The beauty industry rakes in over a billion dollar per year. With expendable budgets and promises, these beauty companies spend millions of dollars in advertising as a means to create loyal, life-long customers. With the promise of making you, your best self and give you a forever youthful glow, you start to wonder what the catch is. Every industry has it’s darkside and the beauty industry is no outlier. Humans are visual and social creatures. It makes sense thus that, historically, we have been collectively preoccupied with beauty. Someone’s appearance is the first thing we notice about them upon meeting them. The nature of beauty itself has been the focus of Aesthetics, a major field of study in Western Philosophy, and has occupied the brilliant minds of numerous philosophers, from Plato to the aforementioned Kant.

People have been using makeup and cosmetics since ancient times: the Egyptians’ use of dark eyeliner is present in everyone’s mind through their paintings and deities, while most know that Victorian women often fainted not because of their demureness, but because of the wide-spread use of lead-based creams to “improve complexion” together with constricting girdles.So what is an example of a potentially harmful beauty product you could come into contact with? Well, 1-in-5 products on the market contain traces of formaldehyde, which is known as a human carcinogen. Some signs to be aware of that could contain formaldehyde are that you notice watery eyes, burning of the nose and throat, coughing or skin irritation. This is your sign to stop using these products, immediately. Your body’s telling you it is not feeling great with these products around.

How about the environment? Aerosol sprays where you at?! The wrong answer would be anywhere besides the trash. Just take a moment to think about the last time you went to the store and how many aerosol cans you saw stacked on the shelves. This is not a good thing. Aerosol cans contain hydrocarbons that can contribute to global warming. And don’t think this harm starts and stops with aerosol cans. Fingernail polish, mouthwash, perfumes and roll on deodorants also have the potential to release hydrocarbons into the environment.

Growth in the beauty industry, however, has boomed in recent years, in a trend that many link to a broader generational trend of attention to physical wellbeing (which we covered in our recent article about the growing plant-based market and Beyond Meat). Millennials are often quoted as being the main drivers behind the meteoric growth of the beauty segment. There have been many articles written on this trend, citing everything from the aging of the millennial demographic to a focus on “self-care” as a coping method against a difficult political and economic climate.

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