In recent years, after growing up as a tomboy who refused to wear pink or let anybody touch my hair (which, I mean, is still fairly accurate), I have transitioned into appreciating the world of beauty.
“Appreciating” might be a stretch. I must say, the industry certainly knows how to suck customers in. With constant releases of new products, all claiming to be the next best thing, it’s overwhelming trying to keep up and feel like you’re still in the loop, still relevant with whatever is trending.
Trust me, I’ve tried. While people may have drugstore or high-end preferences, I immediately gravitated toward Sephora as my go-to for anything makeup and, later, skincare. When you get interested in beauty based on internet influencers, their hauls, favorites, and recommendations are enough to entice you to see what the hype is about. No wonder they have become such a profitably means of advertising for the beauty industry. If you’ve ever looked up YouTube videos of people showing off the PR packages they receive in the mail from companies, it has become almost gaudy the lengths people go to when promoting products.
But hey, for the most part, it works. Kudos to them for that. I don’t know if I’ve ever necessarily seen a Sephora that isn’t at least a tad busy. Which, for someone who doesn’t know, might be an iffy thing. Have you seen the prices in that place? Do you know how much money you can spend on such few ounces of product? Besides printer ink, it has to be some of the most expensive substances out there.
You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. Well, I’ve been a Sephora fanatic for years. I refused to buy products anywhere else. I coveted the hyped-up brands and products that are everybody’s “holy grails.” My wishlists have always consisted of the pricey products I didn’t want to think about paying for myself, as selfish as that sounds.
As I’ve been on more of a buying hiatus when it comes to beauty products, as well as informing myself on the ingredients and industry itself, and I have come to the conclusion that getting off the Sephora bandwagon is my best option. I’ll give up my VIB status for a little more hunting and digging for other face products.
Here’s my reasoning: first off, yes, Sephora is expensive. The cheapest products there are still easily over ten dollars. At first, I assumed this meant that I was paying for a higher quality ingredients to put on my face, but that isn’t necessarily the case. I’ve talked before about my green beauty and life journey as I transition to entirely natural, cruelty-free, vegan and organic products. Not only are Sephora customers paying for products that support corrupt animal testing, but the ingredients are not even necessarily better than a drugstore option. Regardless of the flashy packaging and incredible claims, unless a company clearly says it’s dedicated to sustainability, you never know what might be lurking in there.
For example, pull up the Sephora website and search for a conventional beauty product. Perhaps something from NARS, Urban Decay, or “all-natural” Tarte. Chances are, very few of the substances in those long lists are very pronounceable, let alone something your skin should be wearing. As the largest organ in your body, what you expose to it should be safe and healthy. Sorry, but I would rather not spend all of my cash on products watered down with enough inorganic chemicals.
Regardless if science proves these substances to be toxic to us in the long-run or not, paying money for them only continues their production. What we might not consider when making a Sephora purchase is what happens to the product once we use it up or throw it away. Hopefully you can see where I’m heading, and that is the landfill. Chemicals that wreak havoc in natural habitats. Plastic packaging stuck in this world for decades upon decades.
Even if Sephora has a section on its website for “natural” products and brands, that is straight-up greenwashing, a term used for companies who use environmentally focused advertising to essentially deceive consumers into paying for their merchandise. A big example, as mentioned earlier, is Tarte. Sure they might have a couple extra feel-good ingredients, but for the most part, it’s no different than a drugstore equivalent. I even see it as worse, manipulation in a bamboo tube.
So what is left that fits into the seemingly narrow niche of nontoxic, healthy, sustainable beauty products? Surprisingly, there is plenty of great small businesses out there taking the extra time to ensure that their natural ingredients are ethically sourced (because yes, even natural ingredients can have issues. Rather than chemicals, it’s making sure people aren’t extracting those substances that can disrupt wildlife and cut down on natural resources for those who need them). While Sephora has a few natural brands available, such rms beauty, Tata Harper, and Ilila, there isn’t enough for me to justify the heftier price tags. Just an Amazon search leads to tons of awesome options for all of your beauty needs. Heck, even a run to Target will lead you to brands like Pacifica, Yes To skincare, and even a natural sect of Physician’s Formula.
For as much as I enjoy not having to worry about putting on makeup and going through a skincare routine when I’m dead tired, using makeup and skincare is practically therapeutic to me. I love feeling put together and knowing that I’m taking care of myself. So I know that when I’m completely switching out my Sephora finds for something new, I can feel good about my efforts. Now not only am I taking care of myself, I’m also taking care of the world around me, one tube of mascara at a time.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie