50 Surprising Fashion and Beauty Products Made From Oil That You Probably Use Everyday (Even if You're Green)


Photo: Silicon Valley Moms Blog

With all the news and talk about the Gulf oil spill during the past two weeks, we've (unsurprisingly) been talking a lot about the science behind oil and oil production, the future of energy, and the economics behind the whole shebang. We talk about this stuff a lot anyway, but when you really think about, petroleum pervades almost every single aspect of our lives. It's what we use to power our cars and make machinery go, of course, but it's also seemingly omnipresent in thousands of unsuspecting products we use every day. And for women in particular, petroleum and petroleum-derived byproducts are hiding in some pretty sneaky places. Today, I took a walk through my house thinking just about my fashion and beauty regimen between breakfast and lunch - I consider myself pretty green, and a highly conscious consumer -- and I came up with dozens of things that are made from petroleum or petroleum byproducts. Let's be clear: petroleum in and of itself is not necessarily dangerous or evil. But if we really want to think about how we move toward a brighter green future, we better face the facts: This stuff is in nearly everything we use - even if you're using green beauty products, wearing green clothes, and eating wholesome foods, petroleum is likely lurking somewhere in or around your smart-consumer choices.

With all that in mind, I began to make a list of common fashion and beauty products most women use everyday that are either made from oil or contain petroleum byproducts. Take a look - it may surprise you. Then ask yourself, what's in my shampoo/eye shadow/underwear/etc? And could I live without it?

Petroleum is hiding in your closet in:

1. Clothing made from synthetic fibers such as acrylic, 2. nylon, and 3. polyester, or 4. coated with formaldehyde finishes (even organic cotton could fall into this category) 5. Socks 6. Buttons 7. The stretchy part of your underwear and 8. all of your bra 9. Running shoes 10. The soles of your shoes 11. Stretchy jeans and 12. shirts, etc. 13. Plastic earrings, 14. bracelets, and 15. necklaces, etc.

HOW TO GO GREEN: Fashion and Beauty

Photo: Luva Huva

Petroleum is hiding in your in your bathroom in:


16. Sunscreen
17. Body lotion
18. Ibuprofen and
19. Aspirin
20. Hair conditioner
21. Shampoo
22. Hairbrush
23. Hair bands
24. Bobby pins
25. Toothbrush
26. Toothpaste
27. Soap
28. Tampons
29. Sanitary pads
QUIZ: Are you an eco-fashionista?

Photo: Stockbyte/Thinkstock

Petroleum is hiding in your make-up bag in:


31. Lipstick

32. Mascara

33. Eyeliner

34. Lip plumper

35. Vaseline

36. Nail polish

37. Eye makeup remover

38. Hair gel

39. Hair spray

40. Perfume

41. Foundation

42. Face powder

43. Eye shadow

44. Concealer


Illustration: Chris Halderman via Flickr.

Petroleum is hiding in your in your purse in


45. Sunglasses
46. iPod
47 Cell phone (Let's face it, iPods and phones are basically fashion accessories)
48. Breath mints
49. Gum
50. Lip gloss

It's enough to make you wonder how we ever did without it -- and what else it's in. To learn more about how petroleum is used in everyday girl stuff, and how it affects our bodies, check out the Ecology Center's Body Map. To find out what's in the beauty and personal care products you use, check Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database. To learn more about greening your beauty routine, check our green guides on fashion accessories, wardrobe, natural skin care, and personal care:

HOW TO GREEN: Fashion and Beauty

Or, find out green you already are when it comes to your fashion and beauty regimen in a green fashion quiz.

Tags: Accessories | Beauty Treatments | Clothing | Cosmetics | Cotton | Feminine Hygiene | Footwear | Green Fashion | Jewelry | Shoes | Sustainable Fabrics

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