Thursday, December 7, 2017

Glitter makeup: 2017 holiday

lol sorry for the extreme editing

So, I try to have one holiday trend post per year around this time (read my prev post on sequins!), and this year is unfortunately glittery makeup. Glitter and shimmer stuff is everywhere these days. I say unfortunate, because there's no way to get ethical glitter/shimmer makeup.

For two reasons. The first reason is that plastic glitter is about the worst thing you can do to animals in the oceans. I see all these vegans on instagram with glitter all over their face scolding about natural leathers, when at the end of the day, all the microplastics will poison generations of fish as the plastic works its way up the food chain. In 2015, the US banned microplastics in bath soaps for the damage it does to wildlife. From this good article in Fortune, posted on November 30:
One in three fish caught in Great Britain had ingested microplastics, according to a 2012 study from Professor Richard Thompson at Plymouth University. Sea creatures from mackerel to zooplankton have been found to eat plastics, with some species choosing them over their typical diets.
The scientific community overall would like to ban glitter and other microplastics, not just in bath products, but everywhere. I support this ban. However, IF you are using glitter makeup, DO NOT WASH IT OFF. Use a napkin or makeup sponge to remove it, and throw it into the LANDFILL TRASH.

The second reason the look/trend isn't ethical is because even if you don't use plastic glitter, you are using the environmentally friendly mica powders, made of mica, one of the most abundant minerals on Earth. I promise you if you go outside, you will find mica. It's in granite and other common rocks. If any rock sparkles and shimmers, it's got mica.
mica powder for nails (and natural clear top coat)
Unfortunately, it's usually sourced with child labor. Even Lush, which tries to be ethical, had to pull its mica products off the shelves. From the Lush site:
In recent years, it's been difficult to find an ethical source of Indian natural mica, as the use of child labour in the mining process in endemic. When buying, guaranteeing that the supply chain was free from child labour meant relying on assurances from producers and manufacturers. It also meant carrying out audits whenever possible. On some sites visits were not possible and Lush didn't feel confident that our previous supplier's audits could guarantee that child labour wasn't a possibility. For these reasons, Lush made the commitment not to use any natural mica based pigments in products. This involved removing natural mica where it occured as a sole ingredient, as well as in those cases where it was a component of a pigment.
While mica isn't bad for the environment, sometimes it's sourced with child labor. Mica is almost in every cosmetic product that has a shimmer to it.

Since its PR disaster, Lush switched to synthetic fluorphlogophite which is a silicate (like's basically mica)--magnesium aluminum silicate sheets, weakly bound together by potassium--except manmade (source). It's made by melting and cooling aluminum and manganese and fluoride mixtures. (source..pdf)

This synthetic mica seems promising, but there's not a whole lot of information on labor practices on that.

Not to be a killjoy! What's your ethical source for makeup? I'm curious...

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, I didn't realize that glitter is bad for the environment! I really should educate myself on ethical makeup, I am not very well versed on that at all :(