The Makeup Industry: Destroying Confidence for a Profit

Maya Colchamiro, Staff Writer

Hundreds of products entrapped in glass lie within the colossal makeup section. Whether shopping in your local drug store, a super-store like Target, or a large makeup store, there is an extreme abundance of makeup items. The makeup industry “giants” continue to market themselves to children younger and younger. Makeup can significantly impact self-esteem, especially when it is advertised to a young teen or child. The makeup industry also has a darker side: many companies have a history of violently testing on animals or using child labor to produce makeup items.

The media and makeup industry work together to play with their consumers’ insecurities. The medias consistently portray photoshopped and edited models/celebrities. This leads younger teens to
become uncertain about their appearance. The makeup industry further reinforces this lack of confidence by marketing products to help “fix” one’s appearance, instead of enhancing natural beauty. Mintel explains that “confidence is a major driver behind beauty and personal care product usage.” Makeup companies profit off of insecurities. Freshman Valerie Garcia says, “The makeup industry definitely impacts self-esteem. Everyone has a different face shape, bone structure, skin color, etc.

Certain brands do not produce makeup for specific people which can heavily affect an individual’s view of themselves. Additionally, certain people look better or worse with different make-up
brands/looks on, leaving someone to question why that makeup product does not look the same on them.” The same article from Mintel explains shocking statistics, “More than half of US 12-14
year old’s use mascara (54 percent), as well as eye shadow, eye liner and eyebrow pencils (54 percent)” This sizable percentage is recent; makeup companies have discovered the power of
marketing their products to kids.

Kids discovering makeup has produced a struggle for parents. Their children are exposed to so much, and parents have to find ways to adapt. Sophomore Bella Pearson says, “I think parents
should inform their children about makeup and encourage them to see it as a way to show their personality and creativity, rather than a coverup for flaws. It can help younger teens express
themselves and feel good about who they are.” This strategy can reduce the insecurities surrounding makeup and help kids understand that makeup can be more than a way to conceal

The makeup industry can often be extremely unethical when producing products. Refinery 29 explains, “Mica linked to child labor is littered throughout the cosmetics industry — taking up
residency in everything from high-end eyeshadows palettes to drugstore lipsticks. Listed as ‘mica,’ ‘potassium aluminum silicate,’ and ‘CI 77019,’ on ingredient lists, it is what gives body lotion or
eye cream a light glow, makes toothpaste look extra bright, or provides BB cream with a subtle radiance.” Children are put in dangerous situations just for makeup companies to produce
excessive amounts of products. Having a wide range of shades to match everyone’s skin tone is immensely important, but having 10-11 brands all producing exceedingly similar products is
simply exorbitant.

Another topic on the moral side is the issue of animal testing. While animal testing can be necessary in order to test a product and ensure safety, animal testing in the makeup industry can
be excessively violent. These harsh methods are especially awful because makeup is not an essential product. Medicines and other drugs can be life- changing, and while animal testing is
never warranted, at least medicine is for the good of the human race. Many also do not know how to look for animal testing in products. “Greenwashing” can trick consumers into believing that
companies are “clean,” meaning they do not produce excessive harm to the environment or animals. Pearson says, “I definitely investigate animal testing when looking at new brands and
products. More brands are stopping animal testing, which is great, but it is a good idea to double check when using a new brand!”

Another debate is the discussion of whether or not makeup is a form of art. Similar to graffiti, many argue that makeup should not be considered art. Many argue that makeup is not an
art because it is “too simple.” Senior Skylar Kang refutes this argument and says, “I think that makeup is a form of art because there are makeup artists who express human feelings or an artist’s
message to our society through makeup.” Junior Anisa Maggiore agrees and explains, “I consider makeup to be a form of art because it is a form of creativity and expression. The ability to paint
and shape optical illusions on your skin is wonderful!” While the original intention of makeup might have been to enhance natural beauty, the industry is growing. Creativity is flowing, and
people use this to change their lives. Makeup has become a form of expression, and it can be a good way for people to display feelings and emotions.

Ultimately, the makeup industry is extremely flawed, but kids, teens, and parents can learn to adapt. The unethical practices that lead to the makeup products we see on the shelf need to stop.
The consumerist society we live in rewards this limitless selection of products, and this most likely is not ending any time soon. The most important thing to do when purchasing makeup is to research and truthfully care about the intentions behind products.