We all aspire to look beautiful. Everyday thousands of men and women are spending millions of dollars on beauty products and cosmetics just to look attractive and beautiful. Due to this, the beauty, personal care and cosmetic businesses have been thriving in the past few years . With celebrities vouching for these products on television and magazines, people are willing to spend any amount of money to look like them.
The demand for cosmetics and beauty products are huge, even in the developing countries like India and China. Cosmetics like mascara, lipstick, blusher, eyeliner are some of the must-haves of every woman nowadays. It is not about the cosmetics alone. Consumers are flocking the shops for expensive hair and skin care products that claim to make one look beautiful “naturally”. Face washes, skin cleansers, scrubs, masks, shampoos and expensive body washes are just a few of a huge array of beauty products which promise you healthy beautiful and glowing skin and hair.
It is okay if you want to take care of yourself and look beautiful. But have you stopped and thought about the damage it is doing to our environment and ecosystem? Some of the ingredients that make up these fancy and expensive products are usually obtained from rare species of animals and plants. These extracts benefit our skin greatly and as a result are always in huge demand. As more and more ingredients are extracted from herbs, trees and animal skins the more it leads to rapid ecological unbalance. The lives of many plants and animals are sacrificed to obtain these rare ingredients. Unlawful trading has become a rising crisis for many countries. Forests are being cleared up to meet the increasing consumer demands. Many companies are resorting to illegal activities to have their way. The situation is indeed shocking and alarming. Let us look at some rare ingredients that are being extracted at the cost of ruining our ecosystem.
- Essential oils are some of the chief components of beauty products, especially in shampoos, face masks, gels and creams. They are sometimes sold separately in bottles to be put in bath water. But most of these oils are extracted from rare tropical plants and herbs. Argon, rosewood, orchid, jatamansi, sandalwood are some common oils that fall in this category.
- Placenta, animal fat, fish scales are a few items that beauty products sometimes contain. Alpha-hydroxyl acids, glycolic acid, benzoic acid, ambergris, beta carotene, elastin, keratin, lactic acid make up a handful of the hundreds of items that are derived from animals and even humans sometimes. From horns to skin- it seems that no part of the animal body is being left out.
- Objects like civet (obtained from the anal glands of civet, an African cat) and musk (extracted from the preputial glands of the musk deer) have been used in perfumes for many centuries.
- Ocean has an infinite amount of vegetation and animal life which is being exploited continuously to procure items required in beauty products. Many rare form of sea algae are in danger of extinction due to this.
- New researchers are also using plant stem cells in making hair re-growth and hair re-generation products.
These devastating facts throw light on the cruel practices that are being carried out by companies all for the sake of business. The only solution lies in the hands of the consumers. We as consumers should take a stand again these inhuman practices. Here are a few steps that we, as consumers should take to bring an end to these activities-
- Buy products only after thoroughly reading all the ingredients. Stay away from the products whose manufactures refuse to disclose the ingredients.
- Research online- don’t just rely on intuition. Gather hard facts from the internet. Internet is a store house of information that we can put to use in this situation. Look for products which are made from sustainable natural ingredients. Read up on the company- especially on what they are doing to replenish the lost resources they are sourcing from forests and oceans. Stay away from companies who do nothing but make money at the cost of plant and animal life.
- Make your own beauty products. This is an innovative and creative method of saving the environment that saves you a lot of money as well. Instead of spending loads of money on beauty products that don’t do much for your skin, make your own home-made packs and creams. Go to a local market and stock up on natural and easily available ingredients. Use them in the kitchen to cook as well as to apply on skin and hair. Not only that, you can even make your own cosmetics at home.
Commonly available fruits and vegetables are great for the skin. Items like lemon, honey, turmeric, Aloe Vera, tomato, cucumber can easily be obtained from plants without any damage to the environment and ecosystem. These can be combined to produce toners, cleansers, moisturisers and face masks just sitting at home. And the best thing is that they are highly effective in giving you a flawless glowing skin without the use of chemicals and preservatives.
Arrowroot powder makes for a good foundation for the skin whereas beeswax can be used to make home-made lip balms. These simple home-made recipes are quick and easy on the pocket. You can make them in your free time and store them for many days. Think creative from now on. Remember, the lives of these animals and plants lie in your hands now.