We all have big love for our lovely plant earth. We know without this beautiful blue, green planet we'd be in a pretty sticky situation... auditioning for the Mars-one trip anyone? There are so many decisions we make that 'environmentally conscious' ones mostly get pushed to the bottom of the Queue. That is so normal, it is hard to think about things that don't effect you right this minute because we live in a 'go,go,go' kinda culture. Today I wanted to pull into your 'here & now' space one really little skincare decision you can make that will show huge love to this blue, green planet of ours.. http://wp.me/p6LuQS-Pj

Why Microbeads In Skincare Still Aren’t Banned In The EU & What You Can Do About It

In Being Savvy at Skincare by Cheryl Woodman MChemLeave a Comment

We all have big love for our lovely planet earth. We know without this beautiful blue, green planet we’d be in a pretty sticky situation… auditioning for the Mars-one trip anyone?  Yeesh those guys are B-rave! We make a bazillion decisions everyday, how many minutes past 7 can you sleep in and still make your train on time (!?), whether to put on heels or stay safe with the flats (I mean we might need to run for that train ‘eh *winks*), or if you’re going to skip your way (/drag yourself) to the gym today…

There are so many decisions we make that ‘environmentally conscious’ ones mostly get pushed to the bottom of the queue. That is so normal, it is hard to think about things that don’t effect you right this minute because we live in a ‘go,go,go’ kinda culture.

Today I wanted to pull into your ‘here & now’ space one really little skincare decision you can make that will show huge love to this blue, green planet of ours.

We all have big love for our lovely plant earth. We know without this beautiful blue, green planet we'd be in a pretty sticky situation... auditioning for the Mars-one trip anyone? There are so many decisions we make that 'environmentally conscious' ones mostly get pushed to the bottom of the Queue. That is so normal, it is hard to think about things that don't effect you right this minute because we live in a 'go,go,go' kinda culture. Today I wanted to pull into your 'here & now' space one really little skincare decision you can make that will show huge love to this blue, green planet of ours.. http://wp.me/p6LuQS-Pj

What’s The Big Deal About Microbeads In Skincare?

A microbead is just a superbly spherical piece of plastic. It’s made super skinny and super smoothe so that it can exfoliate well but also gently (… this is the key benefit of the microbead). It’s made from the same stuff that you’re plastic supermarket shopping bags are. It’s just been put into a different mould.

The big deal about microbeads in skincare is this… microbeads do not biodegrade.

That means when they ‘hang-around’ in nature, they get to live for eternity.

While the microbead seems to have cracked the code of living forever (good for it *winks*) it’s not great for our environment, plastic microbead beaches coming attcha!

The thing is plastics can be ‘broken down’ and recycled, but only by our fair hands with high temperatures and conditions that just aren’t naturally occurring. That’s why there are specialist recycling plants for plastics.

While it’s great that we can recycle plastic, have you ever tried picking up those microbeads after you’ve had a good ol’ facial scrub?

It’s just impossible. They are so tiny they slip straight down the sink hole in record time, they are so light that they get swept along quickly and they have a stealth programme that helps them avoid filtration at water treatment plants.

All of that means that they end up all over our environment and they accumulate. That means microbead beaches, microbead eating fishes and maybe even microbead sparkling tap water!


The Legal Shizzle on Microbeads

We know microbeads are bad for the environment and their skills for long life have given us a bit of an environmental shock. So it was no surprise that in December 2015 the US signed into law the, ‘Microbead-Free Waters Act’.  Sometimes these legal documents can be so waffley you come away wondering what they actually mean (that’s what you have me for ‘eh *winks*).

The ‘Microbead-Free Waters Act’ bans intentionally added microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics (the key one is facial scrubs) from being manufactured past the 1st July 2017 and from being distributed past 1st January 2018.

So if we know they are bad, why don’t we make it illegal straight away? Why is it still legal to sell skincare with microbeads for another 2 years after we’ve decided to make it illegal?

This is a both sides of the fence thing.

We all have big love for our lovely plant earth. We know without this beautiful blue, green planet we'd be in a pretty sticky situation... auditioning for the Mars-one trip anyone? There are so many decisions we make that 'environmentally conscious' ones mostly get pushed to the bottom of the Queue. That is so normal, it is hard to think about things that don't effect you right this minute because we live in a 'go,go,go' kinda culture. Today I wanted to pull into your 'here & now' space one really little skincare decision you can make that will show huge love to this blue, green planet of ours.. http://wp.me/p6LuQS-Pj

On our side as a consumer if you’re thinking ‘oh hell no, I like my sandy beaches, those microbead ones sound sinister’ then you can actively decide to never again purchase skincare with microbeads.

On the other side of the fence, skincare companies have a load of microbead containing skincare they’ve already stock piled, this is a big money loss if microbeads where made illegal right this minute. Those already manufactured skincare products would have to be scrapped and that would be a big £/$/Euro sized hole. It also takes a little time to develop a new formulation to replace the old one (although in my opinion as a product developer, for microbeads that shouldn’t take anywhere near a year and a half).

So the US are ‘on the ball’, not the microbead one, but the metaphorical one *winks*.

The EU are lagging a little. Authorities have issued recommendations for microbeads to be made illegal, but there’s been no action to make this law.

How You Can Protect The Enviroment From The Pesky Microbead

The great thing is that as a consumer we have ALL the power. Sometimes we don’t feel like it because it’s just little ol’ us here, how much difference can one person make? It starts with the pennies ‘eh, ‘if you look after the pennies the pounds will look after themselves’. Such pearls of wisdom *winks*.

The bottom line is this, if we as consumers say no to the microbead then there’s no point in any skincare company using them. No-one’s buying. So how can you protect the environment from the pesky microbead? With these 2 key conscious skincare decisions…

1. Choose Microbead Alternatives

The big skin benefit of the microbead is its perfectly round shape. It has no ‘sharp bits’ that might cause micro-tears/micro-damage to your skin like some natural exfoliating grains can. Luckily there are now a lot of naturally biodegradable ingredients that can also be processed to make this super skin friendly round shape.

There are wax based beads of jojoba oil that can be found in products like the Caudalie gentle buffing cream (£18.00/60ml) and there are also super fine powders of rice starch (that also has great antioxidant properties) like you’ll find in the Argan + refining face scrub (£8.99/100ml), or in the Murad transforming powder dual action exfoliate (£25.99/14g).

…and to be super stealth in avoiding the plastic microbead, check out BeatTheMicrobead.org for a list of all the products in your country that currently contain microbeads. If you’ve got a skincare product you’re not sure about, download your list and do a control+F search find for it’s name.

2. Sign the Petition of Support

If you my friend are reading this over in the US then you can do a happy dance knowing that your cosmetics will be microbead free by 2018. If you are reading with me in the EU and feel passionate about helping others go microbead free, then head on over to this page on the Greenpeace website to add your name to > 300,000 others who are all saying ‘No’ by signing their name to the petition for the pesky microbead to be banned in the EU.


Have you used microbead facial scrubs? I can hold my hands up and say I absolutely have – for about 2 years actually, it just didn’t cross my mind! Will you be going microbead free?