In the face of an escalating climate crisis, the beauty industry has found itself under scrutiny as a significant contributor to environmental damage. In a bold move to combat this, the European Union announced in October 2023 that it would be imposing a ban on all nonbiodegradable plastic glitter. By 2027, the EU also plans to cease the production and sales of rinse-off cosmetics containing loose plastic glitter, extending the ban to leave-on products by 2029. Given the extensive reach of many makeup brands across both the EU and North America, this new regulation poses significant implications for the future of the US beauty market. But fear not, lovers of sparkle and shine, this does not signify the end of glitter in your makeup routine.
“There’s absolutely no cause for glitter panic,” assures Charlotte Knight, founder and CEO of Ciaté London and Lottie London. “The sparkle isn’t disappearing. It’s merely going to be produced from more eco-friendly alternatives.”
So, how detrimental is cosmetic plastic glitter to our planet, and more specifically, to the US? Homer Swei, PhD, Senior Vice President of Health Living Science at the Environmental Working Group, highlights that “the primary concerns surrounding cosmetic glitter are its environmental impact and the indirect effects on public health.” He emphasizes that plastics, which were only introduced in the 1950s, have had an alarmingly significant impact on our planet’s health. “Microplastics can now be found on every continent and in every ocean. They degrade extremely slowly once in the environment and have been found to accumulate in animals, fish, and even in our food chain. Shockingly, researchers have increasingly discovered microplastics in humans, even in newborns.” This global issue is particularly concerning in countries like the US where plastic consumption is high, leading to a greater risk of microplastic contamination.
But what is the current US stance on loose glitter? “At present, the US lacks a uniform regulatory definition of microplastics,” Dr. Swei points out. “The focus has primarily been on cosmetic rinse-off microbeads, which were banned at both state and federal levels in 2015.” However, he notes that since then, individual states, including California, have considered implementing similar regulations for makeup products. “In 2022, California proposed bill AB-2787, which aims to ban the sale of all cosmetic microplastics, including leave-on products. If passed, this bill would effectively ban plastic glitter in cosmetics.”
So, will the EU’s ban on glitter affect the US beauty market? The answer is a resounding yes. Many brands operate across both regions and have traditionally offered identical products to their customers. However, in anticipation of these changes, many brands have already begun exploring ways to reduce or eliminate the use of traditional plastic glitter in their European and American formulations.
For those who love eyelash extensions and eyebrow threading in Scottsdale, Arizona, or anywhere else, this doesn’t mean you’ll have to give up your favorite sparkly makeup products. Instead, it encourages a shift towards more sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives that still allow you to shine while also protecting our planet.
In the world of women’s beauty and makeup, change is coming. But it’s a change that promises to uphold the glitz and glamour we all love while also ensuring a healthier future for our planet. And that’s a future we can all look forward to.