Are Beauty Products Harmful to The Environment?

Beauty products sure mean a lot to us. And whoever claims otherwise might just be in for a shock.

Each day, we want to smell and look nice. And when we eventually do, there’s this inward and outward sense of fulfillment. You’ll only have to see the confidence in our strides to understand this. However, like many other things, beauty products also have some adverse effects on the environment. Yes, you read it right!

Although beauty products continue to beautify humans, they pose various adverse effects on the environment. In fact, it’s so bad that you could say they have mainly contributed to making the ecosystem uglier.

You might just be wondering what this is all about. Well, that’s why we’re here. In this post, we’ll answer the questions, are beauty products harmful to the environment. Then, we’ll address other related questions.

Let’s go!

Are Beauty Products Really Harmful To The Environment?

It sounds like a contradiction to say that the products enhancing our beauty also harms all of us. Yes, we know that, but take a break and see for yourself.

Well, it’s quite simple. These chemicals are usually non-degradable. That is, these chemicals don’t get broken down. Instead, they retain their compound nature even after use.

Then, after each use, they find their way to the marine environment where aquatic and wildlife consume them. Even worse, when we then consume animals, we might also ingest them. After all, they are non-degradable.

Unfortunately, these chemicals are harmful to our bodies and the environment. Some of these toxic products are known and written in scientific symbols on the brand packaging. Worse, others enjoy protection under “trade secrets” laws, which means that manufacturers may not disclose them.

As such, it becomes so hard to determine what these chemicals are. And, in turn, the degree of effects they can have on our body. The problem is that we then find ourselves having cancer a few years afterward because of these chemicals.

So, now you can see it for yourself. Beauty products take a 360-degree effect on all of us and affect us and the environment.

However, you might just be thinking of forsaking all your beauty products. Well, not exactly. Let’s tell you which ones are most harmful to the environment.

Which Beauty Products Are Most Harmful To The Environment?

The fact is although various beauty products are harmful, some pose more risks to the environment. Usually, this is due to its larger composition of non-degradable ingredients and toxic chemical substances.

However, you should know that this risk doesn’t necessarily come when using them on your skin. Instead, it does when these products find their way into the environment. Usually, you’ve most likely forgotten them when they begin to hunt the environment.

Also, some other products are harmful because you cannot reuse them. It’s simple. They then fill up the environment as they cannot be recycled. And subsequently, contribute to pollution.

So, now that you’re aware of how it occurs, here are some of the most harmful beauty products.

1. Wipes

One of the most harmful beauty products is wipes. However, it’s not just all wipes. Instead, those that you use for removing those make-up products.

Usually, these wipes are polypropylene-made. Even more, they are only relevant for single use. And since you cannot recycle them, they add up to the pollution of the environment and waterways.

2. Exfoliating Scrubs

Another harmful product is an exfoliating scrub. Usually, these scrubs help when you decide to scrub your body.

Unfortunately for the environment, they contain plastic micro-beads that don’t get destroyed when washed down.  Instead, they end up in the marine environment where they get ingested by aquatic life.

3. Sheet Mask/Cotton Pads

Sheet mask or cotton pads is another dangerous material. And this is thanks to their design. Typically, you use them only once. Then, just like wipes, their only use after that is the landfills.

In turn, this contributes to the pollution of the environment and waterways.

4. Whitening Creams

In themselves, whitening creams may not be entirely suitable for your skin. Well, that’s not our concern.

Our concern is that they also go a long way to contribute negatively to the environment, especially the ones with Silicone. When used, the Silicone in them get washed and end up in the aquatic environment. This is dangerous to the marine environment.

5. Sprays

Many of your beauty products that come in sprays are dangerous to the environment. Asides the fact that they can end up in landfills, they also pollute the environment.

They can also add to the depletion of the ozone layer. And this is thanks to the aerosol and hydrocarbons they contain.

Why the Beauty Industry is Considered Bad for the Environment?

Today, the beauty industry contributes significantly to environmental degradation. And this is why the world regards the sector as bad for the environment. While this seems abstract, here are some things to put this in perspective.

One of the ways that this sector damages the environment is its constant use of plastic and cardboard products. One primary concern for the environment is the plastic and bottle packaging that comes with many beauty products. Usually, these packagings exist to protect the beauty products themselves. As such, they are not easily degradable.

Consequently, when you use their contents, the plastic packaging has no use. As such, the plastic and bottle packaging end up in the landfill, contributing more to environmental pollution.

Similarly, the cardboard packaging for many antiperspirant and deodorant are pulp-made. As such, a considerable number of tree falling goes into their production. Well, you know what of the leading causes of environmental damage today is deforestation.

As if that is not enough, most beauty companies use polyethylene for a variety of purposes. Typically, long after use, these outputs remain non-degradable. As such, they can easily find their way into aquatic bodies and pose a series of threats to them. In turn, this polyethylene can cause cancer.

Lastly, to satisfy the urge for natural beauty products, so many companies have embarked on mixing natural ingredients with some chemicals. Sadly, this act often neutralizes the raw elements’ effect, but do not stop the demand for it. This has, nonetheless, contributed to deforestation and environmental degradation.

What Chemicals In Beauty Products Are Dangerous to the Environment?

Beauty products are great for enhancing human beauty, but the chemicals many of them come with are of significant concern to the ground. So are you wondering what exactly these chemicals are? Here you go.

1. Sulfates

Sulfates derive from petroleum and plant sources. They can also form as a result of the reaction of sulphuric acid with other chemicals. You can find them in lathering in soaps. When washed off, they contribute negatively to the environment.

2. Triclosan

You can find Triclosan is majorly in deodorant and antibacterial soaps. Though effective against microbes, they can survive for long in the water. Hence when they escape into the environment, they become harmful to both aquatic and wildlife when consumed.

3. Lead

You can find leads in many sticky beauty products like toothpaste and lipsticks. They are heavy metals that take time to degrade. They are harmful to the environment.

4. Polyethene Glycol (PEG)

This is a plastic product found most times in face cleansers, toothpaste, and bathing soap. When animals consume them, it could lead to their death.

5. BHA and BHT

You can find BHA and BHT in make-ups. They are very toxic when consumed by some animals, mostly amphibians. And this is because they may manipulate genes in them.

6. Oxybenzone

This is a toxic chemical that in many sunscreens products. This chemical is highly contagious when washed into the marine environment.

How Beauty Products Are Affecting the Natural Environment?

Beauty products add a whole lot to environmental degradation during and after their use. Some of the ways it occurs include


The demand for a beauty product that has some natural ingredients has led to more significant deforestation. Of course, we know that deforestation is harmful to biodiversity conservation and could cause flooding, especially in rural areas.

Concerns for Aquatic and Wildlife

When non-degradable polyethylene ingredients and toxic chemicals go down the drain, they end up being consumed by aquatic and wildlife. This has proven to be very dangerous for animals. This is because it can lead to death, and when eaten by humans, it can cause cancer.

Climate Change

The effect of beauty products on the environment does not stop when animals consume non-degradable and toxic chemicals. Often, when evaporation occurs, this contaminated water is further taken up. In turn, this can also damage the earth’s atmospheric conditions.

In Conclusion

Beauty products, no doubt, comprise of various chemicals. Unfortunately, most of them are toxic and do not even get destroyed in water. However, one thing appears to be sure; you cannot abstain from beauty products.

Hence, while the struggle and sensitization to preserve the environment is still ongoing, you can do better with your choices. So, when buying another beauty product, embrace the more eco-friendly brands and contribute your quota to the environment.

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.