Overall, this is not a sustainable makeup product, and Benefit Cosmetics is not a sustainable beauty company. Nowhere does Benefit discuss their environmental impact or efforts to be a sustainable company. Additionally, this product is not vegan. The one initiative which the company does express concern for is cruelty-free testing, and even with respect to this topic, Benefit Cosmetics is still making unethical decisions.
When it comes to beauty products, there are seemingly endless options on the market. While Benefit Cosmetics does produce high-quality makeup that is loved by many, there are certainly more sustainable, eco-conscious brands with products that will accomplish the same job as the Roller Lash mascara, while simultaneously being less costly for the consumer and for our planet.
The ingredients for this mascara include: Water, paraffin, xera Alba (beeswax), polybutene, bisdiglyceryl polyacyladipate-2, palmitic acid, stearic acid, triethanolamine, VP/eicosene copolymer, acacia senegal gum, copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax, euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax, hydroxyethylcellulose, silica, phenoxyethanol, panthenol, butylene glycol, caprylyl glycol, tocopheryl acetate, algin, serine, BHT. [+/-: CI 19140 (yellow 5, yellow 5 lake), CI 42090 (blue 1 lake), CI 77007 (ultramarines), CI 77163 (bismuth oxychloride), CI 77288 (chromium oxide greens), CI 77289 (chromium hydroxide green), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (iron ferrocyanide), CI 77742 (manganese violet), CI 77891 (titanium dioxide)].
The most concerning ingredients in this list include carnauba wax and paraffin:
Because carnauba wax has a wide range of uses, it is currently being over-harvested. This wax is derived from a Brazilian palm. When carnauba wax is harvested, only 5% of the palm it comes from is viable for wax synthesis. This means that it takes a lot of palms to meet the global demand for this ingredient. It is estimated that between 36-42 million pounds of carnauba wax must be harvested to meet these global demands. Thus, sustainable harvesting practices of carnauba are extremely important given that over-harvesting is causing damage to the Amazonian Rainforest and to our climate in general.
Paraffin is a type of mineral oil, and is a byproduct of petroleum. This means that paraffin can carry carcinogenic impurities.
This product is not vegan (beeswax) and some ingredients (including the dyes) have been known to cause skin irritations.
Benefit does not disclose information on the materials they use to package this mascara, nor do they elaborate on the materials which constitute the tube itself. From personal experience, I know that the tube comes in a sort of hard, paper box and the tube is plastic. The lack of information provided with regard to this aspect of the product leads me to think nothing about their packaging process is sustainable. For if this were the case, it would serve the company well to advertise this, and they definitely do not make an effort to disclose information
Benefit does not provide detailed information on their production process. Additionally, the company claims that they do not test their products on animals, but their elaboration of this topics is concerning. Benefit claims to be “deeply committed to the elimination of animal testing.” Benefit also claims that they are “playing a leading role in developing alternative methods through [their] support of the ‘Fund for Alternatives to Animal Testing’ in the United States.” However, below these declarations on their website, Benefit states that, in response to customers’ concerns “regarding the situation in China,” their products “are made in Europe and for imported cosmetics, the Chinese health authorities order some test on animals: they require companies to make their products available to be tested in state-certified laboratories for registration purposes only.” It seems hypocritical that Benefit Cosmetics claims to be anti animal cruelty, yet are willing to “make their products available to be tested” on animals.
I find this hypocrisy to be disappointing. Benefit Cosmetics is not obligated to make their products available to a country which mandates animal-testing. Their decision to do this invalidates the grand claim they make about caring so much about eliminating animal testing.
Benefit Cosmetics manufactures their products in Europe, but the company is not transparent about their supply chain. The company has not put forth any statements about their sustainability efforts in terms of their manufacturing practices, ingredient list, packaging, or even their financial support of organizations focused on sustainability. On a whole, Benefit Cosmetics does not use their platform to promote sustainability, and it rather seems that they have tried to avoid the topic given the complete lack of information they disclose regarding their environmental impact.