Did you know that your favorite faux lashes that are cruelty-free and are 'PETA-certified vegan' are also 100% toxic to the planet? It's sad to think about but it's true.
Most faux lashes and lash extensions are composed of polybutylene terephthalate - a non-degradable type of plastic. It's also known as PBT, so if you see a lash company marketing their vegan lashes as 100% natural and premium PBT silk, then you know you've got plastic on your hands...well, on your eyes. Couple the fake lashes with the many harmful ingredients in most conventional mascara products and you've got the perfect body + planet toxic soup.
Now, you may be thinking: well, lashes are so small...it's not a problem if a few of them last around for thousands of years.
But remember, Recent data has revealed that the false eyelash market is now valued at over $1.5 billion and is projected to exceed $2 billion by 2028. That represents millions and millions of individuals who purchase these products, equating to millions of these lashes that will float into our creeks, rivers, and oceans, where they'll be ingested by birds, fish, and other sea creatures. We humans who in turn utilize the earth's water supply and ingest these animals (for those who still consume meat), will then ingest these microplastics into our bodies.
So as you can see, buying even just one pair of these plastic lashes can cause significant damage to our bodies and our ecosystem.
In November, a report released by Beyond Plastics stated that plastics could exceed coal in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 here in the U.S. which would make it surpass coal as the primary culprit for global warming. To make matters worse, the US has even more plastic companies slated to begin operations. As we switch to more climate-friendly modes of transportation such as electric vehicles, the fossil fuel industry has quietly been ramping up the production of plastics to ensure their profits remain bountiful.
While some choose animal hair (often from mink) which is biodegradable, animal agriculture is also a problem because it is the major culprit in the production of methane - a much stronger greenhouse gas than CO2. You could try to find ethically sourced mink lashes but considering that mink are wild animals that are typically housed in tiny filthy cages in order to harvest their fur, I think you'd be searching for a very long time. There is currently no known cage-free mink farm and many of the animals are killed once they grow a full winter coat. Many companies green-wash their products in order to lure consumers to purchase their dirty products.
What are our options?
Consider switching to natural lashes made from hemp fiber
Velour Plant Fibre lashes $24
These are hemp-derived and fully biodegradable. They come in 3 different styles and may be re-worn up to 20 times with proper care. These lashes are a favorite by Lizzo and offer an effortless yet glamorous look for the wearer.
Choose a lash serum to grow your own lashes
Yes, this is most likely never going to give you that va-va-voom effect that faux lashes do, but hey, your lashes will look so beautiful, you might choose to use fake lashes on an occasional, rather than regular basis. Many lash serums can be purchased from a variety of sources but I would recommend The Ordinary multi-peptide Lash & Brow Serum. It doesn't have prostaglandins so it shouldn't have any of the prostaglandin-associated side effects of many conventional lash growth serums. Use this link to earn cashback on your purchase.
What about Lash adhesives?
Formaldehyde - an allergen and carcinogen - is present in all lash extensions because it is a by-product formed during the glue production process. Formaldehyde also forms as the adhesive naturally degrades over time. Although small quantities of formaldehyde in lash glue probably won't kill you, it might cause eye and eyelid irritation, especially if you wear fake lashes every day. And yes, formaldehyde is present in professional lash adhesives which are used for long-wear lash extensions. The best practice is to forgo the routine use of fake lashes and save them for special occasions.
Remember, just because a lash is marketed as vegan, doesn't mean it's sustainable or eco-friendly. Most likely it's made from a plastic that is non-recyclable and non-biodegradable.
Although there are not many options currently available, have no fear. Your wallet makes a difference with each purchase. As we increase the demand for lashes made from truly biodegradable materials, the demand will invariably increase.
Choosing non-toxic and sustainable beauty products helps you stay safe, while also reducing the massive amounts of pollution that the beauty industry inflicts on the planet every day.
Remember, the goal is not perfection, just little changes that will later snowball into big changes. Do the very best that you can, whenever you can, and encourage others to do the same; that's how we make positive changes for our bodies and for our planet.