Picture a world where your favorite exfoliating shower gel, face wash, or body scrub is pulled off the shelf. You scour every pharmacy, corner store, and supermarket to try and find it, but you simply can’t! As it happens, this is what the future will be  after a ban on microbeads was signed into law on December 28th. But, what is a microbead exactly?

Microbeads are the little pieces of plastic found in most mainstream exfoliating products. Solid pieces of plastic less than 5 millimeters wide, microbeads have been used by cosmetic companies for years as a cheap way of producing exfoliating properties in their products. They are found in almost all the big brands, which means that this law will effect products that you as a consumer use on a day to day basis. So, why ban them?

While these companies claim that microbeads are great for helping exfoliate and clear your skin, they have the opposite effect on our environment. When microbeads are washed down the drain each time you wash your face, you may just forget all about them. But those beads don’t just disappear. Instead, they wind up being funneled back into our water supplies. Now imagine that it’s not just your microbeads getting put into the water every day, but everyone on your block, your neighborhood, your town, and beyond. These little plastic microbeads don’t dissolve. Instead they pollute our waterways. In fact, Environmental Science & Technology reported that on a daily basis, more than 8 trillion microbeads enter the waterways in the United States.

So yes, you might be mourning your favorite skin-brightening face wash, but by finding an alternative, you’re helping the environment while keeping your skin healthy and beautiful. You’re probably thinking, what exactly are the alternatives? Well, natural exfoliants have been used in cosmetic products long before the introduction of plastic microbeads. Here are a few products that have exfoliating elements which are wonderful for both your face and for the environment.

Lush’s Dark Angels Cleanser – $12.95

I swear by pretty much all things Lush, but no face wash has worked for me as well as their Dark Angels facial cleanser. Using both charcoal and black sugar as exfoliants, it helps polish up skin that needs a clean, while also softening the skin. Charcoal has been proven to have oil-absorbing properties, which makes this a great exfoliating cleanser for acne-prone skin.


Elements’ Archipelago Botanicals Oat Sugar Scrub – $19.00

During the winter, my hands, arms, and elbows get extremely dry. Like, Sahara desert dry. So I’m always looking for a product to get rid of that dead, flaky, gross skin and nourish the new skin. Which is why this oat sugar scrub is literally perfect. The oat proteins increase the ability for skin to hold moisture while the sugar gently scrubs away dead skin cells and cleanses the pores. Combined, they create an amazing smoothing effect that helps minimize roughness and wrinkles.

L’Occitane’s Almond Delicious Paste – $42.00

This stuff is no joke. With a mix of sugar and crushed almond, this exfoliating butter is perfect for just about anywhere on your body that needs a little bit of revitalization. Keeping with the almond theme, it also revives the skin with a blend of almond butter and almond oil.  This creamy exfoliant leaves the skin moisturized and baby smooth, which is perfect for the cold months ahead with your new fave product.

To see more of our favorite skincare products head to our Beauty page.

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Do you use any products that contain microbeads?

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16 Responses

  1. Sharday L

    As far as I know I’ve never used any products with microbeads. I love my exfoliating products, but the ones I use have 100% natural exfoliants.

  2. Sandy Weinstein

    yes, i have several products that have microbeads, i also have facial cloths that have them as well. they do very well with exfoliating the skin.

  3. gina blades

    No, the microdermabrasion paste I use from Rodan+Fields doesn’t contain microbeads.

  4. patricia

    I stopped using microbeads after reading about the “plastic” issue. I do use other types of scrubs. The more natural, the better. Thank you for this article.

  5. Stephanie V.

    I’ve tried them in the past but found these types of products a bit rough on my skin. Love your reviews though!
    tvollowitz at aol dot com

  6. amy stonger

    I used one or two products years ago with microbeads but I haven’t used them recently.


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