UPDATE: Aveeno has removed polyethylene from its Positively Radiant Brightening Facial Cleanser. See more information below.
I’m embarrassed to tell you that I was greenwashed.
I’ve used this Aveeno face cleanser for years. With its green packaging, soy extract and “active naturals” tagline, I naively thought it was making a good, clean choice for my skin. What I didn’t know is that my skincare product has been polluting our oceans.
Shortly after purchasing a new tube of the cleanser, I was distressed to read that Aveeno Positively Radiant is one of the brands that contains plastic microbeads.
As you may have heard, non-biodegradable plastic microbeads are too tiny to be caught by the standard filters used at sewage treatment plants and pass from our bathroom sinks to streams and oceans, where they pollute the water and also enter the food chain.
You can read more about the devastating environmental effects of these tiny plastic particles at BeatThe Microbead.org.
I learned that many of the polluting microbeads used in personal care products are made of polyethylene, and sure enough, there it was—the fifth ingredient on the list on my cleanser:
You can search the Beat the Microbead database to see if your product contains plastic microbeads or plastic-based ingredients. I was surprised to see toothpaste, shaving cream and shower gels on the list in addition to cleansing scrubs.
You can find a list of microbead-free products here.
I replaced my Aveeno scrub with Alba Botanica’s Even Advanced Enzyme Scrub, which uses powdered walnut shells for a truly “natural” exfoliate. (This isn’t a sponsored review—just my own experience.)
You can also make your own facial scrub, using ingredients like baking soda, honey or oatmeal.
How about you? Do you have any microbeads lurking in the products in your drawers and shelves?
UPDATE: Aveeno has removed polyethylene from its Positively Radiant Brightening Facial Cleanser. According to Beat the Microbead’s database on 7/28/23, the product still contains these plastic-based ingredients:
- PEG-8 – a synthetic polymer
- PPG-2 Myreth-10
- DI-PPG-2 Myreth-10 Adipate