Microbeads are tiny plastic beads that are used in personal care products, such as facial exfoliators and other body products. Sewage treatment plants are generally not designed to filter out such tiny particles, so they end up polluting waterways. Ever since I learned about the dangers they pose to waterways and the creatures that live in them I have avoided using them in favour of exfoliators without microbeads.
Reading ingredient lists to figure out if they contain plastic can be seriously confusing so I’ve done the work for you. In this post I’ve rounded up a list of exfoliators that are free of polluting microbeads. I’ve used these products myself and can recommend using them. Some plastic-free scrubs rely on harsh pieces like shell that end up harming your skin but these are gentle. The brands included are Goodness, Trilogy, Oasis Beauty, Dermalogica, and River Veda. All were provided to me as press samples.
Goodness Every Week Face Scrub
Goodness Natural Beauty Lab is a relatively new range that uses Certified Organic Chia Seed Oil as its main ingredient. The Every Week Face Scrub uses powdered pumice as the exfoliating ingredient which is both gentle on the skin and kind to our waterways. Adding to the Goodness eco-friendly credentials is the fact that they use recyclable packaging. It’s the most affordable microbead-free exfoliator in this round up and you can just pop it in the trolley with your groceries.
Trilogy Gentle Facial Exfoliant
I have been using Trilogy Gentle Facial Exfoliant on a regular basis for the last year and my skin loves me for it. It is formulated with natural, biodegradable and non-abrasive jojoba wax beads. It can also be used as a mask, due to the kaolin clay. Apply it all over your face (avoiding the delicate eye area), leave it for 5 minutes, and then rinse it off. Jojoba wax beads are common in exfoliators without microbeads, because they are from a natural source without being rough like shell or seeds. You can even buy them and add them to products yourself but – I’ll leave that to the professionals!
River Veda Replenish Crystal Clear Grain Exfoliant
River Veda is a brand that was new to me before I received it for this post, and it was exciting to discover it. It comes in a powder that you mix in with an oil or cream cleanser. I liked that because you can just add it to any other cleanser that you like, and use as much or as little as you like. Plus if you’re travelling flying anywhere you can take it in your carry on without it counting towards your liquids, aerosols, and gels limit – bonus. The powder is made from rice, and also includes Pomegranate Fruit Enzymes to encourage cell renewal.
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
Continuing on the powder exfoliant train is Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, which is similar to the River Veda in some ways, but different in others. This one you just mix with water and it combines to create a paste that you cleanse with. The packaging is different too, it comes in a bottle that you shake the powder into your hand from. The only real way to describe the dispenser is that it’s like something on the top of salt or pepper! Dermalogica has made this to be gentle enough to use daily but I stick to 2-3 times a week.
Oasis Beauty Fruit Smoothie Exfoliating Face Mask
With this Fruit Smoothie you get two different uses for the price of one! You can use it as an exfoliator or leave it on as a face mask. I have made use of it in both ways, but mostly as a mask. I apply a layer of it on my skin, leave for 5 minutes and then wet my hands and massage it onto my skin as I wash it off. You can also use it as a lip scrub but don’t lick it off!
Oasis Beauty Fruit Smoothie Exfoliating Face Mask is made of kaolin and pink clays, which gently exfoliate for smoother skin. Those with oily skin may find their faces less oily after using clay masks also. It also includes jojoba beads as well as pineapple and pink grapefruit enzymes. As a side note, jojoba is pronounced ho-ho-ba, as it’s a Spanish word, like jalapeño.
So there we have it – the 5 best exfoliators without microbeads. If you would like to know more about the dangers of microbeads, and what to look for on ingredient lists then please read my post – How microbeads pollute the ocean. One tube of facial scrub can contain more than 300 000 plastic microbeads which is extremely concerning for the environment. The main ingredient to avoid is Polyethylene, so keep an eye out for that.
New Zealand stockists and prices for the exfoliators without microbeads I’ve written about in this post are listed below.
- Goodness Every Week Face Scrub RRP $15.99 (50ml). Available from supermarkets, Farmers, The Warehouse and online from Healthpost
- Trilogy (75ml) RRP $41.90. Available from Farmers, department stores, pharmacies, health food stores and TrilogyProducts.com
- Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant RRP $99 for 74g, 38 for 13g. See www.dermalogica.co.nz for nearest stockist or to purchase online.
- River Veda Replenish Crystal Clear Grain Exfoliant RRP$45.00 30g / 1.05 oz. Available from WorldOrganic.co.nz
- Oasis Beauty Fruit Smoothie RRP$39.90 (50ml). Available from selected health stores and pharmacies nationwide and online at OasisBeauty.com