7 Alternatives To Microbead Exfoliators That Are Planet-Friendly

With microbeads finally being banned in the UK, we've found the environment-friendly exfoliators so you can wave goodbye to the plastic.

MOST POPULAR

If you rummage through your beauty cabinet tonight, you'll undoubtedly find several products stored away that contain microbeads – those little plastic beads that work as cleansers to scrub off the body's dead skin cells. But although they might be good for your dry patches, microbeads are having an epically awful effect on the environment.

Which is why 2018 has delivered yet another beauty win and banned them for good. Yup, as of today microbeads can no longer be used in rinse off products, and from July 2018 will be gone from shop shelves for good. Huzzah!

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Why are microbeads so bad for the environment?

According to Beat The Microbeads, an international campaign to ban plastic beads in beauty products, microbeads are damaging water supplies, marine life and the ecological equilibrium of the planet.

The campaign outlines that micro plastics can be found on almost every beach worldwide (even on polar icecaps) and there are 5 trillion floating pieces of plastic contaminating our waters. FIVE. TRILLION.

What's worse is the fact that microbeads function in the same way as a sponge, and absorb chemicals such as pesticides and flame retardants which are ingested by marine animals and so the harmful substances can work their way up the food chain.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

In 2016, the UK's environment minister George Eustice announced that the UK fully supports a legal ban on polluting plastic microbeads in cosmetics and toiletries and finally an official ban has been passed as of today. YAS.

We're all for the planet, but we still need to scrub...

No worries, we've got you covered. There's loads of natural alternatives to microbeads that mean you can save the planet, one scrub at a time.

1. Whole oats

Oats are one of the most gentle natural exfoliants, perfect for those with sensitive skin. In the same way oats soak up milk in porridge, they soak up excess oil on the skin and work perfectly when ground in a blender and added to water to make a paste.

Oats also have anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe irritated, dry skin.

Buy instead of DIY... St. Ives Nourish And Smooth Oatmeal Scrub, £5.65

2. Jojoba beads

Commonly mistaken for plastic microbes, jojoba beads come from jojoba oil – a liquid wax derived from the jojoba shrub. Jojoba beads are biodegradable and come in a variety of colors and shapes. They're a popular alternative to microbes given their similar smooth coating which gently cleans the skin, instead of scratching it and leaving it open to bacteria.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Buy instead of DIY... Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator, £16.50

3. Salt

Given its sharper edges, salt scrubs are an abrasive alternative to microbead-filled beauty products and are best smoothed onto rough skin on the body and feet, rather than the face. Sea salt is a natural purifier that removes toxins that block the skin's pores, improves circulation and tightens the skins.

If you're making a natural salt scrub, remember to add some essential oils and olive oil to soften the paste.

Buy instead of DIY...French Girl Sea Polish, £27.95

4. Dairy

Yoghurt, sour cream and milk all contain glycol, lactic and malic acid that gently remove dead skin cells. Pour a small amount into the palm of your hand and try adding to natural exfoliants like poppy seeds or ground apricot shells for added scrubbing power.

Alternatively, add a whisked egg white for dry skin, or a spoonful of aloe vera to milk for sensitive skin.

Well, if it was good enough for Cleopatra...

Buy instead of DIY... Caudalie Glycolic Peel, £22

5. Coffee

Ground coffee is a natural exfoliator renowned for treating cellulite as an exfoliant and works perfect on stretch marks and feet while stimulating blood flow.

Buy instead of DIY... Frank Coconut Body Scrub, £13.95

6. Lemons

The Alpha Hydroxy acids (AHAs) present in lemons and other citrus fruits are natural exfoliators but can cause nasty irritation when used on their own. Try blending a few drops of lemon juice with a plain unsweetened yoghurt and apply it as a mask.

Buy instead of DIY... Skin79 Yum Yum Cleanser Lemon, £16.25

7. Sugar

As a natural source of glycolic acid, sugar boosts cell production and breaks down proteins that keep dead cells attached to your skin. To ensure it doesn't break the skin when scrubbing, mix fine sugar with a natural massage oil like olive, jojoba or grapeseed, or honey to make a paste. Gently massage into your face and rinse with water.

Buy instead of DIY... Fresh Sugar Face Polish, £21

More from ELLE UK: