What are microbeads?

Microbeads are solid plastic particles of 5 mm or less, and are used to exfoliate or cleanse in personal care products. The microbeads we have used in some varieties of our cleansing products are made from polyethylene which can also be used for a variety of purposes, from imparting color in certain types of toothpastes, to providing the base of some chewing gums.

Being safe

We included microbeads in some of our exfoliating cleansing products and toothpastes based on positive feedback from people who use them. Microbeads are safe for people and polyethylene is approved for use in some foods by the FDA. Because microbeads are made from plastic certain groups have questioned whether plastic found in our oceans and waterways are from microbeads. The science to date shows the breakdown of larger plastics to be the primary source of plastics in the ocean, not microbeads.

Feeling safe

While microbeads are completely safe for people, and many find them part of an enjoyable product use experience, we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove this ingredient. That’s why in 2017 we focused on reformulating all our facial/body cleansers and toothpaste products to be microbead-free. Over 99% of our global product volume is now microbead-free and we have an exit plan for the few remaining uses which will be completed by mid-2018.