10 Facial and Body Scrubs without Microbeads

In cosmetic products microbeads are still used as abrasives in facial and body scrubs. However, they have become a serious ecological problem to the extent of which the effects for future generations can hardly be estimated. Today you can find microbeads everywhere; in rivers, lakes oceans and even in the Antarctic ice.

But there is hope, especially the innovative natural cosmetics brands have worked on alternatives: They use e.g. crushed grape seedlings or walnut shells as exfoliants. In this article we will show you which facial and body scrubs do not contain micro plastic.

What are microbeads?

Plastic particles smaller than 5 millimeters are referred to as microbeads. A distinction is made between primary and secondary microbeads. The latter are caused, for example, by plastic packaging waste, that has inadvertently landed in the environment and disintegrates slowly over time. Or by the fibers of fleece sweaters, that get into the waste water with the laundry and will not filtered by waste water treatments.

On the other hand, primary microbeads are substances that are deliberately used in products. In the following, we will look at this type of microplastic particles, which are used in cosmetics such as scrubs and shower gels.

Why are microbeads used in cosmetics?

Microbeads serve as abrasives, binders, fillers or film formers. In the case of facial and body scrubs, they are used as granules, which help to smooth the skin by peeling off parts of the skin layer.

The problem for the environment

These plastics, that we lubricate regularly to our skin, end up in the wastewater. So far even modern wastewater treatment plants have no cleaning stages, that filter these microplastic particles completely.

Thus they end up in rivers, lakes and in the oceans. There is hardly any place on this globe where microbeads can not be detected in the water. Even in the ice layers of the Antarctic, high microplastic concentrations have already been found.

Whether in the sediments of beaches or on the water surface of tropical lagoons, microbeads are everywhere. The bad news, these plastic particles attract pollutants like a magnet and can become toxic. Mixed with plankton they enter the food cycle. Microbeads have already been found in mussels and fish, as well as in milk and even honey. Natural enzymes are not able to degrade these plastics.

Alone in the US, an estimated 11 billion microbeads go down the drain and pass through wastewater treatment systems every single day. But there is hope: On December 28, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Microbead-Free Waters Act (H.R. 1321) which banned the manufacturing and sale of plastic microbeads in rinse-off cosmetic products including toothpaste. Companies of such products must cease manufacture of microbead products by July 2017 and sale by July 2018.

But as of today (October 2016) the microbeads are still around. They are still used in scrubs, shower gels, hand soaps, shampoos, facial cleansers, makeup and toothpaste. But you as a consumer can already do something about it, by not buying products that contain these substances!

How can I tell if my facial or body scrub contains microbeads?

List of microbeads in Facial and Body ScrubsUnfortunately, some chemical knowledge is required to identify microbeads. The individual plastics have to be listed in the list of ingredients (INCI). Attached is a list of ingredients that are considered microbeads:

  • PE – polyethylene
  • PP – polypropylene
  • PET – polyethylene terephthalate
  • Nylon-12
  • Nylon-6
  • PUR – polyurethane
  • EVA – ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymers
  • AC – acrylate copolymer
  • ACS – Acrylates Crosspolymer
  • P-7 – Polyquaternium-7

Source: www.bund.net

List of scrubs without microbeads

Especially the certified Natural Cosmetics Manufacturers use alternative biodegradable exfoliants in their facial and body scrubs. These include plant substances, such as crushed coconut or walnut shells or fruit seedlings. But also environmentally friendly mineral substances including sugar or salt crystals, clay, chalk, lime or silicates are used.

Facial Scrubs without microbeads


  • Pure Body Naturals – Blueberry Oxygen Facial Scrub: With Jojoba Beads, Olive and Hibiscus.
  • Acure – Brightening Facial Scrub: With Organic Sea Kelp, Lemon Peel and French Green Clay.
  • Foxbrim – Exfoliating Tea Face Scrub: With Pumice and Jojoba beads, Green & White tea, Organic Aloe, Avocado & Olive Butter.
  • Pure Body Naturals – Grapefruit Scrub for Face and Body: Exfoliates with Sea Salt and uses Jojoba Oil.
  • Rugged & Dapper – Daily Power Scrub Facial Cleanser For Men: With natural plant based exfoliants including circular Jojoba as well as Aloe Vera, Willow Bark & Burdock Root.

Body Scrubs without microbeads


  • Majestic Pure – Himalayan Salt Body Scrub: With Himalayan Salt, Lychee Essential Oil and Sweet Almond Oil.
  • Aria Starr – Coconut Milk Body Scrub: With Dead Sea Salt and Coconut Milk, Almond Oil, Safflower Oil, Sunflower Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil and Avocado Oil.
  • First Botany – Coconut Milk Body Scrub: With Coconut Milk and Oils.
  • Sweet Lincoln – Premium All Natural Coconut Sugar Body Scrub: With Sugar scrub made from Cane Sugar as well as Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Need Seed Oil.
  • Eva Naturals – Arabica Coffee Scrub: With fine grain Sea Salt and Sugar Cane as well as Shea Butter

Next time you need a body or facial scrub, use organic scrubs that use plant based or mineral based exfoliants such as Jojoba Seedling, grinded Coconut Shell or Sea Salt instead of microbeads. Don’t wait until microbeads have been vanished from cosmetic rinse-off products.

Image: CC0 Public Domain Pixabay

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