You might have seen on the news or even read on a beauty blog about the latest problematic ingredient found in an alarming number of personal care products: plastic microbeads. These teeny tiny terrors can be found in everything from nail products (remember the “caviar nails” craze?) to toothpastes, but they’re most commonly used as an abrasive agent in many exfoliating scrubs. While the little plastic beads might seem like a cheap and easy exfoliator, microbeads are actually wreaking havoc on the Great Lakes and the fish that live in them every time they’re washed away down the drain. So it only makes sense that major companies like The Body Shop have sworn to cease producing scrubs with microbeads, especially as New York looks to outright ban them from beauty products.


So in light of this announcement, we thought we’d suggest a few DIY eco-friendly alternatives to the vilified facial scrubs, with nary a microbead in sight.

1. Morning Brew

  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of coffee grounds

Due to its caffeine, coffee is a natural instant pick-me-up as well as a toner, and can help exfoliate the skin through its texture and chemical properties. Brown sugar will smooth and soften the skin to help dead cells loosen and slough off, and both ingredients combined help stimulate the growth of new skin cells too. And, after massaging this mix onto your face during your morning shower, the pore-opening steam gives the added bonus of making your bathroom smell like a latte shop. Bliss.

2. Matcha “Mud” Mask

  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of matcha (green tea) powder

Plain yogurt is a natural and gentle exfoliator, and its thick consistency makes for the perfect “mud” mask base. Green tea is known for its endless list of miracle properties: anti-aging abilities, anti-inflammatory abilities, acne help, and more. When powdered green tea is stirred into a bowl of yogurt, it’s a literal recipe for pampered skin. Just apply the mixture to a clean dry face with your (washed) fingertips, making sure to leave on a fairly thick layer. Tip your head back and let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing off for a non-abrasive exfoliant alternative.

Which exfoliator sounds best for your skin?