Lush Leaps Ahead In Exfoliating Revolution
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Politics and Activism

Lush Leaps Ahead In Exfoliating Revolution

How one small bead makes a huge impact.

Lush Leaps Ahead In Exfoliating Revolution

Whenever I give myself a spa day, one of the first things on my list is to exfoliate. My favorite recipe to whip up is a brown sugar, honey, and olive oil concoction that leaves my face soft and fresh before I can put on a mask. While I am at Loyola, though, it becomes more difficult to make my own exfoliant and I usually end up making a mad dash to CVS between classes and grabbing the cheapest thing on the shelf before the checkout line gets too long.

Once or twice I have arrived back at my dorm and realized I grabbed an exfoliant, and sometimes even a body wash or toothpaste, that has plastic beads in them. I used to not worry about those microbeads because they must be safe, right? Of course companies would never put something in a product that could hurt the environment, or worse, our food and water.

Boy, was I wrong.

On my last visit to the beauty paradise that is Lush, I had a small stack of bookmarks pressed into my hand as I was reaching for my receipt. The kind cashier explained that it was a new program Lush was participating in that was attempting to eradicate plastic microbeads from all beauty products on store shelves. She elaborated saying that all of their scrubs used sugar, chia seeds, or even charcoal instead of plastic beads. I was urged to go onto their website to learn more, as I politely smiled and ducked out of the store.


For the first time in living memory, I actually did look up the website my charming cashier gave me, and I was shocked at what I found. Plastic microbeads are not filtered out of waste water before they reach larger bodies of water and then cause devastating problems. To put it plainly, there is no way to get rid of microbeads after the water from our taps finishes running them down the drain. Once the beads reach larger bodies of water, they affect marine life. The plastic microbeads absorb enormous amounts of toxins and then fish consume the colorful beads thinking they are tiny treats. The microbeads can either starve the fish or leech toxins into their bodies, which eventually kills them.

All in all, it is plain to see why microbeads are not doing a whole lot of good for the environment. Plastic microbeads have been found in all five of the world's gyres and in all of the Great Lakes. The impact that microbeads have on the environment has just recently become an issue because major studies have just begun to test what they are doing to our fish and water.

Thankfully, there is a shining light. Companies, such as everyone's beloved Lush, have pledged to phase out plastic microbeads from their products and substitute them with natural ingredients such as oats or charcoal. With the help of the 5Gyres Institute and the action of #banthebead, many more companies are becoming aware of their impact and how they can reduce the amount of harm they do to animals and the environment.

While there is still a great deal of headway to make with convincing companies to entirely phase out their use of plastic microbeads, Lush has made a tremendous first leap. Before long, plastic microbeads will be a thing of the past.

Exfoliants, toothpastes, and body washes do not not need plastic in them to do their job. There are plenty of natural and environmentally-conscious alternatives to choose from. Although, when in doubt, just mix brown sugar, honey, and a splash of olive oil.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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