How To Save The Earth With Your Beauty Buys


The skin is the largest 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 to put on your skin.

Here are a few that stood out the most because they’re so common in everyday and popular products:

  1. Parabens are a household name in skincare, haircare, and cosmetics. They’re a commonly used preservative, but canbe 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 in fuels is a staple in many over-the-counter makeups, lotions, and sunscreens. One of the biggest health deterrences 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.

Gravitate toward brands that offer multiple-usage options like refillable eyeshadow palettes versus single-use items with a shorter lifespan. This will give you versatility in the colors you use and allows you to produce less waste from disposing full, mainly plastic-based palettes.

Investing in good quality products will save you multiple trips to the store over the course of a year. Lastly, look for applicators that are bamboo-based or made from recycled materials.

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