To Top

Your Favorite Cosmetic Products May Be Ruining the Environment

When you buy or order make up, don’t you say to yourself ‘I can’t wait to try this’? Yes, that is the case with most of us, trying new things, discovering products we love. But not a whole lot of us would want to stop and think about the negative aspects of the make up and cosmetics we use. But the truth is that every time we wash off the cosmetics from our body and face, we are actively participating in environmental pollution.

A lot of the ingredients in cosmetics and their processing activity, which are chemically toxic, seep into the ground water and oceans to cause grave damage.  Just how are we dumping toxic chemicals into the rivers and oceans and destroying ecology? Let’s tell you how…

The problem with ‘micro-plastics’

Your favorite scrub may be made of exfoliates which are composed of small plastic micro-beads that are made of polyethylene (or plastic). And although those making and advertising these products will tell you all about the benefits of this ‘gentle’ cleanser on your skin, they will never tell you about the appalling damage it causes. All that glitter we use in our nail polishes and make up are also non biodegradable plastic which easily finds its way into the oceans. In fact, some shower gels, scrubs, foundation etc. contain as much plastic as the containers they come in, so using them amounts to just throwing plastic bottles into the seas and oceans.

Although USA and Canada have now woken up to the dangers of micro plastics and banned them in certain products, a few of these products can still be purchased from leading ecommerce websites or even abroad, where it’s use is not regulated. The key to stopping the use of micro plastics is banning it’s sale completely and raising awareness of it’s harmful effects. A much safer alternative is using natural ingredients such as sugar or walnut scrubs as exfoliates.

Not just plastic… there is so much more

Microbead plastics and glitter isn’t the only things that are choking and polluting the waters and land, there are loads of environmentally harmful chemicals which are found in our make up (have a look at you favorite make-up brand’s label, you’ll know what we are talking about. A few of the chemicals you may encounter are;


Parabens are chemically produced preservatives which are added to cosmetics to deter the growth of bacteria in them and stretch on their ‘best by’ date. There is evidence that parabens (which should not exist in the ocean in the first place) are responsible for killing of corals and can even act as a hormone disruptor for dolphins, among other marine creatures.

In fact, scientists have also found that parabens have been building up in the tissue of bears, marine animals and birds, which only goes to show that the things we wash down our sinks can have such a deep impact on the bodies of animals.

Titanium dioxide (TiO2)

Titanium dioxide is generally used in cosmetics as nanoparticles, found in mineral-based makeups, skin tints, highlighters and even in sunscreen. This chemical is proven to cause damage in the DNA of freshwater snails and even impedes the growth and development of phytoplankton. Why is this bad? Because phytoplankton produce almost two-thirds of all the atmospheric oxygen available on our plant. They also diffuse oxygen in oceans, which keep much of the marine animals alive, which means that their disappearance will cause the oceanic wildlife to suffocate and die. Of course, human and animal on land would suffer as oxygen levels would deplete drastically.


Another commonly found anti-microbial agent which is used in toothpastes, cosmetic powders and skin care products. This chemical has been found in the Great Lakes, in alarming quantities and it happens to be an endocrine disruptor, which greatly decreases freshwater organisms’ life spans.

There is undeniable proof that the synthetic ingredients in makeup disrupt ecosystems and pollute the environment. But this does not mean that the environmentally conscious you cannot use make up and products at all. There are a great number of ecologically conscious cosmetic companies too, which want you to buy products, which are safe for you and the oceans. Many of these companies only use biodegradable, organic and natural ingredients, companies such as Lush, True Glue and most Ayurvedic products.

More inBeauty & Cosmetics

You must be logged in to post a comment Login