What is Biodegradable Glitter Made Of? Is It Cosmetic Glitter?
Biodegradable glitter can be cosmetic glitter but cosmetic glitter is not eco-friendly glitter... Wait what? Come again?
Let me explain in a bit more detail... We all know what 'glitter' is, so that is a good start. But when you think about it, how would you define glitter? Well, according to the interwebs, it is a "shine with a bright, shimmering reflected light".
In the beauty industry, we know it to be indeed bright, shimmery and shiny and we also know it to be a fine, colourful substance that we apply to our eyes, face and body to express ourselves and to have a good time!
Okay great - with that settled, let's now get into the nitty-gritty, micro-fine details to shed a shiny bright light on the difference between cosmetic glitter and biodegradable glitter! And I promise there won't be any more glitter puns.
Cosmetic glitter is typically made from PET plastic, or coined 'polyester' by glitter companies as a fancy way of saying - plastic. Sigh. Cosmetic glitter is different from craft glitter which is made from metal and cut at angles, making it too harsh for application on our skin as it may cause abrasions.
In other words, please don't apply cheap craft glitter to your face - even if you just spent your last few dollars on hot chippies (we have all been there).
Alternatively, biodegradable glitter is typically made from plant-based cellulose that is pressed down into a very thin film that acts as a fantastic replacement for the plastic film used in cosmetic glitter. The cellulose can then be coloured with non-toxic pigment using the exact same processes.
Cosmetic glitter may be suitable for humans, but it is certainly not environmentally-friendly
Okay, so cosmetic glitter is 'safe' for us to apply to our skin... but is that the end of the story? If it was, this would be a very short article! But the answer is no - that is only Chapter 1, so here is Chapter 2.
Most cosmetic glitters on the market are made from PET plastic, meaning that they are, by definition, microplastics because they are less than 5mm in size. Microplastics are a huge problem for our marine life as these tiny particles are washed into our waterways after we use them and can eventually end up in our oceans.
The reason microplastics are of such high concern is because our beautiful marine life mistake plastic glitter for food. Once microplastics are digested by wildlife, they remain in their stomachs for their entire lifetime and even make their way up the food-chain when other marine life, birds and even humans consume them! For this reason, plastic glitter's ugly step sister, microbeads, have already been widely banned.
So what sets biodegradable glitter apart from its conventional cosmetic counterpart?
Biodegradable glitter, or similarly referred to as eco-friendly glitter, is plant-based and typically takes about 4 to 12 weeks to 'biodegrade' or 'decompose', depending on the environmental conditions it is exposed to i.e. heat, sunlight and moisture.
Our biodegradable glitter can also be considered cosmetic glitter because it is non-toxic and cut into round shapes that make it suitable for use on the eyes, face and body.
Here are the 4 main differences between cosmetic glitter and biodegradable glitter:
Ingredients. Biodegradable glitter is plant-based whilst cosmetic glitter is typically made from PET plastic. Our biodegradable glitter is cruelty free, vegan and made from 95% eucalyptus leaves.
Lifespan. While biodegradable glitter biodegrades within a few weeks, conventional cosmetic glitter will remain in the environment for hundreds of years after you wash it off.
Packaging. Ethically-minded companies that sell biodegradable glitter will likely be more conscious of its packaging in order to avoid excessive single-use plastics. This ensures that the glitter is not only low-impact, but the packaging is also completely guilt-free! Feel free to check out Our Refill Program.
Range. Eucalyptus leaves are turned into an ultra-fine cellulose film that forms the base for our biodegradable glitter. This film acts as a mother-nature lovin' replacement for the plastic film used for cosmetic glitter, without any compromise on quality. This ensures that biodegradable glitter is not lacklustre in any way when it comes to colour range, easy application and ultra shine!
In summary, both biodegradable glitter and cosmetic glitter are safe for cosmetic uses. However, both types of glitter have very different characteristics when the entire lifecycle of the glitters and the health of our environment are considered.
When it comes to cosmetic products, the natural option is not only better for our skin but better for our precious wildlife and the environment!