As a blogger, I have been battling with ethical consumption. I have been out of school for awhile, but under capitalism, a system that props up the rich and is reliant on individualism, really shows in the beauty industry. I have been taking a hard look at my collection and I have been trying to figure out how to balance my consumption with my personal taste in makeup and my personal want to buy ethically or at least attempt to buy from brands that have inclusive shade ranges in all aspects, highlighter, concealer, bronzer, blush, and what I’m attracted to as a consumer.
My main beef right now is that continually we are seeing former employees from brands citing toxic work environments in brands (Glossier) that purport being different, and making you feel empowered while not empowering their employees. If you read outoftheglosse’s letter you will see the details. They also have clear action points so let’s hope we see the change.
As a consumer, if I didn’t know or keep up with the beauty industry I wouldn’t even know about Glossier until today and would continue buying their product without knowing. I try to think about people like my mom, and my friends, who are not in the beauty news and rely on influences or content creators to either address this, or they don’t follow anyone and are just going to buy what their immediate friend group is going to buy. And that is ok – but I feel that most of my followers are people I know, I wanted to write about this. I am in no way saying that if you buy Glossier you are a bad person, just as if you buy Annabelle (a really accessible brand geographically to Canadians) you are not a bad person. This is all food for thought.
Let’s take NARS for example. This is a brand that many Black creators use, and that Shiseido does own NARS and their proportion of Black Employees is staggeringly low. However, as a blogger, it is a brand that I promote simply because their foundation and concealers ranges are quite inclusive, whereas their bronzer range is abysmal. Then I continue to get people asking what brands I recommend and then buying the more mainstream ones that I recommend versus brands like Range Beauty that I recommend and are inaccessible to Canadians or brands like Cheekbone beauty, that are boutique websites.
Another brand that I don’t mind supporting is NYX, because it is an accessible brand to Canadians, they were one of the few brands that actually released photos of their executive team and NYX did. It also concerns me because who is physically making these products? That is another thing I have been thinking about is what are the ethics of these labs who are employing people to formulate and make products. Is the mica being mined by children? Are the workers paid above a living wage? More and more, as I personally become more financially stable I think about these things and how I can feasibly afford to support brands that have “ethical” and “transparent” supply chains. Quite honestly, the only brand I have seen a factory tour in is Colourpop. Then there is the aspect of ethical brands only making shades for white people and having a 50 shades of beige situation. I also don’t know if I will repurchase the Glossier products I know and love, despite them being my perfect makeup style.
I’d like to know the labour conditions where Lancome products are made, what about Fenty? What about Wet n wild? These are the questions people! I am also not saying if you buy these brands you are a bad person, because at the end of the day all Brands are corporations designed to make a profit and don’t really care about consumers. However, as a blogger and as someone who keeps up with beauty news, I felt the need to share.
Anyway, I’m not entirely sure the point of this post, but these are my current thoughts in light of more retail employees coming together and revealing things about their company (looking at you Glossier). Let me know your thoughts.