The Cost of Beauty

By: Yasmeen Talaat, Jenna Reppas, Avril Rincon, Emily St. Denis, Sophia Yu

The Cost of Beauty exposes the evils of the cosmetic industry; learn the methods by which beauty standards enforce the usage of cosmetics and put communities at risk to what’s lurking behind their product labels.

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We are The Undercover Beauty Gurus, an investigative journalist team dedicated to exposing the nuanced and complicated issue of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in beauty products and their connection to beauty trends.

Our issue necessitates an interdisciplinary analysis. From a biological lens, the increasing omnipresence of EDCs in cosmetics compels us to inform consumers of the biological havoc that EDCs in their everyday products may wreak on the delicate hormonal balances of the human body. From a social lens, it has become clear that beauty trends – often lined with a racist undertone that puts pressure on marginalized communities – have facilitated major disparities in the usage of these toxic products. As professionals from both scientific and social facets of the cosmetic industry, we aim to provide a holistic and well-rounded perspective by combining our expertise to explore where these issues intersect. In our Listen tab, you can read outside perspectives to better contextualize this issue as well. Our goals are to educate and spread awareness regarding the biological risks of utilizing cosmetic products with EDCs, as well as the social trends that contribute to the increased usage of toxic products in marginalized communities, particularly for women of color. It is important for consumers to be aware of both (1) the health risks of EDCs in cosmetics and (2) how beauty trends have encouraged their usage, in order to make informed decisions about their products, their health, and wellbeing. We aim to ultimately reduce the pressure for women to purchase potentially harmful products, as well as aid them in making informed decisions about the cosmetics they do choose to purchase. We also hope that consumers feel empowered to learn more about this issue, and choose to participate in external campaigns for EDC regulation and increased inclusivity within the cosmetic industry.

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