The Microbead Controversy

The use of Microbeads has recently been under the magnifying glass in Europe, and the US is slowly following the ban on these destructive little beads that is slowly destroying our planet.


In 2016 Elim Spa Products introduced the use of Jojoba Oil Beads in all of their granular products, doing away with any Micro- and Nanobeads.

"If small companies like Elim Spa Products can commit to providing Microbead-free options, then there should be no reason larger enterprises can't."

"It's about being dedicated to change and taking responsibility, but the truth is even those resistant companies will have no choice in becoming compliant with these new laws.” says CEO of Elim, Shantelle Booysen.

But what exactly is a Jojoba Oil Bead and how safe is this alternative?

We thoroughly investigated these beads and would love to share the insights we came to with you.

Jojoba beads are commonly mistaken for plastic Microbeads, simply because they look and feel so much alike, although the impact they have on our planet is vastly different.

Jojoba oil is a liquid wax derived from the jojoba shrub. The wax is processed to a solid wax, which is referred to as a jojoba ester. These jojoba esters are called jojoba beads and this is what we use in our exfoliators.


Spherical in shape, jojoba esters are biodegradable and come in a wide variety of colours and shapes. They provide great options when formulating granular products and their smooth shape avoids microscopic tears in the skin surface. A win-win situation for all.


Jojoba is a plant native to North America, the liquid wax ester of which can be turned into spherical jojoba beads. The good news is that these plants are not in danger and can be harvested freely.

“But there is always a catch” says Elim CEO, Shantelle Booysen. “They will certainly cost more and big companies have no ethics when sourcing cheap ingredients. Even if it costs us our planet.”

What are we doing though?

It’s all good and well to inform our listeners, consumers and readers about the dangers of these products to our planet, but what are we doing in industry and in government to exhilarate the complete eradication of Microbeads?


A bunch of clever greenies designed a brilliant app called “Beat the Microbead”

It allows you to scan the barcode of your products in the store to determine whether they contain Microbeads and if the manufacturer has agreed to remove them.

One app you should have before going to the drugstore in future.

This is only one example of non-profits informing the consumer. We also urge manufacturers to raise awareness by printing “Microbead free” on their packaging. This will increase overall awareness.

But then the most important one-off course is the legal protections. We need those laws restricting their use all over the world. There are fortunately companies working on this and so far, New York and California are leading the way with their ban on Microbeads. There are also talks underway in Europe and we are expecting legislation to go through rather sooner than later for Europe.


May this act as a wake up to consumers to ask the right questions and a call to our fellow manufacturers to switch to Jojoba Oil Alternatives.

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