09.30.12 Beauty

Shopaholic Stories: How I Made My Obsession With Beauty Products More Eco Friendly

Shopaholic Stories: How I Made My Obsession With Beauty Products More Eco Friendly

BY Anna Cox

I have a hobby, an obsession, an addiction. When I’m feeling happy, I want it. When I’m feeling sad, I want it. I always want it. Now in college, I’ve gotten really into this pastime, and I don’t know if I will ever go back to how I was before it all began.

While in college, many young people pick up vices such as smoking, drinking, drugs, coffee, music piracy, what have you. During this time of self-discovery and experimentation, I found a different vice. I have made a habit of going to drug stores and loading up on innumerable shades of nail polish and lipstick. While this practice is seemingly harmless at first, I discovered that there are consequences to my actions. Less is definitely not more when it comes to my variety of colors of nail polishes and lipsticks. There are consequences to every action I take, but I never thought that buying myself a little lipstick while I grocery shopped would have negative repercussions. When I picked up a bottle from the latest Essie seasonal collection, I thought I was simply treating myself to an inexpensive luxury, but after further examination, my innocent collection was becoming harmful.

This may be a little dramatic, but as I get further into my beauty product addiction, I realize, that while my collection is becoming quite impressive, my habit is quickly depleting the balance in my already slim college-student bank account. I was buying a new lipstick or nail polish every time I went to the store, and those pocket-sized treats add up very quickly. While there are worst things I could be spending my money on, there are certainly better things that I could be investing in. If I feel like I can spare the five dollars a week I spend on beauty products, why then, when it comes to donating money to charity, I suddenly get extremely prudent with my money?

My addiction is costing me money and keeping me from philanthropic action, but it is also increasing the size of my carbon footprint and possibly harming my body. Nail polishes and lipsticks contain things like artificial dyes, sulfates, petroleum, carcinogens, formaldehyde, and other toxins that are harmful to the consumer, as well as the environment. Who knew that an innocent and fun purchase could be so detrimental to so many things? While it was easier for me to turn a bind eye and continue using my five-dollar beauty products, I started to feel like the fate of our future world was laying on my bathroom counter. I did some research and found some really great eco-friendly and all-natural beauty products that promise high color pigmentation, a variety of color choices, and quality products. My ethical dilemma is solved, right? I can continue my beauty product binge, feeling guilt-free about my purchases while still looking great! It’s a win for me, and better yet, a win for the world.

As it turns out, doing the right thing is hardly ever that simple. The problem is, a bottle of eco-friendly nail polish ranges anywhere from twelve to sixteen dollars and a tube of eco-friendly lipstick will cost you twenty dollars or more. Not only do these products cost at least double what the conventional equivalents cost, but it is much more difficult to get to the specialty stores to buy these wonderful products that are better for your skin and the environment. As a college student, I like things to be as quick, easy, and painless as possible. Running to the corner drugstore or grocery when I want to try out a new color on my nails or lips is just that—quick, easy, and painless. Maneuvering through rush-hour traffic to a crowded mall or specialty store is the exact opposite of my college life mantra.

This seemingly harmless vice I acquired, is not as harmless as I once thought. And while eco-friendly beauty products are harder to come by, and break the bank a bit more, perhaps it’s time for me to be a little more selective with my color choices. Who needs four different hot pink lipsticks, anyways?  Certainly not me, the girl who saves her lip color for New Year’s Eve parties or lying around the house, watching Friends re-runs on a rainy Saturday.

Eco-friendly beauty products are becoming more available in stores all over the country. Do a little research to find the best product for you and where you can pick up that product and be on your way to making your beauty product addiction quicker, easier, and more painless for yourself, your bank account, and the world. So I say: feed your (beauty product) addiction, in the most harmless way possible. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite eco-friendly and charity-minded companies below:

Peacekeeper Cause-Metics is an eco-friendly cosmetic line and is the first cosmetics line to give all of its after-tax, distributable profits to women’s health advocacy and urgent human rights issues.

By purchasing Tarte’s T5 cosmetics, customers will be helping to preserve the Amazon Rainforest through forest conservation, improved living conditions and educational opportunities for communities in Brazil.

Nubar has toxin-free nail polishes that cruelty-free and vegan. This “We Care” collection is perfect for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October!

Lush Cosmetics is a vegan cosmetic company that donates money to a range of environmentally and animal-friendly charities.

What are some of your beauty addictions? Do you try to curb those addictions? Have you found any great beauty products that are eco-friendly or donate to a worthy cause?

Anna Cox is a mug-collecting, dog-loving, fingernail-painting, french-speaking, scarf-wearing television maven.  She believes that she has a special bond with celebrities that share her birthday, just ask her best friends Sheryl Crow and Jennifer Aniston.  Follow her on Twitter @annamcox and at annamcox.tumblr.com


Every week in your inbox!

  • Exclusive notes and videos from Amanda de Cadenet.
  • Early access to our Limited Space Workshops.
  • Amanda’s Favorites and Special Offers shared with you weekly.
  • Exclusive notes and videos from Amanda de Cadenet.
  • Early access to our Limited Space Workshops.
  • Amanda’s Favorites and Special Offers shared with you weekly.
Subscribe Now

to receive our newsletter every Tuesday.

Sign up here for my Weekly Newsletter and Exclusive Updates: