6 December 2018
Raw Material Life Cycle Analysis of Mascara
Mascara is a cosmetic product used to enhance the appearance of one’s eyelashes. In order to devise a formula that creates the illusion of thicker, darker, and longer eyelashes, ingredients with a specific chemical makeup are used in the process. However, there is often controversy surrounding many of these ingredients due to its harmful effects on not only the consumer, but also the earth. Although there are many cosmetic companies making strides to become more environmentally friendly, there are still many flawed processes that they participate in, which undermined their attempts at being completely successful. Due to the materials that are required in both manufacturing process of the liquid mascara and its packaging, there is a complex mixture of environmentally conscious systems as well as harmful practices used by cosmetic companies that have potential for beneficial effects and adverse consequences on both the consumer and the ecosystem.
Raw Material Acquisition
L’Oréal is an example of a large company taking the health of consumers and the environment into consideration when choosing which ingredients to use in their mascara, but they still have a ways to go in their quest to become a “green” company. This is because of the fact that they are still using ingredients that are proven to cause harm to consumers and the environment, despite their claims of being a safe and sustainable company. The formulation of mascara requires a multitude of ingredients in order to work properly. Although many of the raw ingredients were chemicals, there were also a few non-manmade ingredients used as well. With this being said, L’Oréal claimed that in the year 2017, they would guarantee “the traceability of raw materials, which means knowing the origin of the plant and the country in which it was produced” . However, I did not find any sort of information regarding where these origins could be found on their website or any of their released reports. The most that I found consisted of vague quotes such as, “ingredients can be used pure or combined as in a balm from Mozambique that requires 25 items including: argan oil, coconut oil, evening primrose oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, jojoba seed and oil, rosehip oil, safflower, shea butter, tea and coffee extracts, powdered African peach pits, raisin seeds, borage, royal jelly and bees wax, among others,” in addition to, “Sub-Saharan Africa holds a large reservoir of raw materials for hair and body care that includes fine oils extracted from plants (sesame, avocado, argan, baobab, ganache, etc.), vegetable butter (almond, mango, cocoa, etc.), and even minerals such as kaolin or coal” . With only this availability, I had to fill in the gaps as best that I could by figuring out how these ingredients are made and the processes in general terms.
Some of the most important ingredients in mascara are emulsifiers. Since water and oil do not mix, cosmetic companies use emulsifiers in their formulation of mascara in order to stabilize the emulsion and create a more consistentformulation. These emulsifiers usually consist of a combination of triethanolamine and stearic acid. Unfortunately, these two ingredients wreak havoc on the body and the environment. Triethanolamine is a byproduct when ethylene oxide and ammonia react: two toxic substances. Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed triethanolamine safe, it is limited to be used in short-term use products that wash off after a short period of time and in small doses because it is incredibly dangerous in large quantities. It has also been known to cause eye irritation that results in inflammation on a short term and long term basis. . Not only is triethanolamine harmful to humans, it also is toxic to the environment with constant exposure to water. As mascara is washed off by the consumer and into the municipal water waste and, “it has been shown that “as hazardous to the environment because of its acute toxicity to aquatic organisms and potential for bioaccumulation,”  which is the buildup of toxic chemicals in fish and other marine life. On the other hand, stearic acid is a much safer in comparison to triethanolamine, but it has a similar environmental effect of aquatic organisms such as fish when washed off . Unlike triethanolamine, which comes from toxic elements, steric acid is derived from the oils of animal and vegetable fats. When it is derived from animals, slaughterhouses supply the fats from sheep, cows, and pigs. While stearic acid from vegetable fats often come from coconut and palm oil, often sourced from Mozambique. Although the ladder may seem like a more humanly sourced ingredient, palm oil is a controversial choice because of the way that it is sourced. The palm oil industry is a direct cause of deforestation because in order to “keep up with the incredibly high demand for the cheaply produced oil, acres of rainforest are being cut down - leading to a loss of animal habitat for endangered species.”  Both triethanolamine and stearic acid have been proven to be a questionable choice of ingredients for human use and the environment, but are continuously used by L’Oréal, which raises question on whether or not L’Oréal is committed to its goal of becoming a trusted company known for their safety and sustainability. However, these are not the only hazardous ingredients L’Oréal choses to use.
Since there is an array of different waxes that can be used for the purpose of self-emulsifying, many companies chose the cheapest and most readily available option, rather than the most eco and consumer-friendly option. During the process of producing mascara, a self-emulsifying wax in needed to create thickness and add volume to the eyelashes. Such waxes that are chosen for this purpose originate from mineral oils, such as paraffin. Paraffin is one of the most concerning ingredients in mascara, due to its effects of the environment and consumer health. As a derivative of petroleum, it requires harmful practices like fracking to retrieve the petroleum. The process of refining this crude oil results in a multitude of problems, such as being one of the major pollutants related to air quality, contaminated soil and water with toxic chemical . Although when paraffin is refined properly it causes no harm to human health, however, there is no way to track if these ingredients were properly refined or not. This is because the United States Food and Drug Administration, “does not require cosmetic products and ingredients…to have FDA approval before they go on the market, but it does require them to be safe when consumers use them according to their labeling, or as they are customarily used” . Without the FDA being able to confirm that these ingredients are safe, companies are able to still use potentially unsafe forms of paraffin. This means that consumers are potentially exposed to chemicals as a result of the contamination of toxic chemicals, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in mascara. Exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons can result in cancers, skin irritation, and allergies . This potential harm that customers may be exposed to is particularly concerning due to the fact that many people that purchase mascara use it on a daily basis and fail to do their research on the ingredients when purchasing their mascara.
Pigments are such an integral part of the ingredient formulation of mascara because they are what give eyelashes its dark black coloring, nevertheless, there are still unsafe options being used by companies around the world. A popular pigment used is carbon black, which is made from the combustion of “heavy-duty petroleum products or coal; used in tires, inks, films, and plastics” . In fact, carbon black was even classified as possibly being a carcinogenic in humans, but is still being used regularly by consumers and the companies that sold them these products. However, a safer alternative to this harmful pigment are iron oxides. These cosmetic-grade iron oxides are made in carefully controlled conditions in a lab, where it is made from mined iron salts, which are then oxidized and purified. Thus causing no potential harm to consumers.
Gums, which are often derived from plants are used for their key properties such as their “ability to form fast drying, flexible, non-tacky, wash/wear resistant films that contract when dry to help curl and provide lift to the lash.” . These gums are often environmentally friendly and safe for consumer use. Acacia senegal gum, which is made from dried sap of a acacia tree, is a popular choice for companies. As well as hydroxyethylcellulose, which is derived from cellulose of pine and spruce tree trunks often grown in the regions if the United States, Canada, France, and Norway.
When it comes to waxes, beeswax is the most consumer and environmentally friendly option, if harvested correctly. Thanks to beeswax being “made up of fatty acids, esters, long-chain alcohols, and carbohydrates,” . It is valued ingredient because it assists in the separation, lengthening, and thickening of eyelashes as well as preventing mascara from drying out and resulting of the crumbling of mascara. As well as being a beneficial ingredient to humans, when ethically correctly, beeswax causes no harm to the environment.
Manufacturing, Processing and Formulation
The anhydrous method of manufacturing mascara, is the most environmentally friendly process that there is. Unlike the emulsion method, the anhydrous method does not need the raw material of water in the process. Without the need of water, there a significant decrease in the need to treat reduces the demands for chemicals and wastewater treatment after the process is done . Instead, the ingredients are measured and placed into a mixing tank. Then “heat is applied to melt the waxes, and the mixture is stirred using a propeller blade. The stirring continues until the mixture reaches a semi-solid state” . After this, the liquid is filled into the tube and capped by hand before being placed into its commercial packaging. Finally, the bulk of mascara is loaded into a truck and is ready for distribution and transportation.
Distribution and Transportation
In an effort to become more environmentally friendly, L’Oréal has introduced new ways to reduced waste that comes from distribution and transportation off their products. One of L’Oréal’s highest preforming plants, Yichang, launched the War Against Waste in 2017. Yichang was able to implement 40 activities during its production operations. Such activities include the use of reusable containers, rather than disposable boxes for the purpose of transportation packaging “and reduced losses of liquids and packaging materials during the production process” . They have also begun using an eco-design that is light weight, when it comes to their packaging, which can cut down on the green-house gases produced when transporting products in comparison to heavier products. Additionally, there was a switched to electric vehicles and shorter transportation routes. As a result of their efforts, L’Oréal has seen as 23.9% reduction in production of transportable waste from the years 2005-2012 . This makes the process of factory to consumer faster, more efficient, and environmentally friendly.
Use, Re-Use and Maintenance
When a consumer purchases mascara, there is often no need to combine other raw materials to the final product. With only a lifespan of only three to four months after opening, mascara becomes dried out and begins to clump every time the tube is opened and exposed to air. This is when consumers often try to discover ways to revive their mascara and make it last longer. Through the addition of water, people claim that it extends mascara’s lifespan, which could potentially cause irritation to one’s eyes. The Food and Drug Administration warns that you should not add water because it “may introduce bacteria and will dilute the preservative that is intended to protect against microbial growth” . This can result in bacterial infections such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. With this as a possible side effect, consumers should simply recycle their mascara tubes after the expiration date.
When it is not possible to reduce the waste at the source, L’Oréal manages to find new ways to recover all that it can from its products. However, this can be difficult when it comes to recycling the packaging of mascara. According to the founder and CEO of TerraCycle, Tom Szaky, a mascara tube is difficult to recycle, “because of its complex structure actually costs more to collect and process than it's worth” . This is why L’Oréal Australia joined forces with TerraCycle to collect empty beauty products from consumers in order to offset the economic costs involved in recycling. This recycling process involves cosmetic waste being washed, separating, shredded, and melted into small pellets. This waste is then collected and sold to companies that will use this recycled plastic at a cheaper cost than it would be when buying new plastic. In fact, “In 2017, [L’Oréal] recovered 96% of its industrial waste by reusing or recycling it, or harnessing it to produce energy, 61% of this waste was comprised of recovered materials (i.e. reused or recycled)” . While these steps may be promising, it is flawed process because it is mostly based on the cooperation of consumers, who more often than not will not take the time to send in their used products. Although L’Oréal is making great strides to becoming more environmentally friendly, they need to focus their attention of more easily recyclable packing that does not require more than putting the empty product in a recycling bin.
Even with the advancements going on within cosmetic companies, there is still a long way to go when it comes to becoming more environmentally and consumer friendly. Even as companies begin to switch from negligent processes that create harm to customers and the environment, companies are much more willing to conform to practices that have more to do with manufacturing, transportation, and recycling than the ingredients itself. This inability to improve on their ingredients, undermined their attempts at being completely successful. However, it is up to consumers to fully do their research before purchasing a $10 tube of mascara. If they fail to fully acknowledge their involvement in the destruction of the environment then they are just responsible for the damage as these companies are. Rather than being a passive consumer that continues to purchase products that cause harm to humans and the earth, consumers have to be a part of the resistance and force companies to do what is right, not what is more profitable.
 Corporate Responsibility Department. “Sharing Beauty With All: The L'Oréal Sustainability Commitment.” Https://Loreal-Dam-Front-Corp-En-Cdn.damdy.com/Ressources/Afile/165320-80369-resource_pdf-Progress-Report-2017.Pdf, 2017.
 L’Oréal Group. “Raw Materials and Ingredients Used for Beauty - L'Oréal Group.” L'Oréal - L'Oréal Group, www.loreal.com/media/beauty-in/beauty-in-sub-saharan-africa/beauty-traditions-and-cultures/raw-materials-and-ingredients-used-for-beauty.
 “The Dangers of Triethanolamine.” Natura Veda, 2 Oct. 2017, naturaveda.com/education/12-toxic-and-carcinogenic-compounds-found-in-beauty-and-skin-care-products/the-dangers-of-triethanolamine/.
 “The Dirty Dozen: DEA-Related Ingredients.” David Suzuki Foundation, davidsuzuki.org/queen-of-green/the-dirty-dozen-dea-related-ingredients/.
Stearic Acid - Toxicity, Ecological Toxicity and Regulatory Information, www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC35572.
 Ritschel, Chelsea. “Why Palm Oil Is so Controversial.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 28 Aug. 2018, www.independent.co.uk/life-style/palm-oil-health-impact-environment-animals-deforestation-heart-a8505521.html.
 Hazardous Substance Research Centers and South & Southwest Outreach Program. “Environmental Update #12: Environmental Impact of the Petroleum Industry.” https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/display.files/fileID/14522, 2003.
 Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Products - Makeup.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, www.fda.gov/cosmetics/productsingredients/products/ucm134054.htm.
 “The Dirty Dozen: Petrolatum.” David Suzuki Foundation, davidsuzuki.org/queen-of-green/dirty-dozen-petrolatum/.
 Anne. BCA Chemistry, bcachemistry.wordpress.com/tag/makeup/.
 Pigments: What It Takes to Create Non-Toxic Makeup.” Goop, 1 Aug. 2018, goop.com/beauty/makeup/nontoxic-organic-and-gorgeous-pigments-what-it-takes-to-create-non-toxic-makeup/.
 Deckner, George. “Mascara Formulation: Properties, Ingredients, and Packaging | Prospector.” Prospector Knowledge Center, 1 Dec. 2017, knowledge.ulprospector.com/7463/pcc-lashing-contemporary-mascara-formulation/.
 “Reducing Waste with Groupe L'Oréal.” Sharing Beauty With All, sharingbeautywithall.loreal.com/producing/reducing-waste/reducing-waste.
 Buchholz, Hans-Ulrich. “Circular Water Management Case Study.” https://docs.wbcsd.org/2017/09/Water/Circular_Water_Management_Case_study_LOREAL.pdf, 2016
 “Mascara.” How Products Are Made, www.madehow.com/Volume-3/Mascara.html.
 “Reducing Waste with Groupe L'Oréal.” Sharing Beauty With All, sharingbeautywithall.loreal.com/producing/reducing-waste/reducing-waste.
 Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Products - Eye Cosmetic Safety.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Products/ucm137241.htm.
 Naughton, Julia. “L'Oréal To Offer Beauty Packaging Collection And Recycle Scheme.” HuffPost Australia, HuffPost Australia, 15 July 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/06/29/loreal-to-offer-beauty-packaging-collection-and-recycle-scheme_a_21421642/.
Life Cycle Paper
Due: Dec 6, 2018
Waste and Emissions of L’Oreal’s Mascara.
The eyes are the window to the soul in modern day civilization. They express more opinions than verbal cues allow. Although we use our words everyday, the eyes are just as powerful. With mascara, females consumers are able to improve their confidence and express their emotion. The mascara is a cream based eye cosmetic used with a brush like applicator that allows a person to darken, extend and defined their eyes. The mascara has been around for centuries, tracing back to the victorian era. It uses and properties have inspired generations of women and other cosmetic companies to be bolder. The L’Oreal cosmetic company underlines the importance of their customers and the mascara they use by creating a sustainability movement in 2015.
L’Oreal Group Launched the Sharing Beauty With All movement to continue the global development of sustainable practices. According to Ellie Anzilotti from Fast Company, L’Oreal is “valued at $13.69 billion and employing around 78,000 people worldwide, therefore making L’Oreal “ the largest and most profitable company in the cosmetics industry” (Anzilotti, 2017). L’Oreal’s capital dominance makes them highly influential. Their decision to become sustainable in 2015, sparked others companies to do the same. While mascara can be impactful to women today, the cosmetic industry produces a lot of CO2 and water waste into our environment. This essay will explore L’Oreal’s emissions and waste by discovering the manufacturing processes of a tube of mascara. Despite the environmental challenges, L’Oreal’s management approach has found a way to produce eco-friendly cosmetics; however, L’Oreal continues to use non-eco-friendly approaches to produce their mascara by using water and uses natural gases to transport their products.
The birth of mascara happened in Ancient Egypt. It was said that “ the egyptians believed that making the under eyes dark with the soot would protect them from microorganisms and harmful dust” (Arcgis, 2017). Both male and females used the soot as body art in Egypt. According the feminine collection, the idea of mascara was later re-constructed by Eugene Rimmel in 1913 (Anderson, 2018). He was later recognized as the inventor of the modern day mascara. Today, mascara is one of the most purchased beauty cosmetic by the female population and there are two manufacturing processes that can make it. The anhydrous method requires carefully measured and weighed ingredients that are placed into a mixing tank or industrial kettle. It mix[es], heat[s], and agitate[s] the ingredients,” (Mascara) making about 10-30 gallons of mascara. The anhydrous method allows companies to use no water while producing gallons of mascara. The second method to produce gallons of mascara is the emulsion method. The emulsion method is a lotion based mascara that requires water unlike the anhydrous method. In this method, a combination of water and thickeners “while the waxes and emulsifiers are mixed and heated separately” (Mascara). Once the pigment is added, all the ingredients are combined in a homogenizer. According to vashonsd, “ unlike the anhydrous method, the homogenizer has a closed lid that keeps out the air and prevents evaporation. [It] blends the ingredients at a very high speed, breaking down the oils and waxes; holding them in suspension in the water. (3)” The homogenizer can hold up to 100 gallons of mascara at a time thus making this manufacturing process more efficient. Both of the manufacturing processes require what is called the filling process.
After the mascara has reached its end state either in a semi-solid in the anhydrous method or a cooled state when using the emulsion method, it has to be transferred into a tote bin for filling. In the filling stage, the mascara tube bottles are filled with mascara and capped by hand. Once the filling process has been completed, the mascara is packaged and shipped to stores. From the two methods, the anhydrous method is far more eco-friendly and water efficient. Before the emulsion process was used the anhydrous method “ essentially [produced] hard cakes of pigment which women would “grind” to grind to apply to their lashes” (Hou, 2018). Although, the anhydrous method was used in the past, it still could be used today. Most cosmetic companies insist on uses the emulsion method to produce their mascara. L’Oreal does not provide their mascara manufacturing process; although their mascara products include water as an ingredient thus proving that the emulsion method is used in L’Oreal manufacturing factories.
Contemporary mascara formulations use the emulsion method to produce mascara. According to george deckner, “ the most common type of mascara formulation currently sold is a lamellar gel network (LGN) based oil in water emulsion, stabilized using soluble polymers (11).” This is because it provides the customer with a better application process. The oil in water allows the mascara to apply smoothly without rapid dryness. It may leave the customer unsatisfied and unwilling to purchase the cosmetic product again. In decker’s words “A typical composition of a contemporary mascara includes (0-10 %)volatile solvents, (4-8%) LGN emulsifiers, (3-8%) waxes, (5-10) pigments, (1-5%) film formers/ waterproofing polymers, (1-5%) humectants, (.5-1.5%) preservatives/potentiators, (0 -1%) dispersing agents, (.2-1%) emulsion stabilizers and (0-3%) lash lengthening fibers/volumizing powders” (Deckner & Deckner, 2017). Each of these ingredients play a major role in producing mascara. Without the these ingredients, the product will not produce the same type of consistency or application. L’Oreal does not provide where and how they receive their raw materials. The company continues to choose what information they provide to the public, it can be inferred that their production process thus arguing if their sustainability movement is actually true.
Transportation is one of the most important components in a company. It is how customers are able to purchase and use cosmetic products. Transportation requires natural gases and fossil fuels. Transportation represents about “10.1% of the [L’Oreal’s] carbon footprint, or 695,000 tonnes of CO2,” (RSPO, 2012). This number includes the transportation of products, raw materials, company employee transportation and the gas to go to work everyday. Everyday, L’Oreal uses natural gases and emits greenhouse gas emissions to continue producing makeup. According to L’Oreal Paris, they have introduced an all-electric transport car that provides “zero CO2 emissions” (L’Oreal Group). These cars are charged by an electric outlet and run completely by electricity. Since there is no fossil fuels being used during product delivery, L’Oreal Paris was able to complete a reduction of 17% in the first year. Although the electric car tactics have not appeared in America, L’Oreal has found other ways to reduce their carbon footprint. In their In plant and distribution centers, L’Oreal has used solar panels and other diverse adapted technologies to reduce their carbon footprint. In L’Oreal 2017 progress report, L’Oreal claims that their production sitis have been supplied with 100% renewable electricity after their partnership with Suez. The Suez company is a water and waste expert company that helps reduce carbon emissions and water waste (Progress Report, 2017). L’Oreal has made progress in reducing their carbon footprint in transportation and distribution but they haven't changed their manufacturing process of their mascara. L’Oreal’s commitment in reducing the transportation emissions and received a Green Power Partner of the Year Award form the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Although, the company's goal has not ended, the mascara is still being made by using a lot of water. Reducing the CO2 emission in the transportation department has giving L’Oreal the motivation to continue the sustainability goal.
L’Oreal’s sustainability movement started in 2015, they claim that “ [they are committed to improving the way we do business, from research to operations, from marketing to communication with the consumer” (L’Oreal Group USA). However, the L’Oreal company chooses what is public information. Consumers can look up the ingredients in a tube of L’Oreal’s mascara but have no knowledge of how and where those ingredients come from. On paper and through advertisements, L’Oreal is making their way to completing their goal but they have not shown the details to the public thus making their sustainability claims false advertising. According to L’Oreal, “ [they] empower consumers to make more informed choices by giving them the clear information they need” (L’Oreal Group USA). Cosmetic companies like L’Oreal market on customer ignorance, knowing that customers want the best products in stores. It is customer ignorance that generates capital within all businesses. Withholding information ensures that L’Oreal products stay on the market and consumers continue to purchase them. L”Oreal may have changed some of their products; however, the production and transportation continue to emit CO2 and waste a lot of water. Marketing is all about optics and L’Oreal’s sustainability claims makes the company smarter and bolder but they still have not changed their production process of their most purchased product which is the mascara.
Anzilotti, Eillie. “How LOréal Is Turning Itself Into A Sustainability Leader.” Fast Company, Fast Company, 26 Apr. 2017, www.fastcompany.com/3069080/how-loreal-is-turning-itself-into-a-sustainability-leader.
“Mascara.” How Products Are Made, www.madehow.com/Volume-3/Mascara.html.
RSPO. “M-GHG-Emissions-Report.” RSPO. 2012 https://ww.rspo.org/file/acop/loreal/M-GHG-Emissions-Report.pdf
Vashonsd. “Mascara.” https://www/vashonsd.org/cms/lib/WA01919522/Centricity/Domain/301/Mascara-1.pdf
L’Oréal Group. “Our Sustainability Challenge - LOréal Group.” LOréal, World Leader in Beauty: Makeup, Cosmetics, Haircare, Perfume - LOréal Group, www.lorealusa.com/csr-commitments/sharing-beauty-with-all/our-vision/our-sustainability-challenge.
Hou, Kathleen. “Whats in Your Mascara?” The Cut, The Cut, 3 May 2018, www.thecut.com/2018/05/whats-in-your-mascara.html.
“Story Map Journal.” Arcgis.com, www.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=923e684ef0be4a3f9c2b2f7e9be3d17f.
Anderson, Julie. “6 Things That You Do Not Know About Mascara.” Feminine Collective, 3 Oct. 2018, www.femininecollective.com/mascara-whore-around-centuries/.
Deckner, George, and George DecknerGeorge Deckner. “Mascara Formulation: Properties, Ingredients, and Packaging | Prospector.” Prospector Knowledge Center, 1 Dec. 2017, knowledge.ulprospector.com/7463/pcc-lashing-contemporary-mascara-formulation/.
L’Oréal Group. “Transportation: All-Electric Delivery - LOréal Group.” LOréal - LOréal Group, www.loreal.com/medias/news/2012/apr/commitment-sd-news-env-transports-d.
L’Oreal Group. “2017 Progress Report” L’Oreal- L’Oreal Group, https://loreal-dam-front-corp-en-cdn.damdy.com/ressources/afile/165320-80369-resource_pdf-progress-report-2017.pdf