Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 23 August 2019

Face value: this holiday season, step away from harmful glitter

Sparkle if you must, but opt for biodegradable glitter instead

Glitter may be the latest beauty craze but regular glitter is made of aluminium and a plastic called PET.
Glitter may be the latest beauty craze but regular glitter is made of aluminium and a plastic called PET.

Christmas is a week away, and ’tis the time to sparkle as the festive season is in full swing. It’s also that time of year when outlandish glitter looks start popping up on social media timelines – glitter brows, glitter beards and even, uncomfortably, glitter tongues. While a lot of these looks are created to be outrageous just so they go viral, they also seem to inspire regular folk to recreate these trends and claim their few minutes of Insta fame.

The one that I feel most strongly about, though, is glitter face peel-off masks. So you take that one cool Instagram picture, and then what? Glitter has absolutely no benefits for your skin. The product may have “glow” in its name, but you aren’t getting any of that – on the contrary, you are more likely to get scratches on your delicate facial skin from the harsh edges of glitter, which is made of aluminium and a plastic called PET, and classified as microplastic.

A look from Eco Glitter Fun:

Since most glitter is rinsed off, it eventually finds its way to the oceans, where it not only causes pollution, but also interferes with marine animals, which confuse it with food and ingest it. In the United Kingdom, for example, marine biologists found microplastic in a third of the fish caught in the country, according to a report in The Guardian – which means that glitter you smeared on yourself at that Ugly Jumper party can potentially end up inside your body. If the fish survive, that is.

When PET breaks down inside the body, it can disrupt hormone levels in fish and humans. If we are trying to be more conscious about switching to reusable cutlery and the like, a few small changes in your beauty routine will go a long way, too. And it’s not just chunky body or eye glitter that is the culprit here. Some companies sneak tiny specks in face, hand and body washes that make a difference as well.

To be honest, I’ve never been the biggest fan of glitter ­– especially since it took me a week to get every tiny little bit out of my curly hair after a school dance. But I am no party pooper, either. Sparkle if you must, but opt for biodegradable glitter, instead. Yes, that’s a thing. Made from plant cellulose, essentially fibres from eucalyptus trees, this version breaks down completely, and doesn’t cause any harm to flora, fauna or you.

Glitter from EcoStardust:

There are number of indie brands to choose from, and among the bigger brands, Sleek MakeUp offers eco-friendly glitter. A variety of colours and sizes are available from EcoStardust, and you can place an order directly from its website (www.ecostardust.com), or shop the brand on Asos.com. Beauty Bay (www.beautybay.com), which also ships to the UAE, stocks a variety of iridescent and sparkly options from The Gypsy Shrine (£6; Dh28), as well as Mermaid Body Glitter Gel (£5; Dh23.29), which is infused with aloe vera. Based in the United Kingdom, Eco Glitter Fun (www.ecoglitterfun.com) offers all the types of glitter you could possibly need – for face, body, hair and even for crafts, and the brand can create a bespoke mix should you desire.

And while Instagram is a great place to find inspiration to create looks with your new biodegradable glitter, just don’t trust anyone who posts a picture with a glitter face mask.


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Updated: December 19, 2018 12:12 PM