What is the Cosmetic Industry?

Christina Edwards

Cosmetics are considered to be any type of products or mixtures used to complement or enhance the beauty or looks of a person. This can include makeup, perfume, lotion, and nail polish. Although the concept of cosmetics has not changed much since ancient Egyptian times, the cosmetic industry certainly has. Today, the global cosmetic industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, with American consumers alone spending roughly $10 billion US Dollars (USD) annually.

Perfumes and colognes are made by the cosmetics industry.
Perfumes and colognes are made by the cosmetics industry.

Because of the pressures to look beautiful, on women especially, there will most likely always be a high demand for beauty products. Companies in the cosmetic industry are the chief suppliers of these products. Some cosmetics are relatively inexpensive, costing a consumer a few US dollars. Others can be much more expensive. Cosmetics that are classified and marketed as "designer" products, for example, will often cost much more than the typical department store lipstick.

A woman applying mascara, a type of cosmetic.
A woman applying mascara, a type of cosmetic.

Designer perfumes are probably the most common designer products in the cosmetic industry. Many times, these products are simply endorsed with a celebrity's name, although they usually don't have much to do with the creation of the product. Designers are not the only famous people to endorse certain cosmetics. Singers, actors, and other types of celebrities all endorse these products, and it is the name that the consumer is usually paying for, not the product.

Cosmetics are any products that are used to complement or enhance the beauty or looks of a person.
Cosmetics are any products that are used to complement or enhance the beauty or looks of a person.

Celebrities are not the only reason that a certain beauty product may be more expensive. In the cosmetic industry, location matters as well. For example, cosmetic products from France, especially perfumes, are highly sought after, and they are often considered to be much more valuable. As a result, French cosmetic products will typically cost much more.

Cruelty-free cosmetics are rated just as effective—if not more so—than those that rely on animal testing.
Cruelty-free cosmetics are rated just as effective—if not more so—than those that rely on animal testing.

In recent years, as people have become more aware of dangerous chemicals, safety regulations have become a major part of the cosmetic industry. As of 2010, this industry was regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the European Commission. These agencies ensure the ingredients of beauty products are safe for humans.

To determine the safety of a certain products, many manufacturers in the cosmetic industry perform tests on animals, which is controversial. In the United States, the FDA helped form the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods, which attempts to find alternative methods of testing products. As of 2010, though, animal testing was still allowed. In 2004, however, Europe banned the testing of cosmetics on animals.

The cosmetic industry is changing constantly, and new products are added every day. The predicted cosmetics market of the future is most likely no different. Many experts believe that more cosmetic manufacturers will start eliminating toxic and hazardous chemicals from their products and proceed with a more natural approach. The future of the cosmetic industry may even lie in organic makeups, perfumes, lotions, and other products.

Models may be used in cosmetic ads.
Models may be used in cosmetic ads.

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