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Beat the Microbead + My 6 natural plastic free exfoliation alternatives

You may have heard about microbeads and the rush to get products that contain these small and dangerous balls removed from skin care. Microbeads are plastic beads put into products to aid in the exfoliation process. Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells resulting in a fresher and glowing appearance. In reality microbeads are harming our waterways with the potential to harm us. There is a worldwide push to have these beads banned spearheaded by Plastic Soup Foundation and Stichting De Noordzee through their campaign Beat the Microbead.

As a shopper you might not know these beads have been added to your product. With the beads being so small your eye would not see them. The front label does not state that you are potentially scrubbing your skin with plastic. You might think what is the big deal; if they are so small what damage could they do? These beads end up in our local sewer system and the treatment plants have not been made to pick up these microbeads. Due to their minute size the beads escape into the ocean. Like most plastic, these beads will not break down as they are not biodegradable. From here animals take in these beads and bringing the plastic into the food chain and ultimately into our bellies via the seafood we consume.

Beat the Microbead + My 6 natural plastic free exfoliation alternatives
Image from 5gyres.org
Beat the Microbead do not think this is fair on the environment and animals that call our waterways home. They are campaigning to get global companies to remove the beads from products. So far they have achieved promises from Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, The Body Shop, L'OrĂ©al, Colgate-Palmolive, Beiersdor and Unileaver to phase out microbeads. Sadly, this could take years. There are legislations being championed to ban any form of microplastics in states of the US and the European Union is also seeking a legal ban.

"Washing your face, brushing your teeth, scrubbing your body can be an act of pollution!" beatthemicrobead.org

While I advocate NOT buying anything in new (virgin) plastic, I understand that this might not appeal to everyone. After all we are all on our own journey, to limiting plastic in our lives.

So what can YOU do to Beat the Microbead?

1. Stop and check the label. While some companies have promised to remove microbeads, they have no done so yet. If you find the word polyethylene in the ingredients, put the product down and back away slowly. Beat the Microbead have also put together a handy app, so you can suss out if plastic is in your fave toothpaste, body scrub or face scrub. Then sign this petition and contact your local politician too.


Beat the Microbead + My 6 natural plastic free exfoliation alternatives
Image from 5gyres.org

2. If you realise that a product you currently use has plastic beads in it, STOP using it. Package that baby up and send it to the head office of the parent company. Maybe include it with a letter.

3. Download this app so you can enjoy exfoliating without polluting the waterways.

4. Or check out....

My 6 natural exfoliation alternatives that won't harm our environment 
Beat the Microbead + My 6 natural plastic free exfoliation alternatives

Bicarb
If you are living plastic free or zero waste then I bet this ingredient lurks somewhere in your home. It is a multipurpose wonder that can be used as an exfoliant I use it once a week.

Lemon
Lemon contains alpha hydroxy acid and works by loosening the dead skin cells so they can be removed easily. Keep the skins and submerge them in vinegar to create a safe cleaner for your home. I love multipurpose uses for things!

Hemp
Did you know hemp is antibacterial? Well it is. Natural hemp has a slightly courser texture making it the perfect fibre to slosh away dead skin cells. When you are done with it, toss it into your compost bin or plant beds. Paris To Go knitted her own, check it out.

Sugar
We have all read about sugar being not so good and for some of us that indulge will sometimes see results in our skin. When used topically sugar works as a wonderful scrub. With the combination of glycolic acid and it's granular texture your skin will be looking so fresh and so clean!

Coffee
I am allergic to coffee (I know, I know...) but that does not stop me from "borrowing" a cup from the Builders stash to give my body a good scrub. It is too harsh for my face and leaves me looking red so I use it exclusively below the neck.

Oatmeal
Oatmeal is perfect for sensitive skin. It is moisturising and will help with any inflammation your skin might suffer through day to day pollution. Mix with honey for a nourishing face mask too. Mmmmm yum.

There are many other natural exfoliants. Tell me, what is yours?

3 comments

  1. My favourite exfoliant is a rough, line-dried face washer. Works a treat.

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    Replies
    1. I agree with you :) An old favorite.

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  2. I am SO against those mircobeads - they actually make your skin worse. I use cetaphil for a clenser and when I need a bit of exfoliation I just add some bicarb soda or sugar to the cetaphil and voila, scrub. I also have a dry body brush that exfoliates my body AMAZINGLY and it was $6 and also helps reduce cellulite! Bec x

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