Getting that SPF on your little one might not have to turn into a wrestling match anymore, thanks to the glitter sunscreen craze. Yes, you read that right: glitter sunscreen.
Glitter doesn't just have to be in art supplies, clothes or even vagina bombs. They can also be the sun protector you and the kids never knew you wanted. The whole family can slather that sparkly shit everywhere! (Well, almost everywhere. Remember to never get it in your eyes!)
The hype was sparked by Sunshine & Glitter's Seastar Sparkle line, which comes in rainbow, gold and pink glitter. (Because why should you only sparkle one way when you can in three?)
At about $19 a bottle, the SPF 50 American-made formula is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and is cruelty-free, paraben-free, BPA-free and loaded with antioxidants. The company says their glitter is non-metallic and the products are safe to use on the face, but if you have a history of allergic or sensitive skin, it's good to test a bit of the product on the pulse point of your wrist or in the crook of your elbow. Parents should always consult a physician about products for babies younger than 6 months old.
All that said, the sunscreen doesn't come without some controversy. Although its "highest quality cosmetic-grade glitter" allows you to sparkle safely, experts are worried that the sparkle in glittery cosmetics isn't so safe for the environment. Admittedly, besides trying to get glitter off every human and home surface, most of us don't think about what happens to the stuff once it's washed down the drain.
The thing is, glitter is classed as microplastics, bits of plastic that measure less than five millimeters in length. According to National Geographic, microplastics can be found throughout lakes and oceans and are consumed by marine life. Plastic bits also collect in birds' stomachs and can cause them to die of starvation. Further, microplastics can act as a lifeboat for potentially harmful bacteria. It's why microbeads were banned from cosmetic and personal care products in the U.S. and why over-the-counter products (like toothpastes) containing plastic particles will be banned by July 2019.
But glitter doesn't have to be made from plastic. There are options now that are biodegradable and made from a plant cellulose, like from the brand Glitter Revolution, or made of synthetic mica and mineral glitter, like from Lush Ltd.
We hope glitter sunscreen manufacturers will catch on soon. It'll make human disco ball dance parties at the beach that much more snazzy and guilt-free.