Pollution from Beauty Products : Sponges

What do you do when you spot a new pimple on your pretty face? If your first instinct is to reach out concealers, we are on our way to becoming makeup besties. For makeup-lovers (me too!), we tend to purchase tons of products from foundation, concealer, setting powder, bronzing kit to eyeshadow palettes, mascaras, lipsticks … well, you name it … because more is more right? However, as we doll ourselves up, we tend to forget that our Mother Earth needs some doll up too! In fact, we are possibly adding more pimples to Mama Earth by polluting the environment, oh no.

While the large amount of fancy packaging involved with makeup products contribute to plastic pollution, there is another thing that exacerbates the pollution problem in our use of makeup — makeup sponges. Yes, those little softies that help us paint our faces with precision.  While it may seem bizarre that makeup sponges contribute to pollution, I assure you it isn’t.

Just look at the lifecycle of the widely-popular and well-loved beautyblender:

The advent of the beautyblender makeup sponge revolutionized the makeup industry and disrupted traditional ways of applying makeup (Lee, 2019). A widely sought after product, this little egg-shaped sponge has quickly earned a spot in the makeup bag of millions with sales hitting $150 million in 2018 alone (“Beautyblender Redefines Consumer Cosmetics Market”, n.d.).

However, the beautyblender, while small, have a (big) negative impact on the environment:

The use of beautyblenders contributes to a growing mass of garbage in landfills given its non-biodegradable nature (CtNkingsNGds, 2016). Although it is a reusable sponge, there is designated shelf life of 3 months (beautyblender, n.d.), following so, a replacement is needed (Lee, 2019). As such, with millions of users throwing out their beautyblenders every quarter, the issue of land pollution is undoubtedly worsened.

Moreover, beautyblenders are made with materials derived from fossil fuels and synthetic chemicals which emit harmful greenhouse gases (Lee, 2019). The mass production of beautyblenders thus contributes to atmospheric pollution as harmful greenhouse gases are released.

So, does this mean we shouldn’t use makeup sponges now? Sobs…

Not really! Because we can always search for eco-friendly alternatives to minimise our damage to the environment while staying pretty.

An eco-friendly recommendation:

  • Sponges designed with EcoFoam® Technology made of 70% plant-based materials by EcoTools



Beautyblender. (n.d.). Embrace Sustainable Makeup And Recycle Your Beautyblender https://beautyblender.com/blogs/beauty-101/sustainable-makeup-recycle-your-beautyblender

“Beautyblender Redefines Consumer Cosmetics Market”. (n.d.). https://www.netsuite.com/portal/customer-testimonials/beauty-blender-beauty.shtml

CtNkingsNGds. (2016). More environmentally friendly [comment].


Lee, N. (2019, December 4). Raw Materials in the Production of a Beautyblender®. Design Life-Cycle. http://www.designlife-cycle.com/beautyblender