Glitter, Pollution, & Violent Threats: Inside The Beauty Industry’s Latest Controversy
Is glitter as bad as everyone says?
In 2019, everything we use, be it out of necessity or recreation, is being viewed through a new lens of sustainability. Earlier this year, stories came out explaining that clothing made with synthetic fabrics — so basically anything that’s not cotton, silk, or other natural materials — are shedding microplastics in the wash that end up in the ocean, just one more ingredient in the growing plastic soup that is our sea.
“I’m making glitter...I’m not the bad guy.”
Megan Dugan, Founder of Lemonhead L.A.
All That Glitters...
"Glitter looks like shimmery plankton. Most fish are attracted to shimmery objects that catch the light."
Bio Is Better…Right?
"Compostable and biodegradable isn’t the solution. Finding something shiny that is natural is the key to solving this issue."
Sarah-Jeanne Royer, PhD., postdoctoral research fellow at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego
The company’s team of chemists got to work formulating a glitter made from plants, and in 2014, it released the first rendition of Bioglitter, a less-environmentally hazardous sparkle. It wasn’t perfect: Most of the plastic, but not all, was replaced by plant-derived cellulose. However, creating something with all the attributes of traditional glitter was still out of reach. Five years later and Bioglitter is still a work in progress; there are limited colors and shapes, and the reflective finish of traditional glitter has yet to be accurately mimicked. It’s pretty close, but like luxurious silk and its finest synthetic alternative, you can tell it’s not the same.