Human Rights in the Beauty Industry

What You Need to Know

As a stylist who either works in a salon, runs their own shop, or is working side-by-side with others in the biz, you’re probably no stranger to the human rights discussion in the beauty industry.

It’s a conversation that’s (thankfully) rapidly getting bigger and bigger, covering more touchpoints than ever, and inciting people to make important, ethical changes—still, there’s so much improvement left to be made within our industry.  

While it’s no secret that our favorite beauty products are made from ingredients that need to be sourced, it’s possible that you’re unaware of (or have purposely been kept in the dark about) the way these ingredients are sourced, the welfare of the employees from big-name companies, and the companies that your brands are working with along the supply chain to bring the products from their infancy all the way to your salon.

Overnight, it’s impossible to change the way human rights have been exploited—and even worse, we can’t take away the way people have been unethically treated in the past in order to harvest, produce, and distribute the products we’ve been using within the beauty industry. But we can do is make a choice, right now, to instill ethics into our cosmetics—to be the change needed when it comes to human rights, not just within the beauty industry, but for everyone, everywhere.

We can set the standard. We can check our ethics. We can make small—but monumental—moves in how we operate, how we choose the products we use, how we determine our day-to-day that can have an enormous impact on human rights.

Want to know how? Well, you’re in the right place.

How You Can Check Your Ethics

We’re not saying that you have to quit your job at the salon, storm the citadels, and wreak havoc until we do away with human rights abuses (although we’re never going to tell you not to do that, you do your thing, girl). But we are saying that if you have ethics, morals, and a certain idea of how you believe humans deserve to be treated, you can make tiny changes in your salon’s routine that can make huge impacts on human rights within our industry. 

Here’s how:

Do Your Research

If you’re just now joining the conversation about human rights in the beauty industry, that’s OK—it’s never too late to learn. The first thing we suggest to start making an integral change is to become informed. Do your research, start asking questions, and do your best to formulate your own opinions based on the facts of what’s happening in the world around us. Talk to your salon friends, read articles, call up your favorite brands. Do what it takes to understand what’s happening—knowledge really is power.

Know Where Your Products & Ingredients Are Sourced From (and How They’re Sourced)

This is a huge step. If you’ve done your research, you know that there are brands out there that claim to be ethical in their practices, but in all actuality, are anything but.

From child labor to labor enslavement to lower-than-low wages to absolutely horrible treatment, there are a myriad of issues running rampant among big-brand companies. If you want to invest in a company or a brand, know how they treat everyone in their employee—from their top-of-the-line sales executive to the employee harvesting the vanilla.

Completely Cut Out Brands That Display Ethics You Don’t Agree With

If you’ve confirmed a brand or product you’ve used is unethical and doesn’t plan on making changes any time soon, cut that sucker out right now. Look, we know this is hard. And we’re not trying to be sarcastic about this—cutting out really reliable products or brands that you know work well can be hard. But when you’re struggling with that, ask yourself what really matters—that the conditioner you’ve loved using on your clients works great, or that it was sourced and made in a sleazy, unethical way? Cut out the brands you know don’t align with your morals or your ethics.

Be a Dang Watchdog

Don’t just do your research once and then let it go—be a watchdog! Human rights advocacy isn’t a trend, it’s a moral obligation, and if it’s something that’s truly important to you and who you are as a person, it’s not something you should let go of (even if the trend of being a watchdog does happen to fade).

Don’t Keep Quiet

The next thing you can do after cutting those brands out cold turkey? Be an educator. No, we’re not saying that you should treat this as a hot-piece-of-news type of gossiping thing, we mean that you should be an informant, provide research and real facts that back up these claims.

Tell people you know—consumers, stylists, everyone—the facts about the brands and products that you know are abusing human rights. It’s possible a lot of these people don’t know what’s happening, and if you can turn one person away from a human rights-abusing company, you’ve made a change.

If a Company Can’t be Transparent, Avoid Being a Customer

We deserve transparency in the products we use every day—if a company, brand, products, etc., is not providing you with that deserved transparency, then they don’t deserve to have you as a customer or consumer. We suggest working with brands that are transparent about everything—what’s in their products, where their products are made, how they’re made, how they treat their employees, and more.

If this post was eye-opening for you, we’re so glad.

If we told you something you already knew, share more with us—we read your comments and we’re here to learn, just like you are. Never stop trying to do everything you can to check your ethics, spread knowledge, and overall, just be a positive influence on our world and our industry. We believe in you.

Love keeping up with us? We thought so. 

If you’re into staying in-the-know, want to keep up with trade secrets, and are always down for insight and advice, check back in with our regularly updated blog!