Who knew that something as simple as washing your face could have a massive, negative impact on the health of our lakes and oceans?
When microbeads began appearing in body washes, facial cleansers and toothpastes, they promised a deep, scrubby clean for your whole body. Over time, however, we began to learn that these tiny microplastics were doing more harm than good: they were becoming toxic to our waterways and marine wildlife.
What’s happening now?
In 2018, up to 380,000 microbeads per square kilometre of ocean water were found around Hong Kong, according to the research published by the University of Hong Kong. These pollutants mainly stem from the use of personal care or cosmetic products, such as facial scrubs and toothpaste. Although there is an increasing number of countries introducing a legislative ban to prohibit the sale of personal care products containing plastic microbeads in the markets, the same level of measure is still out of sight in Hong Kong.
Microplastics (or microbeads) are tiny plastic particles used in a variety of cosmetics and exfoliating body washes and facial cleansers. Since they’re too small to be filtered by water treatment systems, they end up in lakes, oceans and the animals that live there—and once they’re there, they never biodegrade and remain at the bottom of our waterways until they’re consumed by marine life. These plastic particles also act as sponges, soaking up a million times more toxic chemicals than the water around it. Once eaten, those toxins can pass into the tissues of fish and other marine animals, eventually ending up in our food chain.
Cosmetics don’t need plastics, anyway
Thankfully, cleansers using natural ingredients are readily available, so you won’t have trouble finding an environmentally friendly product that’ll leave your skin looking clear and fresh. You’ll find ground almonds, maize flour, ground aduki beans, rice and sea salt in products like Angels On Bare Skin, Let The Good Times Roll, Mask Of Magnaminty, Scrubee, Buffy and Ocean Salt. From head to toe, you can exfoliate away unwanted dry bits for smooth, glowing skin. And when you wash these products down the drain, their natural ingredients will break down without harming our ecosystem.
Scrubby ingredients aren’t the only microplastics threatening our waterways: glitter is a huge offender, too. For our glitters and lusters, we’ve done away with microplastics completely by switching to synthetic mica. Our ingredient suppliers have worked hard to develop plastic-free alternatives for our products, making them safer for the environment.
Everything we wash down the drain will eventually end up somewhere in our ecosystem—and in the case of non-biodegradable microplastics, they’ll stay there forever. So, say goodbye to microbeads and kiss plastic glitter goodbye! And remember, cosmetics with natural, safe ingredients are easy to source and will leave your skin feeling clean, smooth and radiant.
Translated by Ester Cheng ; Edited by Kadii Chan.