Reflections: Green Beauty Project

Check out the ESRI Story Map about my project here: The Beauty Industry is Not as Green as You Think


Reflecting on this summer’s endeavors, I am glad I was given the opportunity to stay in Norman and work for OU. I have gained new, and useful knowledge with my time as a research intern. Independent research is a skill that I’ve gotten to grow throughout this summer and will carry through the rest of my collegiate experience. I have learned that research isn’t just about reading journals and writing bullet point summaries. Research is about collaboration, interviewing professionals, giving out surveys, asking the hard questions, having multiple record journals, and constantly trying to tell others about your summer work and all it entails. The ~beauty~ with creating your own research topic, is that you are the creator of a brand-new set of work that no one else gets to claim as their own.    

My research project was centered around Greenwashing that occurs in the Beauty Industry. I noted that there is a trend of eco-consumerism that has developed around us. The urge to buy the most eye-catching natural and eco-friendly beauty product has set in with consumers by a green marketing model established in the business world. The component that is overlooked is that this, ‘trend’ ignites an opportunity for companies to feed consumers desires. The mentality is a what a consumer wants, the consumer gets sort of deal.  

As a twenty-year-old female fully familiar with how the social media age is, I constantly see advertisements over Instagram and Facebook promoting what seems like a sustainable product that contains no harmful products, biodegradable packaging, and green credentials. But is what I’m seeing really what I would be getting? I have learned that companies benefit off selling products that stretch the truth and are able to get away with it by the lack of regulation in place. Greenwashing is a business model that is implemented to get consumers invested in environmental efforts when many of these companies do very little for the Earth in return. Over the next three years the beauty industry will reach an $800 billion market and you can only imagine what products will be created in that time. My hope is that companies become more transparent about the products they sell, so no consumer experiences a panicking outcome like the Monat Hair Company.  

Looking to the future, I have many hopes for this research project. I am working on talking with representatives from different companies that work in areas of health and beauty. I want to understand what role they execute in this capitalizing industry. I desire to get their opinions on Greenwashing and if they believe their companies have ever used it to their advantage. I focused heavily on the social model to this project, so now I want to view the business side of it. I want to find the specific profit margins of eco-consumerism, and what does product creation looks like. I would love to see firsthand what the design table looks like and what conversations are held at meetings. I hope that the tier system I created can be presented and talked about for possible implementation someday. The aspirations for this project go on and on with hopes to make changes for good.  

A large thank you goes to Dr. Person and Dr. Peppler for fully supporting my research this summer and taking the time to be fully invested in each project. I have been incredibly lucky to have two impeccable leaders who have contributed to my learning. Another shout out to Madeline and Brooke for the constant encouragement and help when I needed it the most, you two are amazing and I am so glad to have worked beside you!  

Thank you for a great summer and this isn’t the last of me! (: Thanks for reading.  

One Comment Add yours

  1. randypeppler says:

    You did a great job this summer, Gabby! This will be a fun project to continue forward!!

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