Microbeads and Our Natural Alternatives

Posted by Liz Earle Beauty Co. September 7, 2016 | 2 min read

Each day, countless microbeads are washed down bathroom plugholes into the oceans, posing a threat to both wildlife and the planet. Toxic pollutants such as pesticides have also been shown to bind to microbeads, which are then consumed by small marine animals, including zooplankton, before heading up the food chain – possibly to land on our own plates.

As a brand, we’ve always been passionate about responsible sourcing – so right from the outset we’ve used natural, renewable materials whenever possible. As a result, using tiny plastic particles we all know as microbeads in any of our products just wasn’t on our agenda, either then or now.

Natural exfoliates are, and always have been, what we use. We catch up with our Environmental Advisor, Geoff Day, to hear all about how we source our exfoliates.

The most commonly used exfoliate in Liz Earle Beauty Co. products is jojoba beads – made from the wax found in seeds of the desert shrub Simmondsia chinesis. The plant is endemic in North America, where it grows freely in desert and semi desert locations.

The oil extracted from the jojoba seeds (actually a wax ester) is different from most other vegetable oils in that the structure is chemically very close to the skin’s natural oils. To create the small spherical beads, the pale yellow jojoba wax is hydrogenated, which whitens and hardens it. The resulting hardened wax is then warmed and dropped from a height to create smooth spheres. These tiny beads do an amazing job of gently buffing away dead skin cells, which is why we use it in our Gentle Face Exfoliator. These biodegradable spheres are much kinder to the environment (and your skin) than microbeads.

If you are trying to avoid microbeads, then in general, any products using the eco-friendly alternatives should tell you which ones they use on the ingredients list on the pack. Look for things such as sugar, ground almond shells, sea salt, ground olive stones, pumice or jojoba beads. An easy alternative is to download a free smartphone app from campaign group Beat the Bead, which lets you scan a product’s barcode to check for microbeads. Go on – take a look and help protect our planet!

The Liz Earle Beauty Team x