, 15 July 2019, www.flare.com/fashion-beauty/squalane-skincare-shark-liver-oil-plant-based/.

Parker, Laura. “The World’s Plastic Pollution Crisis Explained.” Plastic Pollution Facts and Information, 7 June 2019, www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/plastic-pollution/.

“Johnson & Johnson Lawsuits Raise Fears Over Baby Powder.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 4 Oct. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/10/04/the-weekly/johnson-johnson-baby-powder-cancer-lawsuits.html.

Guide, Staff. “11 Natural & Organic Makeup Brands Your Face Will Love You For.” The Good Trade, The Good Trade, 12 Nov. 2019, www.thegoodtrade.com/features/18-natural-organic-makeup-brands-your-face-will-love-you-for.

“Chemicals of Concern.” Safe Cosmeticswww.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chem-of-concern/.

Deciem. “Clinical Formulations with Integrity: A DECIEM Brand.” The Ordinary, theordinary.com/product/rdn-100pct-plant-derived-squalane-30ml.

Milligan, Cyndie, et al. “Over 1000 Toxic Ingredients Banned in Europe But Not In US?” Beauty By Earth | Organic and Natural Beauty Products, 14 Feb. 2020, www.beautybyearth.com/over-1000-toxic-ingredients-banned-in-europe-but-not-in-us/


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