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August 3 2018

Young Consumers Fall for the Fallacy of “Natural” Beauty Products

by Betsy Pearson

According to a Harris Poll survey, “73% of millennial women seek out cleaner, all-natural products.” Green buying habits are quickly shaping sales, which will likely result making beauty and skin-care products more expensive. It might even make make your usual products harder to find.

Would millennials still support this market shift if they knew they’d have to deal with scarcity and higher prices?

In some cases, younger consumers are reacting to the tactics employed by the green movement, which uses fear to push consumers into buying products with “natural” ingredients. Yet, “natural” is not defined by the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees the production and marketing of cosmetic products. Therefore, “natural” can really mean anything, or more precisely, it can mean nothing at all.

Millennial Magazine reported that when choosing beauty products, young consumers “… are much more likely to choose a brand that offers sustainability. Thus, millennials look for ingredients that are not harmful to their health and do not pollute the environment.” This might explain why young consumers are drawn towards beauty products that are offered in reusable containers. However, as environmental scientist Dr. Mahdi Mason explains, sometimes it might be better to still use single-use items because eco-friendly products often use more resources to manufacture.

Young consumers might also be concerned about what activists call “harmful chemicals” in the products, yet they should know that these “harmful chemicals” often protect them from what can really harm their skin and eyes: bacteria. For instance, anti-chemical, green activists often sound the alarm about a chemical called parabens. But what they don’t mention is that parabens are used in cosmetics and face creams as a preservative to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Which raises another question beyond price and scarcity: Do millennials want to cover their skin with a product contaminated with bacteria? Probably not!

IIndependent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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