Shimmering Changes: The EU’s Ban on Glitter

The EU ban on glitter officially came into effect on October 17th, 2023. What does this mean and what are the options for all sparkle-loving sirens? Read more to find out.


We’ve all witnessed the transformative power of cosmetics – how they can boost confidence, express creativity, and even tell a story. But a change is coming that might make your brush-wielding hearts skip a beat: the European Union’s ban on glitter in cosmetics. Don’t worry; it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, it’s a step towards a more eco-conscious, sustainable beauty world.

Understanding the Ban

The European Union’s decision to ban glitter in cosmetics is part of a larger effort to address environmental concerns. You might be wondering, why glitter? Those sparkly, attention-grabbing particles are undeniably a staple in many makeup looks, especially when you’re aiming to achieve a radiant, head-turning finish. However, the glitter we adore isn’t as innocent as it appears. Most conventional glitter is made from microplastics, which are detrimental to our oceans and ecosystems.

Why We Should Embrace This Change

→ Environmental Impact: Microplastic glitter doesn’t biodegrade, and it often ends up in our waterways, causing harm to aquatic life. By eliminating glitter from cosmetics, we contribute to a cleaner, healthier planet.

→ Innovation and Creativity: The ban will encourage cosmetic companies to explore alternative, eco-friendly ingredients and formulations. This could spark a new wave of innovative, glitter-free products that still help us achieve our desired glow.

→ Ethical Beauty: Millennials are at the forefront of the clean beauty movement, seeking products that are kind to the planet and cruelty-free. The glitter ban aligns with this shift towards ethical beauty practices.

→ Health Considerations: Some glitter particles may not be safe for our skin and eyes, potentially causing irritation or allergic reactions. This ban may lead to safer, healthier cosmetic choices.

→ Setting an Example: The EU’s move sets a precedent for the global beauty industry, encouraging other regions to follow suit. The more countries that adopt these eco-conscious policies, the greater the impact on our environment.

The ban on glitter in cosmetics is rooted in a growing awareness of the environmental and health concerns associated with the use of traditional glitter, which is primarily made of microplastics. It’s actually hard to believe something as harmless as glitter can cause so much harm to the planet. The ban comes as part of the EU’s mission to cut environmentally harmful microplastic pollution in member nations by 30% by 2030 (Forbes). Here are the main issues coming from glitter:

1. Microplastic Pollution: Glitter particles are, in essence, tiny bits of plastic that do not biodegrade. When we wash glitter-infused cosmetics off our faces, or when they wash down the drain, they end up in our water systems. These microplastics are too small to be efficiently filtered out in wastewater treatment plants, leading to the contamination of rivers, lakes, and oceans. They harm aquatic life, disrupt ecosystems, and accumulate in the food chain, eventually reaching our dinner plates.

2. Marine Life and Ecosystem Damage: Marine animals often mistake these microplastics for food, leading to ingestion and digestive issues. This ingestion of microplastics can also have detrimental effects on the reproductive and overall health of various species. Furthermore, when these plastics degrade, they release harmful chemicals into the water, compounding the damage to marine ecosystems.

3. Environmental Impact: Glitter isn’t just found in cosmetics; it’s used in a variety of consumer products, including decorations, party supplies, and even clothing. The cumulative impact of microplastics from multiple sources has been causing considerable environmental damage. The EU recognized that addressing the issue in cosmetics is a step towards mitigating this broader problem.

4. Consumer and Health Concerns: There are also concerns about the potential health effects of microplastics in cosmetics. While the research is ongoing, some studies have suggested that these tiny particles might be harmful when they come into contact with the skin or are inhaled. The EU prioritizes the safety of its citizens and aims to minimize potential risks.

By implementing the ban, the EU seeks to address these pressing issues and lead the way in adopting environmentally friendly and sustainable practices in the cosmetics industry. This decision encourages the development of safer, more responsible alternatives and reinforces the growing global commitment to combat plastic pollution and protect our precious ecosystems.

Glitter Alternatives

Fear not, makeup lovers! The ban on glitter doesn’t mean the end of radiant, dazzling makeup looks. As makeup artists, we have a world of shimmering alternatives at our disposal:

  1. Mica: Natural mineral mica can replicate the shimmer of glitter without the environmental harm. Look for products that incorporate responsibly sourced mica.

  2. Biodegradable Glitter: Some companies have already introduced biodegradable glitter options that break down harmlessly, reducing their environmental impact.

  3. Liquid and Cream Formulas: Explore liquid and cream products that offer a gleaming shine, minus the plastic particles.

  4. Metallic Pigments: Metallic eyeshadows, highlighters, and lip products provide that irresistible sparkle without the use of glitter.

  5. Crystal-Infused Cosmetics: Brands are infusing their products with actual gemstone and crystal extracts for a radiant glow that’s both environmentally friendly and spiritually uplifting.

Final Thoughts

While the EU’s ban on glitter in cosmetics might seem like the end of an era, it’s actually a new beginning – a chance for makeup artists and enthusiasts to embrace more eco-conscious practices and explore innovative, sustainable alternatives. Remember, as we work together to protect the planet, we can still create the dazzling looks that make our clients, and ourselves, shine with confidence.

So, let’s bid farewell to glitter but say hello to a more sustainable and radiant future in the world of cosmetics. It’s time for us, the trendsetters, to light the path toward eco-conscious beauty that speaks to the hearts of millennial women everywhere.

Get my favorite BIO glitter here: Shop Now. With sparkle and sustainability, happy shopping, friends! 

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