Glitter is having a major moment – probably its biggest one since our childhood years. From fairly tame glitter manicures and eyeshadow, to the more recent, out-there sparkly roots and encrusted lips trends, it’s EVERYWHERE.

But if you care about the planet, you may want to step away from the unicorn dust – scientists say glitter is harmful to the environment.


What’s bad about it?

Glitter flakes are made up of aluminium and a type of plastic called PET, which is also found in the microbeads of some body washes and facial scrubs. When we wash off our glittery make-up, it goes down the drain and eventually ends up in our oceans.

What’s bad about PET is that as it breaks down, it releases chemicals that can disrupt the natural hormones of marine creatures – bad news for those sea creatures, and for those of us who consume a lot of seafood. It’s even worse if marine animals ingest PET directly, as it has been linked to neurological disease and certain cancers.

And just in case you think the amount of PET ending up in the sea couldn’t possibly be enough to make an impact, think again: around eight million tons of the stuff is being dumped into our oceans daily. Daily. The impact it’s having is noticeable enough that scientists are clammering to ban it altogether.

What’s the solution?

For now, there isn’t one, except using your buying power to encourage beauty brands to develop eco-friendly alternatives to PET. Until then, try to limit your glitter usage to special occasions only. We have only one planet, and it’s our job to protect it.

Read more beauty stories.