The cosmetic industry is gigantic with a promise of good looks, better health and moral upliftment.
After all, who doesn’t want to smell gorgeous, have a flawless complexion and be enticed by anti-ageing promises. With the materials at hand, a relatively plain individual can be converted to a ravishing beauty or with little experience, a comical gargoyle.
The big question arises as to whether many superficial outcomes are worth some of the intensive labour involved and the outcome to the environment.
In ancient times, nature was understood to offer advantages to health and create beauty, but forests, plants and herbs were not ravaged compromising the environment as can be the case today. Earthy clay with coloured pigments were basically the necessities for a number of adornments to face and body.
But with time, man became more sophisticated and explored the planet’s alternate usage. When ethics come under the spotlight, many companies do react with validity as to their sources or more shady ones attempt to mask falsehood with denial.
It is virtually impossible to mention many of the dry components used for the manufacture of loose and compressed face powder; eyeshadows, blushers and many more items. But recently, the massive use of mica has been getting much media attention, mica being the inclusion that gives the shine, the glitter and the gloss to dozens of facial products including nail enamels. Albeit that registered and legitimate mines are approved with strict rules, it has been exposed that women and little children in one area of India squat down and spend their lives splitting rocks to retrieve the luminous shards called mica with little renumeration. Sadly, poverty ridden communities often have few alternatives.
Moving onto the perfume industry, interesting investigations show that all is not as pleasant as what invades the olfactory senses.
Each spritz of perfume or cologne contains volatile compounds which react with sunlight adding to ozone pollution.
Often perfume ingredients are kept secret. Thousands of chemicals can be used, volatile compounds adding to indoor and outdoor pollution.
The trillions of “squirts” of perfume, colognes, deodorants and air freshener’s emissions can produce as much air pollution as car emissions.
Further to this, the glass and metal packaging is not easily degraded and ends up in landfills or in rivers and oceans. Instead, card board packaging can be recycled, certainly a smarter choice for the environment.
In conclusion, man has come a long way from his ancestors, but much consideration is needed for the future. Perhaps the technological age, the most abhorred by many could alter our world with solutions in the pipeline never conceived of in the present.