Microbeads: Why They’re Bad And The Best Alternatives

The use of plastic microbeads is incredibly harmful to our environment. We've found the best natural alternatives to those nasty beads...

The next time you’re in the shower having a good scrub, take a second to check the back of the bottle. If your exfoliator contains microbeads you could, unknowingly, be damaging the environment.

This week the parliament environmental audit called for a worldwide ban on the use of cosmetic microbeads.

So, why are microbeads so bad?

Tiny balls of plastic used in shower gels, toothpastes and face scrubs have been found everywhere. Even in Arctic sea-ice and on the ocean floor. After using a mircobead-packed scrub, the beads go the plughole and end up in the sea where tiny plankton gobble them up. Once the bigger fish eat the plankton, beads then end up in their tummies. A third of fish caught in Britain have microbeads in their stomachs. A spokesman for Greenpeace has called the situation “a toxic time bomb.”

dolphin, sea, microbeads

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The stats are highly worrying. The average bottle of face wash has around 100,000 beads and a single tube of cleanser can contain anything up to 300,000.

Thankfully cosmetics companies like L’Oreal and Johnson & Johnson have promised to phase microbeads out by 2017. Until then… what can we do to help?

It’s really quite simple. Start by checking the ingredients of your fave products! Google them if you have to. If your toothpaste or scrub contains microbeads – ditch ‘it.

bliss, body scrub

Best Alternatives…

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We’re not saying you have endure dull, dry skin. Natural, biodegradable alternatives are *so* much better at scrubbing away dead cells and they’re good for the environment. Anything with rice, pecan shells, apricot seeds and more will scrub your chops a treat. No need for nasty microbeads!

Our fave au naturel exfoliators? Dermalogica Microfoliant, which uses powdered rice, and Bliss Orange and White Pepper Sugar Scrub. Companies like Yes To and Lush are also great because they only use natural exfoliants. It’s guilt free shopping at its best.

By Ellen Kerry