9 MAJOR Problems with the Beauty Industry
The beauty industry shapes girls, boys, men and women around the world. From putting make-up on Barbie at a young age to picking out the blush you want to wear at your wedding, the beauty industry is in every stage of life. Growing up with the beauty industry can be rewarding and frightening. There are a plethora of problems with the beauty industry from products to its impact on mental health. Learning how to navigate around the problems with the beauty industry and tackle them head on is something beauty gurus must do to keep themselves safe and see change.
- There are problems in the beauty industry ranging from representation to idealization and lack of regulation.
- The beauty industry still has problems, but we've come a long way and we can continue to make change.
1. Lack of Regulation
Lack of regulation is the culprit of many of the problems with the beauty industry, especially in the United States. According to the FDA, “The law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market.”
Now that is a major red flag! None of the ingredients in our cosmetic beauty products are regulated. Check out the next 3 major problems with the beauty industry to learn more about how lack of regulation impacts us everyday.
Greenwashing occurs when a company spends more money marketing their brand and products as environmentally friendly and safe rather than spending money to *actually* make their brand and products meet these qualifications. I wish I could say did not happen in the beauty industry, but I’d be lying.
There are a lot of loopholes in the beauty industry. Organic and natural products lack regulation with no clear definition or standard. In fact, many products listed as organic and natural would not meet the average consumer’s standard. Only 1% of a product's ingredient composition has to be organic in order to be listed as organic. This means the other 99% of the ingredients could be filled with problematic pesticides and more. That is crazy!
Consumers have high standards beyond ingredients in the product too. An environmentally friendly supply chain is extremely important as well. This involves environmentally safe packaging, land preservation, sustainable farming, and animal treatment.
So what can you do? Research is your best friend. You can read up on companies' certifications, ingredients in their products, and their practices. Some safe certifications you can look for are Fair Trade and EWG (Environmental Working Group). Paula’s Choice is a great resource for ingredient information. We LOVE Paula’s Choice here!
3. Chemical Catastrophe
Chemical ridden products, vague ingredient labels, and hidden chemicals are three of the major problems with the beauty industry. All these problems stem from one major source: lack of regulation.
Lack of regulation enables companies to put unsafe chemicals in products and vaguely label chemicals as “fragrances”. Substitutes for known unsafe products have the potential to be just as harmful, which is why doing your homework is so important. A study by EWG indicated a woman applies over 150 to her body a day. Now that is something quite alarming because our skin soaks up every. single. one.
4. Marketing Myths
Bloggers, TikTok, beauty magazines, influencers, and companies are all responsible for marketing myths in the industry. And trust me, there are a lot of them. Unless you have a medical background or are extremely knowledgeable in beauty and health, the myths are hard to debunk on your own.
Supplements for weight loss, adding collagen to every product, and natural products being better than non-natural are examples of marketing claims that have no scientific evidence to support them.
Other marketing myths through labeling and chit chat exist such as hypoallergenic being better for sensitive skin. This is because a hypoallergenic product may not actually be hypoallergenic (thanks again to the lack of regulation in the industry!). It could still be filled with harmful ingredients that can trigger sensitivity flare ups. We would never suspect it because of the term hypoallergenic slapped on the label.
As previously mentioned, research is your best friend to help you navigate the beauty industry and debunk these marketing myths.
5. Difficult Access to Beauty Education
I have mentioned a lot in this article about doing your homework, but I’ll admit, it is easier said than done. Learning about the ingredients in your products is quite the hassle. It involves deep dives on google and lots of clicking to find trustworthy sources.
And why do we have to go to all these lengths to ensure we are using safe products? Thank goodness Paula’s Choice has our backs but honestly, the beauty industry needs to do better. Education and transparency should be a legitimized core value for companies. Consumers should not be left in the dust. We have the right to know and learn about the ingredients in our products with ease.
6. Idealized Beauty and Poor Mental Health
Social media, beauty stores, and magazines showcase unrealistic images of beauty in their advertising and marketing efforts. Professional photoshoots and editing portray beauty as flawless, airbrushed skin with no blemishes or scars. Thick lips, thick lashes and thick eyebrows. Voluminous shiny hair. I could go on and on.
A recent Ukranian study analyzed the modern-day feminine beauty ideal, mental Health, and jungian archetypes'. The study indicated that “exposure to visual media depicting idealized faces and bodies causes a negative or distorted self-image”. Repeated exposure to unrealistic beauty standards are associated with mental health disorders such as body dysmorphia, social anxiety, low self-esteem, psychological stress, eating disorders and more.
7. Revolving Body Expectations
It feels like there are new diets and new workouts to partake in every year in order to maintain revolving body expectations. One year society says you need thick thighs and a big butt, the next society says you need to be stick thin. Working to maintain these expectations is draining and potentially dangerous to our nutrition and mental health.
Being healthy is beautiful and many women correlate health and beauty with a number on a scale, not what actually makes us healthy. Writer, speaker, and strength trainer Chrissy King wrote a poetic Instagram caption capturing the contorted body image expectations women face today.
“We started correlating ‘health’ with the size of our bodies, how much body fat we carry, how much weight we can lift, the number on the scale, how many calories we consumed, how thin we could get and on and on and on. In my mind, those things have nothing to do with ‘health’ and when I talked about progress with my clients, none of those things are the metrics we used.” - Chrissy King
Society and the beauty industry must do better. Stereotypical body expectations and one body type in marketing efforts must be wrangled in. As mentioned under idealized beauty, unrealistic body expectations and pressures can lead to serious mental health disorders and negatively impact nutrition.
Combating body expectations and one type marketing efforts works towards combating mental health and nutrition issues. Every woman, regardless of her body, deserves to be shown off and celebrated.
8. Only The Start of Diversity and Inclusion
2017 was a turning point in the beauty industry for diversity and inclusion. Rihanna’s brand Fenty spearheaded change, creating the largest, most diverse, and most inclusive line of foundation. Shea Moisture has also been a huge player in meeting hair care needs.
It could be argued that Fenty’s line started a snowball effect of change in the beauty industry. However, it is still only the start. Beauty editors and individuals know there are still strides to be made for the beauty industry. As Siraad, a social content manager at Flamingo states, “At the end of the day, I want us brown women to have just as many product options and representation as our white counterparts.”
Siraad is right and her statement is powerful. Black beauty matters. Luckily, companies like Fenty and Shea Moisture began tackling the uphill battle. Even better, there is a rise of black-owned beauty businesses. Big brands have also begun expanding their product lines and marketing efforts. The beauty industry has taken a turn in the right direction but they have not yet reached their final destination.
9. High Dollar Pressures
Influencers have taken the beauty industry to the next level, creating their own product lines and showcasing the best luxury products in the market. Their everyday makeup and beauty routines are packed with mid-to high priced products too.
Jeffree Star recently did a review of the $68 Gucci foundation. His own makeup palettes start at a price of $28 and go beyond a price of $50. These numbers are a bit alarming for a large audience like his. And Jeffree Star is not alone. The top beauty influencers all use and create high dollar products!
The high dollar products are unrealistic for everyone, but pressures to obtain these products are overwhelming at times. It does not matter whether you buy Anastasia or E.L.F, so people should not be concerned about which products they use.
The beauty community, especially influencers, should be more aware of promoting every great product in the industry, not just luxury.
Fostering a safe environment for young women to grow up in is crucial. And overall, the beauty industry has a lot of work to do. It is nowhere near perfect, but the industry is taking steps in the right direction. Addressing safe products and promoting a diverse, inclusive space is at the top of their priority list.
The efforts being made can be shown through more transparency and diverse, inclusive advertising. We are proud of the steps being taken and cannot wait to see how the beauty industry will continue to grow.
Written by Lauren Conklin