Bye Bye, Beads
So, maybe you’ve heard the news. In fact, it’s been talked about for quite some time.
That’s right: microbeads.
If you’ve picked up a commercial toothpaste, face scrub, or hand soap, you may have come across the little plastic sparkles. They’re great abrasive tools, and made their way into skincare quite rapidly.
However, they’re terrible for the environment. They absorb toxins, take up a massive surface area once flushed out into open water, and are ingested by fish and other creatures. This contributes to the spread of pollutants and the destruction of the natural ecosystem.
The US stopped manufacturing products with microbeads last year, and as of this July have banned all sales of microbead-containing products. This is a huge step for environmental safety, but maybe a bummer for your skincare routine. Keep your chin up (and exfoliated), we’ve got some alternatives.
1. Sea Salt
That’s right, our first alternative is in your kitchen pantry. Sea salt makes a great natural exfoliant because it’s full of trace minerals that invigorate your skin while removing dead skin cells. The only downside is moisture loss, as salt alone will dry your skin out. The best remedy for this is mixing it with your favorite massage oil, like coconut oil, to form a grainy scrub. The sea salt will detoxify, brighten, and exfoliate your skin, and the coconut oil will lay down some major moisture on your fresh face.
Sugar … salt … no, we’re not baking cookies. Sugar is another great exfoliant, and a little more gentle on the skin than sea salt. Sugar is full of glycolic acid, which promotes new skin cell growth. Not every sugar is good for your face, however. Processed sugars dissolve faster, and contain less glycolic acid than raw sugars. Try looking for unprocessed, raw sugar to make your face scrub, and mix it with your favorite hydrating natural oils.
Okay, maybe we’re making cookies. But oatmeal makes for an excellent exfoliant, too! It is very gentle, appropriate even for a baby’s skin or for people who are sensitive to harsh abrasives. Its natural anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness and swelling, making it perfect for an after-sunburn cleanser. If you’re in the mood for a softer cleaning experience, oatmeal is the ideal product for you.
Dunk your cookies in this! Just kidding, we’re talking about coffee grounds. This is a great way to recycle, because you can use your morning grounds as a face scrub! The brewing process doesn’t decrease the exfoliating power. Coffee grounds are also great for energizing the skin. Caffeine is a natural diuretic, which means it encourages water loss - yes, this is why you need so many breaks after your espresso shots. This reduces swelling, especially around your eyes. Wake up with some coffee, in two ways!
5. Almond Meal
Another soft alternative to more vigorous scrubs, almond meal makes for an excellent exfoliant. The fine grains gently remove dead skin cells, and the natural vitamin E present in almonds make this a less drying option. Mix it with honey for an extra boost of cleansing power! Honey has natural antibacterial properties, so it makes sure your skin is clean even when using a gentle scrub.
Microbead who? That’s what we thought. The best part of these natural alternatives, besides being much better for the environment, is that they’re easily available at any grocery store. You probably have at least one lying around right now! As always, we’re all for replacing commercial, chemical-laden products with natural alternatives, and we can confirm these natural solutions are the real deal.