Why People Are Calling For Glitter To Be Banned

Despite how much we claim to find it childish, or how, like sand, it manages to appear in every crevice of your life for weeks afterwards, few of us are immune to the siren call of glitter come festival time.

But for something so infinitesimally small, glitter can spell big trouble. 60 UK festivals (and counting), including Bestival, Shambala and Boomtown, have pledged to remove glitter from their campgrounds by 2021, and a new petition addressed to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Michael Gove is calling for it to be banned altogether.

Just like the now-banned microbeads, most glitter is made up of tiny plastic particles, some as small as mere nanometers in diameter. They’re in our oceans, they’re made from a fossil fuel (petroleum) and according to the New York Times, they take about 1,000 years to biodegrade.

There is another source of glitter that isn’t made of plastic – the mineral mica which, when finely milled, has a naturally shimmery finish. However, ethical concerns abound, as the Indian region that’s home to the world’s largest natural reserves has been reported to have high levels of child labour and poor worker safety. Some brands like L’Oréal have partnered with NGOs to help ensure sustainable, fair procurement of mica, so diligent product label checking is the only way of knowing for sure.

It’s not just beauty that’s in the crosshairs, though. Glitter crops up in a surprisingly diverse number of industries, from construction to dental care and sporting goods (though not always in the overt form you’d expect – plywood manufacturers use hidden layers in their product to prevent counterfeiting, for example).

For peace of mind and ease, biodegradable glitter is the obvious choice. Made from extracts like synthetic mica or plant cellulose, these products give glitter minus the guilt. And banish thoughts of anything gloopy, chunky or scratchy – these options will still add a playful edge to a smokey eye, or lend a sultry sheen to the skin. Discover the best below.


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