My history with glitter starts with me caking myself in it for school discos (no photo evidence, before you ask). There was glitter gel, glitter hair mascara, glitter roll on, glitter lip gloss… It, well, it didn’t look great. And it didn’t get much more sophisticated from there. Luckily, though, there are people out there who know how to make these things look good. Every single make-up artist at the spring/summer ’18 fashion week shows, for instance.
Seriously, if you take a peek at any of the backstage close up shots, you’ll notice that, after building over the last few seasons, the glitter beauty trend went stratospheric for SS18. From subtle dustings of sparkle to all out sci-fi looks, glitter was everywhere and given that fashion week is way ahead of the game, that means that this spring/summer it’s going to be bigger than ever. But you’ll have to excuse me a second while I reveal my true identity: The Eco-Warrior Fun Spoiler™. I hate to break it to you but glitter is really bad for the environment.
You might have heard about a chain of nurseries banning it just before Christmas or read something about how much environmentalists hate it. Maybe this is a total revelation to you. Either way, here are the facts: standard glitter is essentially loads of tiny pieces of plastic, also known as microplastics, and they’re plaguing our planet. Just like the microbeads in cosmetics that just got banned, when they wash away down the drain they can do a lot of damage. Often too tiny to be filtered out at water treatment plants, the glimmering remnants of our nights out and festivals can make their way into our oceans, adding to the trillions of pieces of plastic that are estimated to be in there already.
When it reaches the ocean, glitter’s bite sized dimensions makes it look like appealing food to fish that, sadly, gobble it all up. Sometimes eating plastic is fatal for them or sometimes, those fish make their way to the dinner table, meaning we end up eating plastic too.
At this point, I can almost feel the deeply primal upset that you’re experiencing due to the fact that you’re going to have to give up glitter, so I’ll hit you with the good news: eco-friendly glitter is here to rescue us all. That’s right, we can sparkle every single day if we want to without hurting our lovely planet. And we’ve got science to thank for it.
Yep, a scientist called Stephen Cotton decided to tackle the real issues. The important stuff. The stuff that really counts. So, he got to work on a biodegradable glitter made from eucalyptus and aluminium. Unlike standard glitter which is plastic and therefore will be around for years and years to come, this eco-friendly alternative will break down in the ocean, the soil or in a composting facility.
That’s not all that’s great about it. It’s also vegan, cruelty-free and much softer than its plastic counterpart, so no more angry, red skin the next day. To apply, just dab the area you want to add some sparkle to with lip balm, coconut oil, aloe vera gel or something similar that has a slightly sticky consistency. Then simply use a make-up brush or your finger to apply the glitter over the top.
It sounds kind of niche, but you’d be surprised how many places you can buy it from for a seriously reasonable price. To stock up, take a look at EcoStardust, Eco Glitter Fun, Wild Glitter or have a browse on Etsy for indie sellers.
And there you have it, the easiest way to help save the planet and look amazing as you’re doing it.
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Image: Katie Edmunds