The Story of Cosmetics

Ever wondered what’s in your shampoo, anyway? Annie Leonard explores the toxins in our bathrooms, and what to do about them.
The Story of Cosmetics, flim still


The average American woman uses 12 health and beauty products each day; the average man uses six. But how healthy are they?

Annie Leonard, the creator of The Story of Stuff, The Story of Cap & Trade, and The Story of Bottled Water, turns her trademark clarity to the subject of chemicals in cosmetics. Why, she asks, do we allow unregulated, untested chemicals—many of which have been linked to cancer, birth defects, or brain damage—into the products we rub into our skin every day? And most importantly, what can we do about it?


See more of Annie Leonard's videos:

  • The Story of Stuff will take you on a provocative tour of our consumer-driven culture—from resource extraction to iPod incineration—exposing the real costs of our use-it and lose-it approach to stuff.

  • Asking tough questions about who cap and trade really benefits—and whether it will make a difference in averting catastrophic climate change.

  • Should you be worried about your tap water? Yes, but not for the reason you expected.

Learn more about safe cosmetics:

  • How can you spot—and avoid—dangerous chemicals in your cosmetics?

  • What's the difference between mineral and chemical filters?

  • Changing or enhancing your hair color doesn’t have to jeopardize your health.