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What Products Contain Plastic Microbeads?

Maria Victoria Malela
By Maria Victoria Malela. Updated: August 31, 2020
What Products Contain Plastic Microbeads?

They are hardly perceptible and come in a multitude of colors - blue, green, white, pink. You can find them in your face scrub as you go about your morning routine. They are said to exfoliate your skin and rid it from impurities. But in reality, microbeads are micro pieces of plastic - mass produced to replace more expensive biodegradable options. They are however detrimental to the environment. To know wether or not your skin care products are bad for the environment, look for polyethylene or polypropylene in the product's ingredient list. These are usual indicators that the product does indeed contain microbeads.

Although authorities have begun taking measures to effectively ban the use of microbeads, the micro plastics are still present in certain products, requiring us to be aware of their presence and avoid participating in plastic pollution through our purchase. So, what products contain plastic microbeads? OneHowTo investigates.

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  1. Face and body scrubs
  2. Lip balms and nail polish
  3. Toothpaste
  4. Shampoos
  5. Laundry and dishwasher soap pods
  6. Beat the microbead

Face and body scrubs

Microbeads are mostly present in face and body scrubs. Recently, more and more major cosmetic brands are announcing that they will phase out microbeads from their products. And although more brands are starting to use eco-friendly exfoliating agents such as sugar or sea salt, face and body scrubs containing microbeads are still on the market. Alternatively, you may use natural exfoliants like oatmeal or baking soda.

Lip balms and nail polish

Likewise microbeads can be found in some lip scrubs, lip glosses and nail polishes. Microbeads are also used in beauty trends such as the caviar manicure, which involves fixing microbeads on the nails with a polish, so as to create a texture similar to caviar. Take the time to check the ingredient list of your beauty products to know whether they contain microbeads.

What Products Contain Plastic Microbeads? - Lip balms and nail polish
Image: sierraclub


Those little specs in your toothepaste? Yep, they're microbeads. What at first looks like little flavored crystals, meant to help you remove bacteria that grows on the surface of our teeth, isn't actually anything more than toothpaste containing microbeads. The truth is that microbeads in toothpastes are merely for decorative purposes. They even potentially present a health issue if the beads get lodged under your gums.


Some shampoos are known to contain microbeads. Whether it is marketed as being for a 'deep clean' or 'scalp stimulating' purposes, the use of microbeads is justified to restore microcirculation and promote hair growth. Alternatively you may switch to scalp massage or essential oil treatment, which are far more efficient.

Laundry and dishwasher soap pods

Formulated as scrubbing particles to scrub the dishes clean, microbeads are found in dishwasher detergents and certain dish tablets but also in laundry soap. If you're having trouble finding laundry products without harmful ingredients, you might be interested to know how to make your own detergent.

Beat the microbead

For its international compaign against microbeads in cosmetics, Beat the microbead - an initiative of the Plastic Soup Foundation has relished and exhaustive list featuring various products and brands that contain microbeads. The list is available in pdf format on google.

If you want to read similar articles to What Products Contain Plastic Microbeads?, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.

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What Products Contain Plastic Microbeads?