Exfoliating Microbeads? You’ll think twice after reading this

Washing your face, body or teeth should not be an act of pollution. Our precious waterways have long been dumping grounds for rubbish, plastics and chemicals and the face scrub you are using on a weekly basis could be contributing to the environmental mess our oceans, lakes and rivers are currently in.

The polyethylene microbeads found in facial scrubs, body washes, toothpastes, cleansers and other cosmetics are ending up in our oceans, rivers and lakes, heavily damaging the marine environment. The beads are small enough (less than 1mm in diameter) to wash straight down the drain and into our main waterways as the beads are too tiny to be caught by water treatment plants. Further, they then end up in the stomach of fish who confuse them with food which consequently poisons them and causes havoc amongst marine life.

Thankfully, most of the mega cosmetic companies such as Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal and Procter & Gamble are slowly phasing out the use of microbeads (you wouldn’t be using their products anyway because they test on animals, right?). However, until they’re completely gone from all cosmetic products, they still pose a massive threat to our environment and the beings who inhabit our waterways.microbeads-h

Examples of products to avoid with ‘microbeads’ and ‘beads’ on the packaging.

So why do these companies use an ugly ingredient like microbeads in the first place? Because it’s cheaper and much easier to come by. And they’re greedy. Their first priority is profits.

There are many naturally derived exfoliants on the market that do equally as good a job, if not better, then their environmental damaging competitors. Look for ingredients such as crushed walnut shells, 
sea salt, coconut husk and coffee for your face and body scrubs and use body washes and toothpastes that are natural and don’t contain plastic micro particles. Who wants to rub chemically formed pieces of plastic on their face, body or in the mouth anyway? Pass.

Please choose wisely when spending your dollar on these types of products and keep an eye out for ‘microbeads’, ‘polyethylene’ or ‘polypropylene’ on ingredient lists. Cosmetic companies (particularly the large ones) can be incredibly sneaky at times and can label microbeads as other names or in extreme cases not label it at all. If the product looks like it has little unnatural plastic particles in it, it probably does, so avoid it.

Here are some great microbead alternatives:

Aesop Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant


A dry mix of crushed botanicals to mix with your everyday cleaner to scrub and buff normal to combination skin.

$40Tea_Tree_Facial_Exfoliant_1

Sukin Revitalising Facial Scrub

I’m a massive fan of Sukin products. They go above and beyond to ensure their products are of the highest quality, environmentally friendly, cruelty-free and vegan. The Revitalising Facial Scrub is made from Aloe Vera, Bamboo, Walnut Shell, Chamomile, Rosehip Oil and Jojoba Oil and is a cheap and cheerful facial scrub. It smells delicious and is a great product for those on a budget.

$9.95sukin-revitalising-facial-scrub

Jacqueline Evans Chamomile & Walnut Facial Scrub

Free from sulphates, parabens, artificial preservatives, petrochemicals, DEA, TEA and artificial colours and fragrances. Made with natural and organic ingredients here in Australia.

$42JacquelineEvans03

Arbonne Awaken Sea Salt Body Scrub

A classic favourite of mine, this Arbonne scrub will gently slough away dead skin cells and leave your skin with a dewy feeling of hydration.

$40bodyscrub-13

Make Your Own

Face Scrub

A teaspoon of bicarbonate soda mixed with a little warm water between your fingers. Bi-carb soda is a miracle – I use it for absolutely everything.

Body Scrub

Combine two tablespoons of ground coffee or himalayan sea salt with two tablespoons of melted coconut oil.

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