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Half of a face of a beauty model wearing make up, and half of a dirty face of a young child

How much are YOU prepared to pay for beauty?

World Vision uncovers the hidden cost of our beauty products

The ugly truth behind the cosmetics industry

Share #ShadyBeauty Film

They may make you glow and shine, but behind the glitter of beauty and cosmetic products lies an ugly secret - child labour.

Research shows that there are six commonly used ingredients that are at risk of using child labour: palm oil, cocoa, vanilla, shea, mica, copper

Instead of going to school, many children help grow, harvest, mine and transport these ingredients. They work in dangerous places at risk of injury, heatstroke, diseases and even death. And sometimes for as little as $2 a day.

Whilst there is an increase in consumers seeking out natural and organic cosmetics, many consumers are unaware that terms like ‘cruelty free’ don’t necessarily mean that a brand’s supply chain is free from human rights abuses such as child labour.

The cosmetics sector is projected to grow from $532 billion in 2018 to $716 billion in 2025. But this growth must not come at the cost of a child’s education, health or even their life.

Four ways you can help

There's a lot you can do to help reduce or end child labour. These four actions can make a difference:

  1. Spread what you know: Raising awareness about child labour in the cosmetics industry is crucial to create change. Share our #ShadyBeauty film with friends and family, and spread the word on social media. 

  2. Hold brands accountable: Engage with your favourite beauty brands on social media, and ask about their efforts to ensure child labour-free supply chains for these six ingredients.

  3. Choose ethical brands: When farmers and miners are paid a fair price, families are better able to care for their children. Supporting responsible brands helps break the cycle of poverty and exploitation. 

  4. Advocate for change: Use your voice to lobby for child protection in supply chains. Encourage lawmakers to investigate and prosecute those who exploit children. 

You can also support World Vision's work to tackle the root causes of child labour, and keep children in school, by making a donation today.

How we're helping children

As a Christian children's charity, we are committed to helping children experience fullness of life - including ending child labour in the cosmetics industry. To reduce child labour, we must reduce child poverty.  

The high price of beauty  

Multinational cosmetic companies are profiting from the industry’s rapid growth leaving children to pay the price. 

World Vision’s recent report, ‘The High Price of Beauty’, reviewed the policies of the seven largest beauty companies in 2018, and again in 2022. It found that while some major corporations have made public commitments to end child labour, concrete actions are still lacking.  

Increased awareness is imperative to holding companies accountable to implementing long-term strategies to eradicate child labour from their supply chains. Corporations must continue to strive to protect the human rights of the communities that produce their key commodities.

Child labour facts

With your support, we work towards the elimination of child labour, to help families break this cycle of poverty. We advocate for children’s rights, support families financially and ensure that children stay in education - tackling the roots of the problem.

Learn more