Beauty


Forget Taylor Swift—the ultimate crossover artist is glitter. Once limited to high school pep rallies and Limited Too body gel, the craft store staple migrated to music festivals, red carpets, and finally, major runways. In the past few seasons, we’ve witnessed sparkle-heavy beauty looks at Gucci, Fendi, Saint Laurent, and Giambattista Valli, along with sold-out Kira Kira kits from makeup legend Pat McGrath. The apex, of course, is Coachella, where every pop star, teen fan, and model-slash-DJ is dusted and hash-tagged for glitter greatness. (I have some personal experience with this: my most popular photo ever is glitter braids on a Japanese beauty blogger from last year’s festival. It got over 5000 likes in three hours. Seriously.)

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But like cocaine and quick sex, the instant high of glitter comes with a real risk: it turns out glitter could be killing the planet.

In November, National Geographic reported links between glitter and ocean pollution. “Glitter is made from plastic sheets,” wrote science journalist Laura Parker. “When washed down the drain, [it is] consumed by plankton, fish, shellfish, seabirds, and other marine life. Plastic bits collect in birds’ stomachs, where they can cause them to die of starvation. Scientists have become increasingly concerned about its effects on fish and other marine life.” Not to mention what it might do in our own bodies if ingested—and who among us hasn’t inhaled glitter while prepping for a RENT: Live in Concert show? (No? Just me then…)

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For sparkle addicts hitting the festival circuit this season, here’s a modest proposal: consider swapping “normal” glitter for newer biodegradable formulas. They’re a little more expensive, but a lot better for soils and seas, and most come from independent beauty companies founded by female creators. Here’s a quick roundup of some favorites:

FOR GLITTER EYE SHADOW…

Bleach London Glitter

Bleach London

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Trust the glam rock experts at Bleach London, launching their biodegradable glitter exclusively at Selfridge’s this spring. (Don’t worry—if you’re stateside, you can still order online.) “With the huge environmental impact of micro plastics on the world’s oceans we’ve pledged to phase out all of our glitters containing it by the end of 2018,” says founder Alex Brownsell, who does hair for Gucci and Florence Welch when she’s not making makeup with her partner Samantha Campbell. “In their place will be bio-degradable alternatives, made of certified compostable film with no sparkle spared.”

Apply with a dry brush for sheer, loose shimmers, or wet your eyeshadow brush for more precise Jem and the Holograms vibes. Bonus: all the packaging is sustainable and biodegradable, too.

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Bleach

Bleach Glitterati Palette, $41; selfridges.com

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FOR GLITTER FACE + LIPS…

Glitter Face

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Take this tip from the (wonderfully named) Olivia Moon, founder of Wild Glitter. “I like to use aloe vera gel as a gentle way to stick our glitter to your skin,” she says. “You can either use it like a glue [for more concentrated shimmer], or have fun mixing your own glitter gel!”

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Moon’s formula is a little finer than Bleach’s, so it works best for glitter lips or a loose, fun face shimmer. Their formula uses processed wood pulp, and pledges to break down within 90 days of use—though it stays put during application and through the dance parties and sun-baked sets of your favorite artists.

Wild Glitter

Wild Glitter Biodegradable Vegan Glitter, from $4; wildglitter.com

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FOR GLITTER HAIR…

Glitter Braids

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We love Disco Chunk, the bigger-is-better glitter flecks from BioGlitz. Made with cellulose from eucalyptus trees, these noticeable flecks are available in 8 colors and are safe for roots, ends, braids… all of it. Mix with aloe gel or a moisturizing butter like shea or coconut oil to apply.

BioGlitz

BioGlitz Disco Chunk, $20 per pack; bioglitz.co

FOR GLITTER BODY…

Glitter Fun

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Look like a mermaid without poisoning any actual naiads. The mad scientists at Lush Cosmetics make it possible (maybe a little too possible?) with their bath bombs in Sunnyside (yellow glitter), Ginger (gold glitter), and Dragon’s Egg (white glitter). Take a dunk before festival time and glow for it.

LUSH

Lush Cosmetics Bath Bomb in Ginger, $7; lushusa.com

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