SHE Picks: Microbead Free Exfoliants

We all know plastic is bad for the environment, that’s why we recycle. What most of us don’t know is the environmental impact our beauty regime is having, with some of our most coveted exfoliators containing one of the most environmentally unfriendly plastics out there: microbeads. Microbeads are soft plastic microspheres, usually less than one millimetre in diameter, that are often touted as the gentlest method of mechanical exfoliation (explaining why they are the main scrubbing agent in a majority of non-chemical exfoliants). While microbeads do offer some benefit to our skin, their porous structure and small size are an environmental hazard. Made of lower density polyethylene (to make them flexible), these exfoliants are like sponges, absorbing all the chemicals they come across when you rinse them down the drain. And, while the idea putting something known for absorbing chemicals on your face is scary on its own, the real problem starts when they hit the sink. On their journey from favourite face wash to waste, they soak up everything from the drain cleaners in your own sink to sewage treatments in the plants they travel through. And due to their microscopic size, sewage treatment centres are unable to filter them out, leaving them to pour out into our oceans, rivers, and lakes (with some studies reporting an average of 43,000 particles per square kilometer in the Great Lakes). Our fish are literally swimming in (and inadvertently ingesting) poisoned microbeads. This affects not only worldwide aquatic life, but also anyone eating anything coming out of any body of water, which is why the Canadian, American, and Dutch governments are making moves to ban or limit the use of microbeads. While it will likely be a while before we see any type of legislation against microbeads enacted, we thought we would give you a head start on the top microbead free exfoliants. St. Ives Exfoliating Apricot Scrub $7.99 at London Drugs This is the classic introductory exfoliant. It gets the job done (without microbeads, chemicals, or enzymes) and doesn't break the bank. It comes in many varieties to suit your needs, with the sensitive skin, fresh skin, and the timeless skin containing 100% naturally derived exfoliating agents. St Ives' Fresh Skin Exfoliating Apricot Scrub Burt's Bees Exfoliating Facial Cleansing Towelettes in Peach & Willowbark $9.99 at Utilizing peach pits for a mechanical exfoliant and willow bark extract as a deep cleaning chemical exfoliant, these cleansing wipes allow you to take conscious beauty on the go. Peach_Willowbark_Towelettes_CA380 Kiehls Pineapple Papaya Facial Scrub $38.00 at This facial scrub relies solely on enzymes to rid you of dead cells. While microscopic living enzymes munching away at your cells might seem scary, the enzymes in this cleanser are all natural, sourced from its namesake pineapple and papaya ingredients. They've also added sesame oil to help moisturize and reduce the need to exfoliate. Untitled Bite Beauty Whipped Cherry Lip Scrub $21.00 at Sephora Exfoliating isn't just reserved for the more resilient skin of the face, especially in harsh weather. Lips need love too, and Bite Beauty is here to help with their 100% natural cherry flavoured lip mousse. Utilizing natural chemical exfoliants in fruit acids and rice bran as a mechanical exfoliant, this one is also food safe. s1392489-main-hero the Body Shop Honeymania Body Scrub $22.00 at the Body Shop The Body Shop offers a range of non-microbead body and face exfoliants. This one made the cut because of its use of fair trade honey to moisturize and adds a subtle honey scent (which smells pleasant but won't battle with your perfume). honeymania-body-scrub_l By Lindsay Cooper

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