Cosmetics an unnecessary cost in terms of health, pocketbook


When I look around the K-State campus, I notice some specific things about the women who pass by. Sometimes I notice girls who have on sweat pants, a sweatshirt and a jacket and wear their hair up in a bun or a ponytail. But the striking contrast to this image is that many of them will also have on a full face of makeup.

It concerns me that some women use so much makeup because cosmetics are unnecessary and can be unsafe for consumers. My biggest issue with makeup is its seeming necessity for women. Some women are avid about making sure they wake up early to ensure they apply makeup before going out, like wearing makeup is necessary to leave the house. I disagree with this lifestyle.

My take on makeup is that women should not feel the need to do this. Makeup should be used to enhance natural beauty, not define it. Makeup can help many people who want to cover up scarring or acne issues and feel more comfortable with going out in public, but natural beauty should be priority No. 1 in people’s lives.

People should love themselves exactly how they were born before they decide to try to cover themselves up or enhance themselves through cosmetics.

Cosmetics are also incredibly expensive. In a time when college students work to pay off student loans, rent, food or utilities, it doesn’t seem wise to spend extra money on cosmetics. According to a Huffington Post article from Aug. 9, 2012, L’Oreal topped sales in the 2011 beauty industry with $28.33 billion. That is a lot of money people are spending on cosmetics — money that could be spent making sure bills are paid on time or donating money to the community.

The extra money being spent on cosmetics isn’t the only downfall I see. Cosmetics of all kinds can be incredibly dangerous for people who choose to use the most common and mainstream brands. At the core of it, applying cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners and lotions can equivalent to applying carcinogens to your skin.

Careful research can reveal which products pose the greatest risk. EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, located at, allows users to search for specific products by brand, product name and large categories.

The website breaks down almost all cosmetic products by five main categories: overall hazard, cancerous ingredients, development and reproductive toxicity, allergies and immunotoxicity, and whether or not use of the product or its ingredients is restricted in the U.S., E.U., Japan or Canada. The site also breaks down the most hazardous materials in each product by listing the ingredient, how dangerous it is and the concerns that arise from the use of that product.

While carcinogens seem almost impossible to eliminate from our environment, this is an easy one to get rid of. The more products from the cosmetic industry you wear or consume, the more you put your health at risk.

Cosmetics carry far more risks than benefits. The cost of these products is money that could be spent on higher priorities in college students’ lives. I also feel that the health risks, which come along with many of the products from the industry, far outweigh any positive reinforcement that may come from their use.

People should accept themselves the way they are — no one should feel the compulsive need to cover up at all times. Because there are so many more negatives that exist within the cosmetics industry, I suggest students try to focus on their natural beauty. It is one of the greatest gifts you could be born with — and it is in all of us, no matter who you are.

Jakki Thompson is a sophomore in journalism and mass communications, women’s studies and American ethnic studies. Please send comments to