12 Eye-Opening Facts About the Beauty Industry

by Mike Grindle1 month ago0 comments

7 Animal testing and cruelty is still prevalent

Animal testing
Animal Testing in Cosmetics

One of the most unfortunate facts about the beauty industry is that animal testing and cruelty are still prevalent. And you can’t always assume that just because a product reads “cruelty-free”‘ or “not tested on animals,” that this is, in fact, the case. At present, there is no legal definition of such terms. So, companies could effectively lie to you if they so chose. And even if a company doesn’t test its finished product on animals, it isn’t easy to know if the same is true regarding the individual ingredients used.

In some parts of the world, governments have banned companies from testing on animals. But even then, it’s not always a sure thing. For instance, studies conducted in the EU found hundreds of cosmetic products, including moisturizers, lipsticks, and sunscreen, contained ingredients tested on animals. All despite a 2009 ban. (1, 2)

8 “Organic” doesn’t always mean what you think.

"Organic" products
“Organic” product.

Statistics show that consumer demand for sustainable and natural ingredients in cosmetics is growing. But many cosmetic products may not be as “natural” as you think. Unlike “organic food,” cosmetics don’t have to be independently certified. The problem again can be put down to a lack of solid legislation, meaning brands don’t have to be wholly truthful regarding their claims.

In 2017, a Soil Association investigation into greenwashing found that many brands were, in fact, being deceptive with their packaging. As it turned out, many of the so-called “organic” products they tested contained only a single organic ingredient. And in some cases, this single ingredient accounted for as little as 1% of the ingredients used. (1, 2)

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9 “Plastic surgery tourism” leads to multiple hospitalizations and deaths each year.

Plastic surgery
Plastic surgery tourism

The popularity of cosmetic surgery may be growing, but it doesn’t come cheap. For instance, in the US, liposuction will, on average, set you back around $5,000. As a result, many people turn to cheaper surgery options abroad. Such has led to the rise of “plastic surgery tourism” hotspots in countries like the Dominican Republic and Turkey. For some, looking abroad proves cheap and effective. But for others, the results are often nightmarish.

The results of cheap plastic surgery are often harrowing. Over the years, patients have been left with open wounds, infections, and disfigured faces, among other inflictions. In some cases, botched surgeries have even proven fatal or worse. For instance, in 2020, a UK school teacher entered a vegetative state following a nose job in Turkey. Another issue is that since these surgeries come as part of package deals and involve signing waivers, making claims against suspect malpractice is highly difficult. (1, 2, 3)

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10 20th-century marketing changed how people view women’s body hair.

Woman hair
Woman body hair.

There’s no denying that the beauty industry has spent millions in marketing and advertising over the years to convince people they need to change how their body looks. Nowhere is this more obvious than when we look at the subject of body hair. Or, to be more precise, women’s body hair and how commercials changed society’s stance on it to sell more shavers.

Harper's Bazaar ad
Harper’s Bazaar 1922 ad.

The first ad targeting women’s hair removal appeared in 1915 and advocated for the “necessary… removal of objectionable hair.” A tirade of similar ads followed, many of which would likely be considered misogynistic by today’s standards. Such included a 1922 ad that declared that the “fastidious woman must have immaculate underarms if she is to be embarrassed.”

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11 Some products are not pregnancy-safe.

Pregnant woman
Effects of cosmetic products on pregnant women.

Pregnancy is a complex and confusing enough time as it is. But one thing many expectant mothers don’t realize is that many everyday beauty products pose a potential risk to both themselves and their unborn child. For instance, many deodorants contain aluminum chloride, an ingredient linked to bone damage, anemia, and lethargy. Also, vitamin A derivatives found in various cosmetic products have been linked to growth issues.

In truth, it’s quite the minefield. Thankfully, the FDA does maintain an updated list of potentially dangerous ingredients. Unfortunately, even this might not cover everything. For example, the FDA does not assess the use of essential oils, several of which may cause long-term health issues. The same is true with formaldehyde, a chemical found in nail polish and other cosmetics, which many doctors advise against using due to its possible association with miscarriages. (1, 2, 3)

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12 The beauty industry substantially contributes to environmental pollution.

Packing Waste
Packing Waste.

One of the most unfortunate facts about the beauty industry is its negative effect on our environment. Cosmetic packaging alone is causing colossal detriment. Indeed, according to reports from Zero Waste Week, some 120 billion units of beauty packaging are created each year, much of which ends up in landfills. Part of the problem is that much of this packaging puts glamour and fancifulness above practicality. Brands go all out to outdo their competition resulting in the use of mixed and unnecessary materials that are difficult to recycle.

An equally problematic issue is the products themselves. Many contain ingredients that are toxic to the environment. For example, oxybenzone, a standard product in sunscreen, is a huge culprit in the destruction of coral reefs. Likewise, plastic microbeads in exfoliates end up in bodies of water where they are eaten by fish and, eventually, humans. Then there’s the prevalence of unsustainable sourcing of ingredients. For instance. the high demand for palm oil has led to the destruction of countless acres of forest. (source)

Also Read:
Photographer travelled to 37 different countries and took pictures of women, to show that beauty is everywhere.

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