Say no to plastic in your toiletries!

They’re so little, they’ve probably never crossed your mind as something to be concerned about. They definitely didn’t cross mine. But those tiny little plastic micro beads that you find in toiletries like your body scrub, exfoliators, and even lip balm and toothpastes, are actually wreaking havoc on our sea life, and consequently on our health.

Flickr-MPCA Photos-microbeads-microplastic-various
A mix of micro-beads and micro-plastics. (Source: MPCA photos on

Some micro beads are so tiny that you can’t detect them with the naked eye. Once they wash down your drain, they generally make their way to the oceans, as our waste water treatment systems are not designed to extract these minuscule bits of plastic. There they contribute to what is known as the ‘plastic soup’ our ocean is becoming. Marine life eat and breathe-in this plastic through their gills, and it accumulates in their bodies over time, reaching increasingly high levels (an effect known as bioaccumulation). Ultimately this plastic can end up on our plates, and then in our bodies.

Needless to say, consuming plastic is not good for our health (or the health of sea life). Plastics don’t often decay, and are a source of toxins – especially endocrine (hormonal) disruptors.

The challenge here is that once these tiny little beads are in the sea, it is near impossible to get them out. So what can you do? Simply put: don’t buy products containing micro BeatTheMicroBead-1beads. Or campaign your favourite brands to remove plastics from their ingredients lists if this is the case. Beat the micro bead is a campaign aimed at raising awareness about this issue, and urging positive action to stop our oceans becoming more plastic. They have also created a ‘zero plastic inside’ sticker, that manufacturers are being encouraged to put on their packaging (provided it is true, of course). Hopefully if everyone boycotts the toiletries containing plastic, the manufacturers will change their recipes to be plastic-free.

Unfortunately, the ‘zero plastic inside’ sticker hasn’t reached SA yet, so rather take it on yourself to find out what is in the products you use. There is also a Beat the micro bead app, to check products on, as well as a list of plastic free brands online:

I was really excited to see two South African brands on this list: Esse and Africa Organics! Yet another reason to buy more of their amazing products. (You can find out about some of their products I’ve tried here.)



  1. Thanks for this post ❤ Always a good reminder to be conscious of what goes on and in our bodies. In my search for exfoliation alternatives (since I was super guilty of using high-end, plastic-laden exfoliators many years ago), the cost-effective, kitchen cupboard solutions are a much better option. From bentonite clay to bicarb/baking soda and even coffee grounds – nothing scrubs quite as good as something that can go down the drain without a smidgeon of guilt (although I would recommend dumping used bentonite clay in the garden, not down the drain!).

    And, it needs to be mentioned that natural soap makers (think Nourish Soaps in Knysna 😉 ) are using things like charcoal, salt, herbs and even spinach to create the most divine scrub soaps. There's no excuse to still be using plastic in our cosmetics in 2017!


  2. I couldn’t agree with you more! One of my favourite uber-moisturising body scrubs is sugar and coconut oil. You’ll come out smoother than a baby’s bum!


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