Barack Obama has banned the use of microbeads in beauty products, and many companies over here are phasing out their use. But why are microbeads causing so much controversy and why should you avoid products that contain them?
What are microbeads?
Microbeads are tiny balls of plastic that are put into facial and body products to use as a scrubbing agents. They can range in size from 1 millimetre to a micrometre which is invisible to the naked eye. In a typical scrubbing product, according to the UN Environs Program, there could be as much plastic in the form of microbeads as there is in the container.
But why should you buy beauty products without microbeads? Well, the microbeads are so tiny and are made of plastic which does not degrade. They are too small to be caught by our water filtering systems and as such, end up in our lakes and seas. The problem is that they look like food to fish and marine life and fish eat them, we then eat the fish, you get the picture? They are also a huge pollutant.
To check to see if products contain microbeads you should be looking for these ingredients, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polymethyl methacrylate, polylactic acid, or nylon.
In the meantime, here are products for the face and body that do not contain them:
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Exfoliating Facial Scrub – was £5.99 now £3.99
This is a real bargain if you are looking for a product with no microbeads. Instead it uses crushed up cocoa beans to scrub the outer layer of dead skin cells.
Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser – £34
This cleanser works in two ways to exfoliate the skin; it first dissolves dead skin cells with clearing acids then polishes the surface with jojoba beads.
Bioré Acne Clearing Scrub – £5.24
No microbeads here, this clearing scrub uses microcrystalline wax beads and synthetic beads, but unlike plastic ones, these do decompose.
Origins Never a Dull Moment Face Polisher – £25
Crushed papaya, mango and apricot seeds make this cleansing scrub one of the most natural on the market. Gets rid of the top layer of dead skins to reveal a luminous radiance.
Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator – £22.50
With a pleasant floral scent, this exfoliator uses jojoba esters which are suspended in the gel and unlike some scrubs, which are a little rough, these give a smooth buffing effect.
Pai Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator – £24
Great for sensitive skin, this scrub uses jojoba seeds and exotic oils to clear away the dead layer of skin and reveal the natural radiance beneath.
Origins Incredible Spreadable Smoothing salt body scrub – £25
Origins really are the brand to look out for if you want natural products with no artificial additives. This one uses natural sugars and salts to buff your whole body, and it smells delicious!
Jo Malone London Geranium & Walnut Body Scrub – £40
At present, Jo Malone is only offering one type of body scrub, and this is it. Contains tiny pieces of walnut shell as the scrub element and the gorgeous smell of geranium as well as sunflower seeds and shea butter to polish.
Aviela Shea Body Scrub – £15.99
Want to smell like vanilla cupcakes and know that you are not harming the environment? Try this scrub that contains grounds shea kernels and unrefined sugars.
Yes To Coconut Polishing Body Scrub – £7.99
Yes to Coconut really practises what they preach, as they use practically all of the coconut in this product, even the outer husk to provide a deep scrubbing action. Lovely smell as you would imagine.
No7 Beautiful Skin Gorgeous Glow Body Scrub – £13.50
Another scrub here that uses crushed walnut shell as the buffing agent, alongside rosehip seeds, and enriched with argan oil and almond oil.
Lush Life’s a Beach Body Scrub Powder – £12.50
This product actually uses sand as a scrubbing agent, with salt and tonka absolute. Customer reviewers say that it is quite gentle on the skin but it is free flowing so you can use as much or as little as you like. Lathers up to a foam.