Ditch the Microbeads

As with all things in doing better than yesterday, it’s important to take things slow – most of the time. Here’s one time that we must act fast. However we look at it, microbeads must go now. The good news is, microbeads have finally been banned by President Obama, due for mandatory phase out in various stages over the next 3 years. But why wait? We actually can’t afford to.



image credit: newbeauty.com

People who’ve done my Low Tox e course (next round March 2016, stay tuned) are super well versed in the whole microbead palava already, but if you’ve not yet come across it, read on.

These beads are tiny bits of plastic ranging in size from 0.0004 to 1.24 millimetres – most often containing BPA – that are found in personal care products that head out to our waterways, oceans into fish who mistake them for food and then back into us through our food if we eat fish. In December 2013, a paper was published in Marine Pollution Bulletin and described how the Great Lakes were choking from this plastic pollution. While Lake Michigan had an average of 17,000 microbeads per square kilometre, some areas of Lake Ontario had as many as 1.1 million beads per square kilometre.

It should shoot right to the top of your low tox priority list today, to get these out of the shopping trolley.

We call these items ‘personal care’ – funny really, isn’t it? When did personal care become rubbing and brushing tiny pieces of plastic into ourselves and flushing them down drains into our water ways, only to end up eating them when we tuck into some ‘fresh fish’ a few months later. That sure doesn’t sound like personal care, does it?

Watch this wonderful new 2 minute film by one of my favourite peeps of all time – Annie Leonard.

So how do we know where they lie? They’re in most of the mainstream versions of these:

  • Facescrubs / exfoliators
  • Mouthwash
  • Body Scrubs, body wash
  • Toothpaste
  • Shave gels

They’re even in some cleaning products, so watch out there too! Here’s a list of products from BEAT THE MICROBEAD as to where they can be found.

So what do I swap them with?

Over time you’ll find your favourite new low tox versions of all the old stuff. Here are some of mine! It’s time to support businesses that don’t take the shortcuts of cheap chemicals at the cost of our health or the environment. It’s time to totally change the beauty market from the grass roots up.

My favourite natural facial exfoliator?

I absolutely love the Black Chicken facial exfoliant ‘polish’. Bubba smooth skin after this stuff and it’s super gentle. A bottle goes a long way. I’ve had mine 6 months now and no sign of running out yet. I use it once a week or fortnight depending.


I actually don’t use one, but if you wanted to go natural, I’d go with Weleda one which I’ve tried before and really enjoy. These days I do the Ayurvedic ‘tongue scrape’ in the mornings and oil pull a couple of times a month with cold pressed sesame oil. Floss almost daily and brush twice and I’m done.


My coffee body scrub is so good and gets so many rave reviews that frankly I wouldn’t look past it if you enjoy the coffee smell. You can even pick up free used coffee grounds from your local cafe so it’s really economical.

If you fancy buying one there are a beautiful range of natural body scrubs on Nourished Life HERE. I love the Weleda Birch and Black Chicken ones.

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For body wash, hit the Dr Bronner’s or use a great, natural soap or body wash. Weleda Sea Buckthorn is delicious and Dr Bronner’s is a great option (I also dilute to clean my kitchen floor and spray on counter tops for cockroaches!). So many well priced natural options these days, there’s simply no reason to stay in the land of tox.


If you want an ‘as close to normal toothpaste’ texture and taste, I’d go the JASON brand. If you’re willing to try some natural toothpastes with an open mind, my top pick in the Weleda Salt toothpaste. Try and tell me your mouth doesn’t feel awesome after that (yes you do get used to the weirdness of salty toothpaste). I also like the Tooth tonic oil and often add a drop at my night time brush, to ‘boost’ the effectiveness of the clean.

I’ll never forget forgetting my natural toothpaste and hitting the ol’ mainstream one at a friends’ place I was staying after a couple of years of not using it. It tasted like a strange, chemically tasting and tingly in a bad way, paste – and the crazy amount of foaming. I was actually shocked at how artificial it felt after a couple of years with the non toxic stuff. Do your own research by all means on the fluoride debate, but I want to put it out there that a better diet is what we need. Not bigger doses of fluoride through paste and tap water. We devote a whole day to this subject on my e course with an interview by the awesome Dr Ron Ehrlich to take us through it all.

Shave gels?

Sanctum has a great one on BIOME. There’s the awesome value and effective Dr Bronner’s range.  Weleda’s men’s one is one I steal from my husband often is smells so good and ‘Dindi’ shaving soap in a tin is great if you want to go the old school shaving brush to swirl it on beard or leg.

So let’s ditch those microbeads. They are SO MUCH TROUBLE for us, our environment and its creatures – what is the point?

Have you made a swap you’re loving to a microbead free product? Share and tell.

Be sure to be a subscriber (and receive a gorgeous free DIY gift ebook) to catch when the next round opens for the Go Low Tox e course.

Low Tox. Happy us. Happy planet. And most importantly, enjoy the satisfaction of ditching those microbeads!

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Disclosure: A couple of these links above are affiliate links. I always pay full price for everything I mention here except Chey from Black Chicken did gift me a a body oil when she found out it was my favourite. I appreciate you supporting my work by buying through these links if it looks like something you fancy, but there’s absolutely no pressure. I’ve tried a lot of low tox products in my time and there are a lot of ‘misses’ for a lot of hits, just like in mainstream land. I hope this list saves you some time sifting through.


Comments 4

  1. Hi Alexx:

    I used to be a big user of Nivea – ack no!! 🙂 Now I use Nubian Heritage (based out of Harlem) who have a great range of lotions and body washes and now deodorants and hair products. For hair I buy Avalon Organics shampoo and conditioner – the supermarket near us sells huge family size bottles of both items and it’s always on sale. Shaving legs, I actually use the conditioner!! I’d love to try Black Chicken, but they don’t seem to be available in the US.

  2. Arbonne for all personal care items, baby, skin, cosmetics, mens, hair, body, nutrition . No parabens, no chemicals, vegan certified, botanical based products. Since changing all my products to Arbonne, ive had no hay fever or eczema…it’s been amazing, especially the hayfever part..xx

  3. Pingback: Bye bye take away coffee cups – Nothing is ‘disposable’ — Low Tox Life

  4. Pingback: Exfoliation Elation - Black Chicken Remedies

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