Over the last few years microbeads, the tiny rounds of plastic in your exfoliator, have been getting some bad press. You may have been completely unaware of the dangers that your daily routine was having on the environment – but now it’s out there and people are doing something about it.
Last July, in fact, the production of microbeads in personal care products and cosmetics was banned in the US and the sale of these products will be banned from July this year.
But, what exactly are microbeads? Why are they so dangerous for the environment? And most importantly, how am I going to exfoliate now?
Don’t worry, TRAIN for HER has gone on a mission to answer all of these questions all in the name of smooth skin (and looking after the environment).
Why do we use microbeads?
First and foremost, products containing microbeads are cheaper to produce because they’re plastic, which is why you can find them in hundreds of products. They’re in our lotions, scrubs, face washes and sometimes – even toothpaste.
They also add traction to your products which helps rub off dirt and grease from the top layer of your skin.
So, what’s the problem?
As plastic microbeads aren’t chemically reactive, it’s safe to use them on your skin. But the problem isn’t how well they help remove your makeup – it’s the environment we’re worried about.
According to international campaigners, Beat The Microbead, these tiny beads are damaging our water supplies and marine life. As they’re too small to be caught by water filters, there are currently five trillion pieces of microplastics floating around our waters.
This means that they are being ingested by marine animals daily, which as you can imagine, is a big problem.
Thanks to the great work of campaigners, we’ll be saying goodbye to these products this year so the question is – what are the alternatives?
If you’re looking for light or gentle exfoliation, whole oats are a great option, especially if you have sensitive skin. The oats are both soft and rounded so they won’t take off too much skin and will also help absorb any excess oil.
No, this isn’t something from The Hunger Games – but beads that come from the liquid wax of the jojoba shrub. They’re often mistaken for microbeads but are completely biodegradable and great for those with nut allergies.
Who knew coffee could be so useful? If you’re after a mild exfoliator, coffee grinds are great. They’re smooth and round like the oats, but they have enough strength to scrub off the city toxins.
If you like a good tough scrub, salt is perfect for a microbead alternative. Sea salt, in particular, does wonders for the skin by removing toxins while also improving the circulation.
I personally recommend Lush Rub Rub Rub, but if you are DIY-ing it, add essential oils to soften the scrub.
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