The Makeover, part 1

Makeovers are a popular theme in today’s society, where a person is turned into a (hopefully) better version of themselves.  I’m going to propose a new twist on the makeover, using The Better World Shopping Guide as a guide.  Why?  Because beauty and health products are the things that everyone uses, every day.  These are the products that we cannot live without.  We are incredibly conscious, as a culture, of how we look and these products are therefore the ones that we are most vulnerable to advertisements.  We see pictures of people with perfectly clear skin, sparkly white teeth, perfectly straight or curly hair.  We see these people looking happy, appearing to have great friends and great relationships, and our own insecurities say to us “I want to be like that!”  So we go to the store and buy them.

What we don’t think about, however, are the following things:

1. Were these products tested on animals?  You know, those adorable kittens and bunnies asking if they can haz cheesburger that you post pictures of on Facebook all the time?  Make sure that your beauty products aren’t abusing them.

2. What is the impact of these products on your body?  How are the ingredients in these products affecting you?  For example, aluminum (a common ingredient in deodorant) has been shown in some studies to increase the risk of breast cancer.  Many ingredients in acne medications dry out the skin excessively.

3. What is the impact of these products on the environment? When use any sort of product that is rinsed or washed off, it goes down the drain with a lot of water, into the community water supply.  Some of this water goes into local reservoirs, where it is filtered and comes back to you in tap water.  Some of it is drained into local rivers and other bodies of water.  Just imagine your makeup residue being dumped into the water of your favorite river or ocean.  What kind of packaging do your products come in?  Are they recyclable?

4. Do the corporations who make your products pay lobbyists to look after their interests on Capitol Hill?  How discouraging would that be if your choices in shampoo and other products resulted in political policies other than the ones you actually voted for? (See my earlier post on purchasing power)

Many things to think about.  I’ll try and split this post into several, more manageable ones. Stay tuned for part 2, where I use The Better World Shopping Guide to recommend new products and let you know which products aren’t so great for you or the world.

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