Plastic is not fantastic: why avoid microbeads?

Increasing numbers of people want beauty products that are safe to use and don’t harm the environment. Sometimes, trying to do this can seem like a lot of extra effort and expense but there are some ways to make quick and easy changes for the better to your daily routine. In this post, I’ll be explaining what microbeads are, why they are a bad thing and how you can make some really simple changes to exclude them from your beauty regime.

Image result for microbeads

Photo courtesy of http://www.beatthemicrobead.org

So what are microbeads? Put simply, microbeads are teeny tiny pieces of plastic used in beauty products. Yep, companies use actual plastic in the beauty products they sell you. Microbeads are often found in products with exfoliating properties, such as facial and body exfoliators, but they’re also in some toothpastes, meaning that you could actually be ingesting plastic when brushing your teeth. Nice.

Aside from the impact on you, microbeads are harmful to the environment as once you’ve washed them down the plughole they make their way into the oceans and add to the tonnes of plastic already swirling around in there. They get ingested by ocean animals meaning that if you eat seafood, there’s a very good chance that you’re consuming microbeads and the toxins associated with them this way too.

The crazy thing is that microbeads aren’t even necessary – there are so many natural, practical alternatives which are non-harmful and just as effective such as salt, sugar or jojoba beads.

So how do you make sure the products you’re using don’t contain microbeads? I’ve recently downloaded the ‘Beat the Microbead’ app which contains a bar code scanner so you can scan products while you’re out shopping and make an informed choice. The app also has a list of brands and their products in order to show which contain microbeads. I found I had more success using the list of products than the bar code scanner, with my REN facial exfoliator and my Burts Bees body exfoliator both showing as free from microbeads. See my previous review on these products here.

Images show the ‘Beat the Microbead’ app in use

You can also look for the green ‘Zero Plastic Inside’ logo on products as shown below.

If this article has made you want to help ban microbeads, you can sign the UK petition here. Canada and America are already in the process of banning microbeads so hopefully the UK will follow their lead soon.

Beauty Geek x

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