New developments in plastic glitter alternatives from Geotech

Blog Archive | 5 minutes  | Author: Kulvinder Kaur , MChem.

Alternatives to glitter - the solution for sparkle without the plastic

Regulations for cosmetic grade glitter

Plastic microbeads were banned in the use of rinse-off cosmetics as of January 2018. This includes exfoliating beads and cosmetic grade glitters, such as holographic glitter or iridescent glitter. These pigments are often used in products like soaps and bath bombs. However, it didn’t stop there. Water quality, animal and human health concerns are the driving factor behind initiatives to eventually stop using microplastics in cosmetics altogether, including leave on products. ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) have assessed the environmental risks posed by microplastics and have concluded that an EU restriction would be justified. Many manufacturers have decided to pull the plug on microplastics and have stopped using PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) glitter completely.

Do you want to move away from PET Glitter? Are you unsure of what to do next? Are you looking for alternatives that meet the new legislation, whilst still giving a high-quality visual effect?

plastic free glitter in a pot

Alternatives to glitter on the market

You may already be aware of the various types of “bioglitter” - now available through suppliers on the market. This type of alternative to glitter is marketed as biodegradable, as it does not contain PET. However, some of the bio glitter available contains aluminium foil, which takes 100's of years to break down. Is this biodegradable? Other solutions include products based on cellulose film with no aluminium foil. Yes, they are plastic free, but they are unstable and have a limited shelf life. In fact, as soon as the product enters water, the bio glitter begins to degrade. They are also unstable in alcohol-based solutions and you will often see the colour leaching out into solution.  The cellulose based bio glitter contains no aluminium and therefore has no sparkle - it is quite dull and matte. Is this a real representation of glitter?


Our solution to PET-free glitter

Lawrence Industries' solution to PET-free glitter is Geoflake®. These products are manufactured by our supply partner GEOTECH, who are one of the leading European speciality pigment manufacturers. GEOTECH have been supplying special effect pigment into cosmetics and industrial formulations for more than 25 years. Geoflake® is based on synthetic mica (synthetic fluorphlogopite) and will offer excellent lustre effects due to the large particle size. Unlike traditional synthetic mica, Geoflake® offers a narrow particle size distribution allowing a very similar effect to glitter which is cut at one defined size. Geoflake® is available in two particle sizes: XL (200-500 microns) and XXL (500-1000 microns).

The benefits of Geoflake® include:

  • Mica is biodegradable – it is free from plastic and aluminium.
  • Geoflake® products are vegan (unlike some bioglitter on the market which contains ingredients derived from animals).
  • Synthetic mica gives a cleaner sparkle finish compared to natural mica, even though the platelet structure is the same.
  • Synthetic mica contains fewer heavy metals than natural mica.
  • There are no particle size restrictions with synthetic mica (natural mica cannot be larger than 150 microns around the eye area).
  • GEOTECH's products are stable in most solutions and the colour will not leach out.

It is worth bearing in mind that Geoflake® is not glitter, therefore will not act as a drop in countertype - even though a very similar effect can be achieved. Glitter is 15-30 microns thick whilst mica is only 2 microns in thickness.


Lawrence Industries can also offer Geodiamond® as another alternative to plastic glitter for cosmetic and industrial purposes. Geodiamond® products are based on borosilicate glass coated with titanium dioxide and a colourant; to give exceptional lustre and reflection. Similar to synthetic mica, there are also no stability issues nor are there particle size restrictions for the eye area. The particle size is 50-300 microns and the following colours are available:

  • Geodiamond® Rose Quartz L.
  • Geodiamond® Citrine L.
  • Geodiamond® Aragonite L.
  • Geodiamond® Emerald L.
  • Geodiamond® Amethyst L.


What to do now?

Get in touch with Lawrence Industries today, to see how we can help you with your cosmetic formulation. Please call us on 01827 314151, or request a sample directly through our website. One of our experts will be in touch to discuss your project and to make sure that we provide you with the level of assistance that you need. Lawrence Industries can offer to colour match your current glitters as well and are here to help with your cosmetic formulation needs.

Author: Kulvinder Kaur , MChem.

Kulvinder studied Chemistry at the University of Leicester, where she obtained a first class degree. She looks after all of the industry sections across England and Wales.