The Ugly Truth About Glitter
Glitter is a showgirl's best friend. But if you're not using the right kind it can be more like a frenemy or even a mortal enemy.
I know that sounded dramatic but this is legit. We've all heard that using craft glitter on our eyes is bad. Some of us still use it though. For some, the chance that you could scratch your eyeball with the metallic and sharply cut stuff is not enough to dissuade them from using it. And I get it. It's cheap and easily purchased.
So what if I told you that getting craft glitter in your eye could result in you losing that eye?
What about if I told you that if you inhaled craft glitter you could end up in a coma?
Florida woman Erica Diaz lost her eye after a piece of the craft glitter she was using to make Valentines Day cards with her daughter got lodged in her cornea. Her initial examination by doctors didn't show any scratching on her cornea so she was sent home. When she returned after her eye went milky and lost sight, doctors found a 1mm hole in her cornea which grew to 7mm within a week. The eye became infected and after many medications and operations (including 2 cornea transplants) her eye was removed. This was 1 month and 2 days after the piece of glitter got stuck in her eye. Erica has detailed her journey in photos that you can view here. (The photos are graphic so keep this in mind before you click.) Also, there is a lengthy article on the Daily Mail website that Erica's friend who set up her GoFundMe campaign has linked to and referred to as "authorised".
Mauro Lopez Banegas from Santiago del Estero, Argentina was 7 years old when he died from inhaling craft glitter. He filled a whistle with glitter which he accidentally inhaled. The glitter contained toxic copper and zinc which blocked the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide and dramatically lowered the child's oxygen levels. After being in intensive care for 2 weeks and beginning to show some positive signs he was declared brain dead and later died.
Glitter is very popular at the moment which has resulted in a lot of stupid people doing a lot of stupid things. Glitter capsules to insert into your vagina and glitter tongues are making the rounds on social media, but little is said of the safeness of inserting and ingesting glitter. Heavy metal poisoning is definitely a possibility though, especially if you're using craft glitter.
If you do buy glitter that is eye and lip safe though that still isn't the end of the story. Lit Cosmetics is a reputable brand that sells a lot of top quality cosmetic glitter. There are no heavy metals in their ingredients other than aluminium powder which is found in many cosmetics. In the FAQs on their website, they state that all of their glitters are made from rounded plastics so there is no issue with getting them in your eye. But just because their glitters are eye safe doesn't mean they're off the hook. Glitter is a micro-plastic. Like micro-beads, glitter in the waterways is a problem. Micro-plastics are polluting the oceans and lakes and fish are are starting to preferentially eat these plastics over real food. And even if your glitter doesn't end up down the drain it still adds to the never ending supply of plastic waste in landfill.
So what do you do? If you want to avoid damaging yourself and the environment the easy answer is biodegradable glitter. Bioglitter contains very low amounts of heavy metals and is antimony-free. It is cosmetic safe and complies with the cosmetic regulations of the EU, USA, Australia, China, Japan, and Korea. It therefore poses very little threat of damaging your eyes or body. It is also more comfortable to wear than plastic glitter and is in fact 30-40% softer than plastic glitter. Even though it is so different from plastic glitter it still has the same precision cut and sparkle.
Biodegradable glitter is made from plants - primarily eucalyptus. The eucalyptus is sourced from responsibly managed plantations in southern Europe (so no need to worry about the koalas losing a food source). This plant-based material is completely biodegradable in the presence of microbes, meaning it will break down in the ocean and freshwater as well as in compost. But it is stable in clean water and glues and wont dissolve away. As it's made primarily from plant materials, it is also vegan and cruelty-free!
Biodegradable glitter is a product I believe in so much I started selling my own range in 2017. We launched in November 2017 with a collection of 5 glitters which we have expanded to a large shade range as well as gitter glues. If you want to read more about how I started Glitter au Gogo head over to the Our Story section.