Pollution from Beauty Products : Glitter

Having understood the undesirable impacts of the use of microbeads in our previous post, we will be introducing another item that is often found in beauty products that brings harm to our environment – glitter.
While glitter is seemingly harmless bits of holographic materials that are widely used to glam up makeup, their very existence in minute sizes are what amplify their impacts on the environment.

Glitter can be found in an array of beauty products like face creams, body lotions and washes. They are especially prevalent in makeup products such as eyeshadow, eyeliner, highlighting powder, lipstick, lip gloss, glitter sprays and even facial masks. Yet, this prevalence is not good news for our environment!
Glitter is also a form of microplastic (Defino, 2019) – yes, like microbeads – and thus, our use of it contributes to microplastic pollution as well. Recall the negative environmental impacts of microplastics as they enter waterways because they are too small to be filtered out in water treatment plants, or through sludge (Defino, 2019).
While some may suggest removing glitter with oil and a cotton pad instead of washing it with water, it does not solve the environmental problem. The disposed of glitter-filled cotton pads will end up in landfills. And as these microplastics are non-biodegradable, it pollutes the land – and even soil and water when leakages occur (Defino, 2019).
As such, while glitter has been widely marketed as festival essentials, for the sake of our beloved environment, let’s try to refrain from it! Let’s drop the glitter this festive season, we can start by dropping the glitter from your makeup.
However, if you absolutely cannot live without glitter, look towards eco-friendly alternatives such as those produced from non-GMO, Forest Stewardship Council certified, sustainable sources that are biodegradable (Defino, 2019). For instance, glitter from Glitter Revolution and Bioglitter are made from plant cellulose, an environmentally safe alternative as it is biodegradable (Schmidt, 2017).
Let’s work towards eliminating plastic glitter, just like how we did it for microbeads!
Defino, J. (2019, April 3). IT MAY BE TIME TO RECONSIDER ALL THAT GLITTER IN YOUR BEAUTY PRODUCTS. Fashionista. https://fashionista.com/2019/04/glitter-beauty-products-environmental-harm-microplastics
Schmidt, A. (2017, June 29). The Truth About How Glitter Really Affects the Environment. Allure. https://www.allure.com/story/glitter-makeup-environmental-effects