Sunday, February 04, 2007

Saving The World With Beauty Products?

Fair warning: I'm in a nit-picky kind of mood right now and I'm feeling the need to rant over every little thing. Gotta love that time of the month!

Global warming is finally being considered real by the scientific world, and there is a glimmer of hope that man-made pollution will be curbed in an effort to slow the rapid destruction of the earth. When considering ways you can help the environment, you might think about carpooling, buying a hybrid car, replacing your light bulbs or any number of things.

Well, thanks to the marketing gurus at some major cosmetics companies, you can also consider buying eco-friendly makeup. Yup, you heard it here! According to Sephora, you can save the world with these products:
  • Lavanila Laboratories Fragrance , available in Grapefruit, Vanilla Blossom or Pure Vanilla ($56). According to the manufacturer, not only do these products smell good, they're also good for you. These perfumes are made from all natural ingredients that supposedly heal skin and protect it from harsh toxins and pollutants. How, exactly, this is supposed to help the planet is a mystery to me. I never knew that by spraying on a scent I would be saving the environment. Somehow I think Lavanila's advertising department is a little full of it, but hey. What do I know?
  • Stella McCartney's CARE skin care line , including cleansing milk, moisturizing fluid, and nourishing elixir to name a few, ranging in price from $35 to $76. Stella, the fashion designer and Beatle scion, has created luxury certified organic skincare products that contain only the best in organic and natural ingredients. The brand claims you can pamper yourself while caring for the environment, just by using their luxury-priced products. Hmm...really? I can simultaneously enjoy giving myself an at-home facial while protecting threatened species and restoring the O-Zone layer? about multi-tasking.
  • Cargo PlantLove Botanical Lipstick, $20. This is the all-in-one eco-friendly beauty product! The ultimate in trendy! Not only is the lipstick made from natural, organic, botanicals, but the tubing is made of an earth-friendly corn-based polymer, and the paper box it comes in has been infused with wildflower seeds. Yup! You can throw the box into a little bit of soil and it will spout flowers (sounds like a Chia pet!). If all that doesn't make you want to run out a buy a tube or three, then consider this: five of the PlantLove lipstick shades were created by celebrities (Evangeline Lilly, Sarah Chalke, and Lindsay Lohan, to name a few. The Lohan shade must be, what, at least 80 proof?) While this brand does highlight some beneficial new packaging materials, it still seems a little silly to me to think that by buying a lipstick we're saving the world.
Bottom line: While these companies (hopefully) have the best of intentions, it sounds to me like they are using "eco-friendly" and "go green" as slogans to boost sales and that their only interest is in milking any money that can possibly be made out of our desire to fix the environmental problems we've created. I hope people won't be fooled into thinking that if they buy an self-proclaimed eco-friendly perfume, they're tackling serious climate crisis issues . We can't be that stupid.

Maybe companies should focus less on marketing and more on implementing green business practices. Do any of these three companies have environmentally friendly production facilities? Do they make recycling and energy conservation a top priority? Or are they just hoping to make some green for themselves?

I know we all want to think that doing something good is as easy as buying organic products, but there is much greater work to be done, and believing a perfume can reverse the effects of greenhouse gases is crazy.

Ok, rant over. I promise!


Serendipity said...

oh honey!!!

first, i join you in the realm of bitchyness...

second....i agree that there are bigger things companies could be doing to save the environment, such as the examples you listed.

thirdly, however, if consumers are going to purchase beauty products (and they will) why not have the option to buy something that is more eco-friendly? If there are two products and they both cause as much damage making them, but one cause more damage to use it then the other one, why not use the other one? If im going to buy it anyway, why not buy the one that hurts LESS.

Because really, all we can do now is pick the lesser of two evils. thank you george bush.

Lydia said...

Sorry, sara--i am in bitch mode! My big problem with this is that these companies are patting themselves on the back for doing basically nothing. and to top it off they're marketing the hell out of their pseudo-enviro products. They're just selling a flaming pile of shit and saying that they're doing good. We should know better, but they're the ones simplifying the matter. Ugh. I don't want to think about it anymore!!it's giving me wrinkles!!

Lydia said... more thing...there's a great article in this month's Bitch about the trendiness of philanthropy. It's worth a read. :)

Serendipity said...

I will have to pick it up.....thanks!

Anonymous said...

Wow...I can understand the skeptics, but to be outright judgmental without doing research is such a shame...I'll tell you how natural products (including natural fragrances) are better for the environment: they are biodegradable....Synthetics (like synthetic musks) are being found in the environment, and accumulating in our animals...YES...they are everywhere because they don't break down like naturals...And, if they use anything organic, it's one less source of pesticides and herbacides going into our water sources and earth...So, while it's a small step for these companies to go more natural, it's definitely a step in the right direction for the environment...I don't think any of these companies claim to save the environment, that should be the job our our president...and since he isn't doing &*^#$ about it, we should applaud ANYONE who has the good sense to do a little something in the right direction. Sorry no google account, so i posted anonymously.

Lydia said...

I agree...using organic products is a step. and as you said, a small one. i'll say it again: my biggest problem is with the marketing of these products. Info about these products was sent to me in an email from Sephora touting new "green" cosmetics, and their implication was that buying these products is a way to "do your part" for the environment. What really bothers me is that marketing like this allows busy consumers to think that all you need to do is buy perfume to help stop global warming. If you market these items differently, by touting the benefits of natural vs artifical ingredients, then I wouldn't have had my little rant. That's all there is to it.

Anonymous said...

It's sad to see people NOT applauding very obvious efforts to improve both what goes on the skin AND in the environment. Just think...if every major company did something small (for marketing purposes or not)...then the world would be a much "better" place. Is paying a celebrity 10 million dollars for marketing purposes a better use of money? I think not...