Green Beauty’s Murky Environmental Impact
In recent years, many beauty products have been marketed under the term “green beauty”. This growing industry sells beauty products that do not contain chemicals or are made of “natural” ingredients. Companies like Follain and Goop market products based on the concept of wellness. In doing so, beauty companies are able to capitalize on a growing market of consumers that want more transparency in the products that they’re buying. Consumers want to feel like they are making the right decision in putting natural products on their bodies and using ingredients straight from the planet rather than ones made from chemicals (Wischhover).
Green-products are sold on the ideology of accountability from beauty brands. This marketing strategy aims to increase sales by marketing the concept of conscious consumption. In reality, these companies only want to increase sales for themselves and often don’t have consumers’ interests at heart. In order to increase their sales, companies often “greenwash” their products.
Greenwashing, defined by Jay Westerveld, is when companies market products to consumers on the false pretense that these products have positive effects on the environment. In the beauty industry, companies often sell their products under the guise of “greenness” when in reality the the production of many of their products contributes to harmful impacts on the environment. The packaging of products accounts for 40 percent of plastic usage (“Facts About Plastic”). The production, packaging, and transportation of these products leads to a process that is far from being environmentally friendly.
While some government regulation has attempted to stop the environmental effects of beauty products, such as the banning of microbeads (“Microbeads”), there is still much work to be done in terms of visibility in the industry. In order for consumers to make decisions that accurately reflect their values, companies need to be transparent in their advertising. It is imperative for beauty companies to treat their customers with respect and inform them about their products so that consumers can make conscious decisions about what to buy.
Bester, Bennie Lukas. “Woman Having Bubble Bath.” Pexels.
“Facts About Plastic - Plastic Oceans Foundation.” Plastic Oceans Foundation, 30 Nov. 2018, https://plasticoceans.org/the-facts/.
“Microbeads.” Government of Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, 30 Nov. 2018, www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/chemical-substances/other-chemical-substances-interest/microbeads.html.
Wischhover, Cheryl. “The ‘Natural’ Beauty Industry Is on the Rise Because We're Scared of
Chemicals.” Vox.com, Vox Media, 18 Sept. 2018.