You’ve probably heard about the horrors of plastic microbeads by now. If you haven’t, here it is: they kill fish that live in natural water sources. The beads just sit there, impenetrable, waiting to be fed on. Once fish ingest them, they’re impossible to digest and they eventually kill the poor thing.
In case that wasn’t enough, the beads also pollute after they scrub off your dead skin. So while you might look beautiful, nature doesn’t. But you can stop being part of the problem with a simple switch to bead-free products. There are many, and they all work just as well — if not better. Take a look at 16 of our favourites:
16 exfoliators without any nasty, earth-ruining microbeads
BrightenerThe exfoliant in this brightener is jojoba nut. And really, it's super-gentle, and you'll love how the gel changes textures from smooth to milk to flaky right before your eyes.
$59 at PaiPai
CleanserA combination of carrots, organic shea butter and jojoba will exfoliate your face. No plastic beads in sight.
$10 at Yes to CarrotsYes to Carrots
MicropolishThe brand uses its signature alguronic acid exfoliant to work its magic. In five minutes.
$75 at SephoraAlgenist
SerumThis is the coolest-looking one by far. It's blue! This is a no-rinse serum formula that truly brightens without any harsh scrubbing.
$131 at Perricone MDPerricone MD
Acne ScrubThis is a name you know, but did you know the brand uses synthethic and microcrystaline wax beads? And they actually decompose after use. So you've got soft skin and you're not leaving garbage in the water.
$11 at well.caBiore
Non-Bead BeadsThese aren't beads at all. They're jojoba esters mixed with peppermint essential oil. It'll leave you feeling so renewed.
$57 at Renee RouleauRenee Rouleau
CleanserThis gel has papaya enzymes that act as exfoliants to give you silky smooth skin.
$40 at Jan Marini Jan Marini
ExfoliatorAcid exfoliants like salicylic, lactic and glycolic mix with jojoba beads (so tiny, they're barely noticeable) to give you that smooth finish.
$35 at MuradMurad
"Chemical" PeelThese two products are packed with vitamin C and smell very much like oranges. The two-step process includes a grainy paste and an acid gel, and together they create an exfoliating foam for sensitive skin that leaves skin smooth.
$100 at AmazonPhilosophy
CleanserIt's the superfine jojoba pieces that make this exfoliator do the trick. It's so superfine that it actually feels like a moisturizer. Alpha and beta hydroxy acids repair damaged skin, too.
$56 at SkinMedica SkinMedica
Shell GameNo beads here. Just shea nut shell powder and willow bark extract.
$32 at First Aid BeautyFirst Aid Beauty
Cinnamon ScrubIt smells delicious. That's because it's maize flour, corn meal and cinnamon. It's a polenta scrub.
$13 to $32 at LushLush
Salt ScrubThe salt's high mineral content and its coarse crystals make this a super-natural way to exfoliate your way to fresh skin.
$30 at The Body ShopThe Body Shop
Peachy CleanGround-up peach stone mixes with salicylic acid and willow bark, keeping you acne-free and with soft skin.
$13 at Burt's BeesBurt's Bees
Fruit ExfoliatorOnce again, the papaya enzyme is in play. It seriously is a beautiful bead-free way to smooth, exfoliated skin.
$37 at Kiehl'sKiehl's
Energy WashThis has the same soothing and smoothing benefits of bead-free exfoliators, but with ginseng. That is like a rush of energy to your face, folks.
$24 at SephoraSephora