When we first launched our Holographic Glitter Sunscreen it became an instant hit with real-life unicorns everywhere. But it wasn't all magic and rainbows. We soon found ourselves on the receiving end of some tough critiques on social media, as some of our environmentally-minded fans and customers made us aware of the not-so sparkly side of glitter – ocean plastic pollution. 😢Read on to find out how glitter can impact our environment, and what we’re doing about it.
In case you hadn’t noticed, glitter is having a moment. In true underdog fashion, it’s made a comeback from the face of Ziggy Stardust in the 70s, your mom’s makeup bag from the 80s, and nightclubs of the 90s, to front and center on your Instagram feed. But we don’t love glitter just because it sparkles.
From bucking gender norms to breaking down stereotypes, glitter helps us express our shiny selves like nothing else can. And because of this, it’s everywhere. From craft rooms in kindergartens, to makeup tutorials on YouTube, to... the middle of the Pacific Ocean?!
Glitter has taken over the world, but it’s not all good news. When our social media fans called our attention to the harm glitter can cause to the environment, we decided to take action. So, we’re taking a step back to the very beginning, to ask — what exactly is glitter, and how did it get on everything?
Plastic Not-So Fantastic
Glitter is made up of tiny pieces of reflective plastic cut from large, aluminum covered sheets by a specially-designed glitter cutting machine. But the fact that our favorite sparkly dust has traditionally been crafted from plastic poses a bit of a problem. Because of its use in cosmetic products, glitter’s tiny plastic particles can easily filter into our waterways, polluting our oceans and disrupting ecosystems.
Just think about all the plastic the human race has discarded over the years; the shopping bags we’ve tossed out, the toothbrushes we’ve thrown away, and the glitter we’ve washed down the sink. All of this has slowly broken down into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics, and ended up floating around in our oceans like a giant pool of plastic soup. Gross, right?
What We’re Doing About It
At Unicorn Snot, we love glitter (obviously), but we love our environment too. When we discovered our sparkly sunscreen could be contributing to microplastic pollution, we felt like we had to make a change. Although there are no environmental regulations around the sale of glitter yet, we believe this is a chance for our small company to lead the way and become an agent for change, and we’re embracing that new mission.
Ever since our social media followers made us aware of this issue, our product team has been working tirelessly to ensure we can provide the same great quality glitter sunscreen, without being part of the environmental problem. It’s a big challenge and we’re a small team (just 10 of us, working out of a studio in Brooklyn), but we know that small changes can have a big impact, and we’re committed to doing our part to protect the environment and its precious ecosystems.
So What’s Next For Unicorn Snot?
While glitter may only account for a small proportion of the microplastics in the oceans, we understand that the little things add up. We’ve heard your concerns — they are our concerns too — which is why we are committed to launching a new, environmentally-friendly range of Unicorn Snot bioglitter sunscreens in 2019.
We’re currently experimenting with biodegradable plastics that can be broken down organically, and working with manufacturers and suppliers to see what others are doing to tackle this problem. We believe the more involvement there is, the faster we will find a solution.
Using our glitter shouldn’t mean having to choose between looking fabulous and saving the world. You can do both.
Watch this space. 💜