June 16th, 2018
With the war against microbeads won, attention has turned to another microplastics offender: glitter. A staple for festival season, bodypainters and, well, playschools – the shiny substance has come under scrutiny recently for its environmental impact. Microplastics (categorised as being under 5mm in size) can pass through water filtration systems and pose a distinct threat to marine wildlife. The Association of Independent Festivals has been working hard on their ‘Drastic on Plastic’ campaign, and so far 61 festivals in the UK have now announced a ban on non-biodegradable glitter that will in in full effect by 2021.
It’s a concern that has quickly sparked interest, joining the discussion soon after the microbeads debate started to wane. Luckily there are already a whole host of brands jumping forward to fill the void and allow you to shine without sacrificing the environment.
Jennie Roberts, one half of the Paintopia duo and glitter aficionado, has some advice on how these eco-friendly glitters differ from traditional versions: “Eco & bio-glitter is supposed to break down and degrade over time, therefore if you mix glitter with gel and store it too far in advance of using it then it will start the degrading process and you will find that the consistency of the product is not at its best. I would always recommend applying the fixer – Vaseline, glitter gel, glitter bond or body glue etc – directly to the skin then apply the glitter on top to get the best results. Also remember that body glue is not recommended for use on the face due to its durability; for the face use Vaseline, aloe vera gel or a specially designed glitter gel.”
Jennie also recommends exercising caution before you rush out and re-stock, as not all the brands out there are quite as they seem. “In my experience, when I have asked several [brands] for paperwork to verify this, they haven’t been able to produce any. Therefore I would advise people to do some research into the company they are considering purchasing from – especially as the whole glitter market is a minefield anyway, with a lot of painters claiming to have own brand glitters with no FDA regulation, paperwork or labelling on their products, so be very careful of what you are purchasing would be my advice.”
With that in mind, what brands are on offer for a glitzy eco-warrior?
Bio-Glitter® have their credentials proudly displayed on their website. With 15 shades and 6 sizes to choose from, they’re a great place to start.
Disco Dust London’s little glass bottles are instant joy-givers. With mixes of Fine, Chunky and Extra Chunky glitters, these jewel-bright glitters have already started to make a name for themselves.
Good old Kryolan are always one step ahead of both regulations and trends, seeking to improve formulas wherever possible. Their Glimmer range is eco-friendly and bio-degradable. Choose from Fine, Medium and Coarse in a rainbow of shades.
Festival favourite Gypsy Shrine have been making eco-glitters look effortlessly cool. Their cellulose-based Biodegradable Glitters are incredibly shimmery and work brilliantly.
Cellulose, made from Eucalyptus trees, forms the base of most biodegradable glitters, including vegan brand Eco Stardust. They do more than just talk the talk, with 10% of net profits donated to environmental charities and a polyurethane bag recycling scheme while they work towards sourcing eco-friendly packaging.
If you prefer a subtle, liquid shimmer over chunky glitters then you’re in luck – BOD have a Mermaid Glitter Gel which is 100% biodegradable and contains aloe vera to soothe hot festival skin. For a gentle sheen try their Mermaid Shimmer, with twinkly glitter particles suspended in a coconut body spray base.