We love the blinged-out glitter makeup trend as much as you do—in fact, we're this close to bedazzling everything within reach—but we might have to rein ourselves in. Scientists are actually calling glitter a "global hazard"!
Let us elaborate. Everyone knows that the worst part of rocking a sparkle-covered look is washing the stuff off at the end of the night, and, as it turns out, there's a dark side to shimmer that goes far beyond a hopelessly stained bathroom sink. "[Glitter] is going to escape down the plughole and potentially enter the environment," UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove told The Independent.
Experts have estimated that 51 trillion pieces of microplastics have entered our oceans. Since glitter is so tiny, many sea species—ranging from plankton to whales—end up eating it, often to fatal effects. In fact, Professor Richard Thompson of Plymouth University reported that a third of caught critters in the UK have ingested plastic.
What goes around comes around, btw. Professor Dr. Trisia Farrelly of Massey University told The Independent that glitter is made of aluminum and PET (a type of plastic full of cancer-causing toxins) meaning bad news for us humans who may have eaten any of the affected seafood.
Don't get discouraged, though! You can still turn your face into a living, breathing disco ball by way of ethical shimmer: indie beauty brands like EcoStardust, BioGlitz, and Festival Face all sell biodegradable glitter, so pile up and shine on.