These microbeads should actually be referred to as microplastics. Using these products and rinsing them down the drain is littering, the plastic won’t biodegrade.
One of the main offenders for containing microbeads are the popular exfoliating face washes, with some face washes containing over 300,000 beads per bottle (that’s a lot of plastic). These microbeads are guaranteed to become plastic pollution within our oceans, and will possibly enter the mouth of an innocent sea creature: at best this results in suboptimal functioning of the marine critter, at worst it can clog the gut and kill the animal. Seems like a lot of unnecessary harm.
A massive congratulations to Coles and Woolworths for pledging to phase out microplastics in their own products starting in 2017! This is a positive commitment, and we should praise them for it. However there is no need whatsoever to wait for 2017, or to wait for anything, we can discontinue using these environmentally destructive products right now.
Please try any of these simple, more effective, and less harmful homemade face and body scrubs. Enjoy the benefits and be creative while being kind to the sea creatures.
Oatmeal: Place oatmeal in the palm of your hand, drip water onto it, then apply to a dampened face. Easy, gentile, moisturising and the perfect exfoliant for sensitive skin.
Bi-Carb Soda: Apply to damp face, rub in circular motions=glowing skin. This is my favourite as it requires the least amount of preparation, creates the least amount of mess and I get the best results.
Sea Salt: I find this much harsher than other natural exfoliants, so it’s more of a body scrub than a facial scrub. Mix with a small amount of oil (I like Australian olive oil, but this part is entirely up to you- be as creative as you like) to make a paste, then apply generously to skin in circular motions.
Coffee Gounds: This is a great use for used coffee grounds; way better than sending them to landfill. Mix with a small amount of oil to make a paste and apply.
Sugar: This is supposed to be a natural source of glycolic acid; the high acidity and easy solubility makes it an effective exfoliant.
Honey: Apply honey to the face like a mask, it hydrates while it exfoliates and it comes with a bunch of other benefits such as anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.