What is Biodegradable Glitter?

Clare Cherry

Posted on December 28 2018

what is biodegradable glitter? under the clean ocean


Glitter can be the perfect way to add a touch of glitz and glamour to your look before you head out. It’s every girl’s favourite accessory at festivals, parties and any other occasion where anything less than extraordinary just won’t do! We believe everyone should experience the uplifting feeling that comes with wearing fabulous glitter.

However, not all glitter is as kind to the planet as you may believe. Though Wish Upon A Sparkle pride ourselves on using wonderful cruelty-free biodegradable glitter, the same can’t be said for other industries. In addition, many wearers of plastic glitter aren’t actually aware of the harmful impact it can have.

So, what is biodegradable glitter? And should we all be making the swap? After all, what possible damage can tiny flecks of sparkle actually do to the environment? We’re here to answer all of the questions you might have about biodegradable glitter.


What is biodegradable glitter?

The ingredients used to manufacture Biodegradable glitter are different to those used for mainstream glitter. But, don’t worry, they still work their sparkle in the same way! Biodegradable glitter uses more natural ingredients such as lentils to cellulose, and the latter is what we use for our new range. This way, it is easier for them to break down in the environment. What’s more, in many ways it can actually feel nicer on the skin, because there aren’t any harsh plastics used in the process - so it’s a win/win.


Eucalyptus tree branches


What is Cellulose?

Cellulose is made from the cell walls that make up the natural structure in plants such as Eucalyptus trees. This is a great alternative if you wish to be more eco-friendly, as they are compostable too.


How is biodegradable glitter made?

As previously mentioned, biodegradable glitter is made using natural ingredients. Essentially, it all starts with Cellulose which is taken from the Eucalyptus trees. It’s then dyed and covered with a durable coating, sometimes aluminium, to give it that brilliant shine. Lastly, it’s cut into all sorts of shapes and sizes to make spectacular cosmetic glitter.   


Woman with biodegradable glitter makeup on her face and body 


Are there toxic chemicals which would harm the environment?

No way, Jose! As biodegradable glitter is made from natural materials, the ingredients to make it shiny are non-toxic as well to comply with regulations. There is only a maximum of 0.1% aluminium used in the products to make it shiny. So, you do not need to worry about the metal content. This is perfectly safe!


Just how much better is it for the planet?

Sadly, traditional glitter has been condemned by environmentalists for its detrimental impact on the planet. Plastic glitter comes under the umbrella term of ‘microplastics’, tiny pieces of plastic that are polluting the ocean. This can harm marine life and the wider food chain, infecting our oceans with awful consequences. They may take hundreds of years to finally decompose, leaving a permanent mark on our planet. However, things are looking up.

We know by now that biodegradable glitter is gentler on your skin and the environment, but what does this mean? Well, biodegradable glitter will be broken down by little micro-organisms in the soil and ocean over a period of just a few months. So, there’s no need to worry about it damaging the environment in years to come. This is excellent news for glitter lovers everywhere!


How do you store biodegradable glitter?

The exact way as normal glitter. Many people do worry about how to store it, with concerns that it may not be as hard-wearing as conventional glitter. But actually, biodegradable glitter is a stable product, until it’s exposed to those microorganisms to break it down, that is. We’ve found our glitter pots to be the best way to store glitter, not least because they’re a convenient travel size for gorgeous glitter makeup looks on-the-move.



Who else is behind the movement?

The government announced a ban in 2016 for microplastics in the UK. This means that companies that manufacture products such as face exfoliants, toothpastes and shower gels will all need to find an eco-friendly alternative to the tiny plastic beads. Moreover, it’s not just the government who are taking action against microplastics, many other big organisations are backing the movement.

Programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor are known for their extravagant costumes and productions, where they inevitably use a lot of shimmering glitter. However, more recently, makeup artists are frequently being asked to make the swap and source eco-friendly glitter. In fact, Strictly Come Dancing announced they were banning the use of traditional plastic glitter entirely, in favour of biodegradable glitter.

Similarly, a chain of nurseries in Dorset discovered the dangers that plastic glitter can have on the environment and decided to ban it from their classrooms. They’ve opted to use lentils as an eco-friendly alternative for all their arts and crafts – though they may wish to switch to biodegradable glitter in the future!


Now you know all about the wonderful product that is biodegradable glitter. Hopefully, this guide has cleared up any concerns you have and leaves you fully equipped for answering the question of – what is biodegradable glitter? Here’s a bonus fact: our biodegradable glitter is vegan too! So, no animals were harmed at all in the process. For more information on any of our amazing glitter products, don’t hesitate to get in touch and contact us.

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