It has recently come to my attention that the unicorn trend is still alive and well. And what brought that disturbing fact to my attention is a product called Unicorn Snot. Unicorn Snot. Sunscreen meant to both protect you and make you ~sHiNe~. And you know what? I'm all for it. You should be able to shine AND protect your skin from UV rays. Just not with Unicorn Snot. Or any other glitter product out there with harmful ingredients.
It sounds dramatic, but the reason I'm completely writing off Unicorn Snot is because it contains PET, or Polyethylene Terephthalate. You've probably heard of PET before, because it's found in basically everything that's plastic: plastic bottles, polyester clothing, furniture, carpeting, etc. PET is also what makes up, YOU GUESSED IT, glitter. Beautiful, shiny, glorious glitter. Glitter so sparkly, you'll want to rub it all over your body before a day in the sun, and then wash it off into the ocean so that the innocent fishies eat it right up.
Glitter is also known as microplastics, which have similar effects to oceans and wildlife as microbeads, discussed in detail in Beauty Products Part 1. Microplastics are exactly what they sound like, tiny bits of plastic that end up on the ocean floor, in the stomachs of marine life and birds, and on the surface of the water. When animals consume enough of these microplastics, they can die of starvation-- that is to say, their stomachs fill up with so much plastic they can't consume real food and waste away. Even though microbeads were banned in 2015 by the US and UK, scientists report 8 trillion microbeads and plastics enter US waters daily. And since glitter can be so minuscule, it's impossible to know how much ends up in the environment.
It should also be noted that PET is completely recyclable! Which is great! Recycle those PET water bottles! Those food containers! Those shampoo bottles! But it's virtually impossible to recycle the tiny specks of glitter all over your body, and honestly, who has the time?
The conversation surrounding PET focuses primarily on plastic water bottles. In 2016, almost 500 billion plastic water bottles were produced worldwide. Less than half were recycled and 7% were used to make new bottles. The rest ended up in landfill or in the ocean. That's bleak. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicts there will be more plastic by weight than marine life in the ocean by 2050. We have to do better. As crazy as it sounds, it starts with things like not buying Unicorn Snot or things as simple as using a reusable water bottle as much as you can.
There is also a whole other conversation to be had about the harmful effects of sunscreen containing oxybenzone on the ocean, specifically when it comes to coral bleaching. That's for another post.
ALL Unicorn Snot products have PET. As do GLAMGLOW glitter masks, NYX Liquid Crystal Body Liners, MAKE UP FOR EVER Glitters, and almost all other body or face glitter products out there.
Edit: After publishing I found out the BECCA X Chrissy Teigen Bronzers contain PET as well!
Who would want to mask with this anyway??
So this isn't an attack on Unicorn Snot directly. Unicorn Snot just inspired my rage about glitter beauty products, which, as we now know, are bad.
Notice, however, I said almost all glitter products have PET. I'm pleased to inform you, after a lot of research, Rihanna herself has passed the PET test. Fenty uses environmentally safe ingredients in all their glitter/shimmery products. But it's not just Rihanna who's out there doing some good glitter making. Below find a list of companies and products that are completely eco-friendly, biodegradable and vegan. There's even biodegradable glitter sunscreen. Move over Unicorn Snot!
I'm very aware I'm not the first person to write about this, and hopefully I won't be the last. It's ever so important to not only know what you're putting on your precious skin, but also what you're putting in our precious earth. I know how tempting it is to want to write all this off and think your personal glitter footprint isn't significant, because I also tried to do that. But it adds up people.
And, with that, I end my three part beauty saga. You can find the first two posts here:
Part 1: Exfoliants & Scrubs
Part 2: What's On My Face