You pay a steep price for beauty. In exchange for short-term benefits, you may sign yourself up for a not-so-good future, or even for long-term problems. Here’s an interesting statistic: The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, and almost 20% of the wastewater.
While this is a startling statistic, pollution and fashion aren’t related quite as closely as pollution and the beauty industry are. In this article, we want to discuss the relationship between pollution and your favorite beauty products, and go over some sustainable beauty brands that are trying to break out of this loop.
Pollution in the US
Pollution is of many types. There’s air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, noise pollution, light pollution, just to name a few. In industrialized and urban areas, you’re likely to encounter most (if not all) of these, and the US is no exception. Let’s look at some statistics about pollution in the United States.
A 2009 report stated that about 60% of Americans live in places where the level of air pollution is bad enough to make them sick. The American Lung Association also found that the air quality in the United States has declined sharply, with increased ground-level ozone.
Air pollution can cause lung problems, heart disease, infections, problems of the central nervous system, and cancer. The cities with the highest level of air pollution include Bakersfield, Fresno, Visalia, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Fairbanks, San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland. You can see the full list here.
Now let’s talk about water pollution. Our water bodies are fairly clean, right? Think again. According to the EPA, almost half the rivers and streams and more than one-third of the lakes in the US are polluted to the level where they’re unfit for swimming, fishing and drinking. It’s no secret that most of this pollution comes from agricultural runoff and industrial wastewater.
We’re also dreadful when it comes to most other types of pollution. Almost 80% of North Americans can’t see the Milky Way anymore. If you’ve ever wanted to get away from the city and spend a pleasant night watching the stars, this is bad news indeed.
The Effect of the Beauty Industry on Pollution
Most beauty products you purchase (especially from large brands) are made in a factory, and they cause emissions every step of the way – during ingredient sourcing, during manufacture, and during shipping. In addition, forests are burned down to create plantations for palm oil, which makes entire cities uninhabitable. Volatile organic compounds present in sprays contribute to air pollution and smog.
The beauty industry uses massive amounts of fresh water – which is then turned into wastewater. Inorganic ingredients and produce often involve the use of harmful pesticides and insecticides, which wash off and pollute our water bodies.
The carbon footprint of a single beauty product is enormous because of the energy and resources used to make it, produce the packaging, and then transfer the whole pretty package to you. With a large carbon footprint comes a large amount of pollution.
We’ve written on plastic pollution in multiple blogs, so we won’t go into that again – but we all know the Earth is suffocating under the weight of all our plastic waste.
The Effect of Pollution on the Beauty Industry
Pollution can wreak havoc on your skin and hair. Air pollution, for instance, can cause inflammation, pigmentation and acne breakouts – all of which are serious problems that can take a toll on your self-esteem. In addition, exposure to dust and other pollutants can actually lead to decreased protein levels in hair, and cause hair loss!
Water pollution has similar effects. Washing your hair with polluted water can cause it to become dry and brittle, and when it comes in contact with your skin, it can cause skin concerns such as hyperpigmentation, acne, fine lines, and premature ageing.
What does this mean for the beauty industry? Higher demand, of course! If the pollution problem gets bad, they can come up with new products that help you safeguard your skin against it, and that means they sell one more product, and earn more money. Garnier, for instance, has a page that informs you about the effects of pollution, and then transitions into a plug for their products. Smooth.
We don’t believe we as a species have reached the level of depravity where brands would actively create more pollution just to increase profit. However, we may not be far from that point. As things start to get out of hand, brands may give up on their efforts to go green and instead focus on maximizing profit.
Five Brands That Are Combating This Problem
While some brands are adding to the mess we’ve created, there are other brands that are actively working to combat the problem. We partner with several brands, all of which are doing great work for the environment. However, here are the best ones, with fabulous sustainable beauty products:
They like to keep it simple, with just one product currently available on their website. However, it is a waterless, plastic-free product, and when they ship it, they put the order through a carbon offset calculator to ensure it’s carbon neutral. If the air pollution in your city’s causing you to have sensitive skin, here’s a product that’ll soothe the issue without adding to the cause.
Here’s another brand whose products take care of the damage caused from pollution, without creating more pollution. Their products are housed in a recyclable glass bottles, with caps made using up-cycled plastic. Their ingredients are completely natural, ethical and sustainable. They use no toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process.
Their face mask comes in powder form – unlike the single-use face masks we’re used to. It contains powerful herbs that cleanse and soothe your skin at the end of a hot summer day. There are no microplastics in the product, and the company donates 1% of their sales to various organizations that are helping our planet heal.
Their products come in recyclable glass jars, and the outer cartons are made with kraft paper, which is also fully recyclable. The company donates 1% of their sales to eco-friendly organizations. Their ingredients are gentle and Earth-friendly, and would never harm our water bodies and oceans. You can see a full list of their ingredients on our product page.
They launched the industry’s first zero-waste eyeshadow palette. It comes without a mirror or magnets, so once you’re done using it, you can just put it straight in the recycling bin. The ingredients are all skin-friendly, organic, naturally derived, and fair trade. Their outer packaging is completely recyclable, and like our other partners, they donate 1% to green organizations.
These are sustainable beauty brands that we truly love and respect, not just for their products, but for all the thought that goes into making sure they’re sustainable and eco-friendly. When you buy something from them, you can rest assured the product you’re purchasing has as small an environmental impact as possible. In fact, our partners try to leave a positive impact on the environment, by contributing to organic farming endeavors and by donating to the right places.
Fait avec Coeur is Fighting For a Clean, Green Earth
At Fait avec Coeur, we’re all Earth-lovers, and we try our absolute best to make sure our products don’t hurt Mother Earth in any way. So our silk products are sustainable and completely biodegradable, as is our packaging. We’re also working on a recycling program that’ll help our customers recycle their empties easily.
Let’s talk about the 100% silk face masks available on our website. They’re useful if you live in an area with bad air pollution, because they’ll filter out most particulate matter and prevent it from entering your nose, and they’re made with 100% sustainably sourced silk. Not only is the material sustainable and biodegradable, but it feels great on your face, and will never cause maskne, which was a major issue among people with sensitive skin during the pandemic.
These masks are super soft, they stay cool throughout the day, and silk has various properties that make it the perfect material for people with sensitive or acne-prone skin. You can get a mask in different colors depending on your tastes, and we have masks with prints, too!
Our masks are made with the highest quality of silk – so they’re soft as a feather, while still being super durable. They’re 100% washable, and easy to take care of. They include a filter pocket, so you can add in a filter if you think you need one.
Face masks have been found to be effective at protecting you against air pollution. So if you’re already wearing a mask to ward off viruses, why not kill two birds with one stone – in style?
Lastly, we would like to mention packaging. Our silk face masks are the only products we sell that come in a thin plastic sheath – which is necessary for hygiene reasons. However, all the other packaging is plastic-free and fully recyclable.
Think sustainable beauty, think Fait avec Coeur.