Is Your Glitter Makeup Bad for the Planet?

Is Your Glitter Makeup Bad for the Planet?

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As restrictions start to ease around the globe and the re-opening of nightclubs and re-launching of occasions beckons in lots of international locations, our make-up routines have had a much-awaited switch-up. Gone are the times of lounging round bare-faced in pyjamas – we’re able to face the world once more, and once we say “face”, we regularly imply one stuffed with make-up. In this time of low-key home-dwelling, many people have quietly missed getting dressed up, developing a glance, preparing for one thing. We’re prepared to search out the enjoyment within the high-octane hair and make-up, turning up the glamour issue to the max. And what does that higher than glitter?

Playful and on the identical time rebellious, glitter takes any make-up look from uneventful to additional. It’s vital for festivals, a festive contact at events, a synonym for all issues enjoyable. Whether you sparkle just a little or rather a lot, likelihood is that glitter has at some stage been part of your make-up routine.

This is why it’s completely deflating to find that glitter is, in truth, an enormous villain to the setting. Perhaps extra so than many different make-up merchandise. Last yr, scientists within the UK referred to as for a complete ban on glitter after discovering direct links between the sparkly stuff and ocean air pollution. Dr Dannielle Green, senior lecturer in biology at Anglia Ruskin University, instructed BBC News: “Glitter is a sort of microplastic, it may well have the identical results as different microplastics and it shouldn’t be launched in massive portions into the setting.”

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The harm Dr Green is referring to is akin to that of microplastics contained in artificial clothes: when it’s washed, tiny particles of plastic are launched into the waterways. Glitter reacts in the same means when washed off your face after a stunning night time out. Why are microplastics dangerous information? There are a number of alarming causes. If you like animals and/or are vegan, you need to be conscious that microplastics severely hurt marine life. These particles may be ingested by all forms of marine life – together with organisms as small as zooplankton – blocking the animals’ gastrointestinal tract and tricking them into pondering they don’t have to eat, which results in hunger. Toxic chemical compounds additionally typically cling to the plastic surfaces and when marine animals ingest them, they’re uncovered to toxins. Nicholas Mallos, senior director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas programme, has said to Bustle that “research present that plastic can affect copy and feeding behaviour in fish and transport poisonous chemical compounds, amongst different results…”

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Those who eat fish must also be fluctuate of microplastics. Many occasions, when fish find yourself consuming the particles, they find yourself passing them on to the people who eat seafood. The impacts of this are nonetheless being researched – however scientists’ concerns embrace endocrine disruptors – chemical compounds that intrude with hormone perform. And microplastics actually are taking over the planet: one examine discovered that they’ll change into airborne and actually rain down from the sky. While a rain of glitter feels like a fairy-tale state of affairs, the fact is the stuff of nightmares.

To fight the issue, many corporations use glitter that naturally biodegrades. Efforts to minimise plastic air pollution are championed by small manufacturers reminiscent of Wild Glitter and Eco Glitter Fun, have created biodegradable glitter choices. “Unlike conventional plastic glitter, the glitter core is predicated on a particular modified regenerated cellulose know-how distinctive to Bioglitter derived from ethically and sustainably sourced uncooked supplies,” says Wild Glitter founder Olivia Moon on the model’s About web page.


But are these efforts sufficient? A recent study discovered that biodegradable glitter and conventional glitter prompted related ranges of environmental harm. The corporations within the research used both cellulose-based glitter that was then coated with plastic, or mica, a silicate mineral. The researchers discovered that the consequences of those extra “eco-friendly” glitters was virtually equivalent to these of standard product.

However, we should take into account that glitter, dangerous as it might be, represents a lot lower than 1% of all microplastics which are polluting our planet – and even then, a part of it comes from vacation wrapping, playing cards and packaging, reasonably than cosmetics. The examine discovering similarities between eco-glitter and standard glitter checked out massive portions of the product, reminiscent of when it’s launched throughout occasions. They have been much less involved about cosmetics.

If carrying glitter, it may very well be useful to make use of a wipe to take away it and throw it away, reasonably than washing it on the lavatory sink which inevitably leads to waterways. But in a time when plastic air pollution is at an all-time excessive, we should always all contemplate giving up, or at the least limiting, our penchant for the flicker. Pretty as it’s, it’s hardly a necessity.

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Cover picture by cottonbro.

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