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Glitter Shimmering Shiny: Not Eco Safe

Makeup brushes powder

Let’s all admit it: we love glitter. Anything that sparkles and our inner Magpie comes out to play! And it’s always in fashion, though sometimes it’s bang on trend. This year it was definitely the year of the glitter festival. Search for the hastag #glitterbum if you want 5 minutes of merriment. You can thank me later! (I found this hastag thanks to my professional beauty industry magazine Vitality from BABTAC & CIBTAC, I just had to share the fun).

Plus, there’s the whole unicorn craze on the makeup side of things. My Facebook newsfeed is full of YouTube videos of glittery highlighters. I’ll admit, I have one (though less glitter and more iridescent fine powder …. Yes I know I’m 35 …).

I’ve also seen my social media full of glittery nails, glittery beards, glittery eyebrows, glittery hair (what better way to hide the regrowth!). I also happen to own a glitter lip colour. It’s glitter, glitter everywhere. If you’ve ever worked with glitter you know it literally does go everywhere.

However, there is growing concern from within the industry, and from the environmental community, about the impact all this glitter has on the environment. Could it be that glitter is as bad for the environment as microbeads?

What is glitter?

For the most part glitter is small bits of non-biodegradable micro plastic. Much like microbeads in fact. Due to the small size pieces of glitter are exceptionally difficult to clean up and dispose of. In the salon we can vacuum up what we can, but some of the fine glitter powders hang in the air and settle on clothing. Outside, particularly during festival season, glitter accumulates in areas that can be detrimental to the ecosystems. Whether glitter stays inland or washes out into the water ways, making its way to the ocean, it is obvious that it is becoming a problem.

Glitter in the beauty industry

The best option for professionals and non-professionals alike is to purchase glitter made from biodegradable or natural compounds rather than plastic. This means steering clear of the very cheap products available in any high street beauty and fashion store. Check the ingredients of your products carefully before you buy them. If you see anything listed as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) consider that a big fat NO!

My unicorn highlighter is made from a mineral based product called mica that is naturally found in its raw form and is used in mineral makeup.

When in doubt it is probably advisable to steer clear of the glitter as much as you can. With the Christmas season fast approaching this might prove to be a bit more difficult than you can imagine!

We at Beauty Gallery will be double checking our glittery products in the salon and reviewing their use.

A big thank you to Vitality magazine for their article on glitter in the September/October 2017 issue.