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What Is the Difference between Microbeads and Glitter?

January 25, 2018 2 min read

What Is the Difference between Microbeads and Glitter?

Unless you’ve been living under that proverbial rock, you know about microbeads – those tiny plastic beads that were so prominently used in exfoliating products and face washes just a few years ago. What connection do they have with glitter? What’s the difference? Actually, there’s really no difference between the two.

The Truth about Glitter

If you were asked what glitter is made from, what would your answer be? Most people think about it for a moment and then shrug their shoulders. They don’t know. Others might say something like paper or metal, but neither of these is actually right. Glitter is made from plastic, just like microbeads. And, just like microbeads, glitter ends up in the soil, in the groundwater, in rivers and, ultimately, in the ocean.

That’s right – the glitter in your makeup has more in common with a compact disc or your laptop than with anything else. Microbeads are almost the same. They’re just a different size and not sparkly. However, while there’s been a lot of outrage over the use of microbeads in consumer products lately, there has not been much about the use of glitter. Considering the fact that glitter is used more heavily today than ever before, it’s very concerning.

The Problem with Glitter

As mentioned above, glitter is made with plastic, and as anyone who has ever tried to clean up spilled glitter can attest, it’s pretty much impossible to make it go away. Because it’s plastic, glitter doesn’t actually decompose. It stays around almost forever. Eventually, it does break down into smaller and smaller particles, but it never truly disappears.

When it gets into the environment, glitter winds up in streams and rivers that eventually empty into the ocean. Here, those tiny particles are consumed by plankton and fish. Then those animals are eaten by larger predators, and the plastic just moves up the food chain. In fact, it eventually winds up inside people who eat seafood. Scientists estimate that a person who eats an “average amount” of seafood will ultimately consume 11,000 pieces of plastic in their lifetime.

So, all of those tiny glittery specks in your makeup that you wash off every night, or end up in the trash on a wipe will eventually make their way into the environment, where they’ll cause untold amounts of damage. That kind of puts a damper on the fun aspect of glitter, doesn’t it?

There’s a Solution

While no one can redeem plastic glitter, there is a solution. At Bodyfx.co.nz we believe in having fun and feeling beautiful but also in protecting the environment. That’s why we stock biodegradable glitter made from plant tissue (cellulose). It’s completely natural, completely biodegradable, and doesn’t harm the environment. Ready to help us change the world? Click here to buy Bio Glitter.


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