College media chips away at big beauty

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Skin care, Cosmetics

College media chips away at big beauty
Across the country, journalists at hyper-local campus news outlets report on issues of wellness, industry regulations, green washing, sustainability, and more –all the while pointing a finger at both the FDA and large cosmetics corporations.

Recent articles circulating on university and college websites encourage consumers to follow the recommendations of ingredient-tracking apps rather than trust legacy brands with their skin care and beauty needs.

Artisanal media

Younger shoppers today do not have the same trust in name brands that consumers once did. Lucie Greene, worldwide director of JWT Intelligence, calls it the “next generation of conscious consumer.” ​These shoppers question the motivations and ethics of big beauty, according to Cosmetics Design​. And more often than not, they are getting news and beauty tips from small-batch, personalized sources like the campus newspaper or the naturals boutique owner down the block.

This month alone, for instance, the State University of New York College at Brockport and Scripps College in Claremont, California, both ran items calling attention to so called ingredients of concern in personal care and cosmetics products.

“Studies have shown that people who wear makeup daily absorb roughly 5 pounds of chemicals a year into their bodies,” ​write Natalie Camrud and Diva Gattani of Scripps, adding that “most of the time they don’t know exactly what they’re absorbing.”

While on the opposite coast, Morgan Bulman, lifestyles editor of The Stylus in Brockport New York, writes, “I’d like to expose a new chemical known simply as ‘fragrance,’ an unknown ingredient that's currently flying under the radar.”

Recommended apps

These articles illustrate a popular consumer mentality, and both items advise readers to use apps to identify safe, ethical products.

In her article, titled ‘Cosmetic and skin care industries “greenwash” ingredients,’ Bulman directs readers to use the Skin Deep app from product safety advocacy organization EWG. She runs through a list of products from brands like Cover Girl, Neutrogena, Dove, and Kiss My Face that the EWG rates poorly and makes it clear that this is an issue relevant to both women and men.  

Gattani similarly points readers to an app: “I use an app called ‘Think Dirty,’ ​she writes. “It’s free and it allows you to scan the barcode of a product and see the ingredients (with explanations as to exactly what they are) and get an overall rating of its risk.”

Influencer status

College media reaches consumers at a pivotal stage. And these sorts of articles are not only encouraging consumers to focus on wellness and beauty simultaneously but are also likely shaping consumer purchasing behavior for years to come.

Gattani concludes her piece ‘Sustainability and beauty products’ by listing brands that she sees as safer alternatives. “Some brands with natural or organic products include Josie Maran, Bite Beauty, Physicians Formula, Aster & Bay, Origins and many more,” ​and advising readers to “look for organic products or products that are made without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic dyes or fragrances.”

Burman is more direct, urging readers away from multinational corporations: “If you agree that carcinogens in eyeliner and mascara is uncool, download “Skin Deep” and join the movement by participating in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics as it attempts to take down companies like Unilever, L’Oreal and Revlon.”

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