TIME Diet/Nutrition

Beauty Tips from a Woman Who Rinses Her Hair with Beer

The author, Adina Grigore
Brittany Travis

Why the best skincare products might already be in your kitchen cabinet

If you let author Adina Grigore tell it, the key to healthy, glowing skin is lying in your cupboard. That’s the promise of her new book Skin Cleanse: The Simple, All-Natural Program for Clear, Calm, Happy Skin, which makes the case that better skin come from putting the right foods in, and on, your body.

For Grigore, getting skincare is an inside job. She solved her own complicated skin issues by dropping all store-bought products and cleaning up her diet and supplementing with simple ingredients she could find in her own kitchen. Here, Grigore, who also has a simple-ingredient skincare line called S.W. Basics of Brooklyn, shares her favorite natural skincare tips.

Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore
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TIME: How often do you need to wash your face?

Adina Grigore: Much less often than you would think! Right now we believe we need to be washing our faces all the time—at the very least twice a day. But I would argue that you can wash your face with water twice a day, or once a day. I would go so far as to freak people out by saying you could go a few days without washing your face at all, and you’ll benefit from it. That’s usually when people run screaming, though.

T: How, exactly, do you wash your face with just water?

AG: Reject the TV-commercial water-splash method. Take your clean hands, cup water in them, get the water all over your face and actually rub your face with your hands up and down. You’re actually removing dirt from your face with the water and your hands. You know when you see little chipmunks or squirrels cleaning themselves? Or your cat? Kind of like that. Water actually works really well.

T: Do you only wash your face with water even if you’re wearing makeup?

AG: No, because I think a lot of us these days are using makeup that’s so intense that it’s meant to resist basically everything. I make a joke in the book that you could survive a war and your makeup would still look the same. With makeup—and this is particularly true for foundations, concealers, powders—for that you’re going to want something like an oil or a soap to really cut away the ingredients off of your skin.

T: Tell me about the concept of a skin cleanse. What does it mean?

AG: It’s a break from skincare products. You can add things to your skin cleanse. You can think about your food. You can think about your lifestyle. But to do a skin cleanse, all you actually have to think about is taking a break from your products. That can mean taking a break from some of them or all of them. That can mean that you really indulge in some DIY recipes or experiment with single ingredients from your kitchen. For some people it’s just not wearing makeup for a day.

T: Walk me through your own personal routine.

AG: It’s as hippie as it gets. I wash with water every day, usually twice a day. When I do a really, really hard workout or when I’m wearing makeup, that’s when I use a makeup remover to cleanse or a foaming, sudsy face wash. That’s probably once a week. I only wash with water in the shower, which everyone always thinks is crazy. I’ve survived, and I’m not stinky. But I do use a natural shampoo and conditioner because my hair’s really difficult.

Everything else is a luxurious treat. I’ll exfoliate maybe once every couple weeks. I’ll do a mask once a month. Sometimes I’ll grab an ingredient from my cabinet like honey and do a mask with it or wash my face with it. I’m so sensitive that I was only able to clear my skin by doing it this way.

T: So how do you not smell?

AG: Smell generally comes from what you do when you get out of the shower. Are you taking care of yourself? Are you healthy? It’s not about, “Oh, I didn’t use body wash, so I don’t smell nice.” That’s a myth.

T: Diet is something you talk about a lot in the book. Are there foods you eat that your skin just immediately loves?

AG: Yes. The more you simplify your diet, the better your skin does. When I was eating really complicated food—eating out a lot, ordering takeout—that’s when my skin was really struggling. The more you can cook at home or at least know where your food is coming from, that’s definitely a big improvement.

There are a couple foods people don’t really think about as much as they should, especially in relation to skin: fat, which is now starting to get a little more attention, thankfully, and fermented foods. They’re key staples for your diet and help you have healthy skin. The nice thing about your skin is this stuff is quick. You see it immediately. You eat one salad or one plateful of vegetables, and you’re like, that was awesome! But if you think of it as, “Oh my God, starting tomorrow I have to be a raw vegan or I’m doing everything wrong,” then you’re never going to feel good about it.

T: What’s the ideal thing to eat when you’re preparing for a big event?

AG: Number one, be very careful to not change anything drastically. Not a good time to go on a juice cleanse, not a good time to suddenly starve yourself. That’s what everyone tends to rush over to, and it’s the worst thing you can do to yourself. Any drastic shift that you make in your diet or lifestyle is going to result in at least a little bit of your skin and body being like, “What is going on?” You don’t want a breakout, and you don’t want to get stressed and cause even more of a breakout. So don’t do anything crazy.

Drink a ton of water, that’s by far the best and fastest thing you can do in feeling and looking better. I say in the book don’t get caught up in how much water, just drink more of it. Carry it around with you, make herbal teas, whatever you need to do to get uncaffeinated beverages into your body.

T: When you feel a zit starting to grow, what do you do?

AG: When you feel a breakout coming on, if it’s on the day of a big date, don’t do anything. Just leave it alone! But if you’re at home, or if it’s the weekend and you feel like you want to experiment a little bit, try single ingredients from your cabinet. Baking soda is great. Honey is really, really great. Sea salt is amazing. You can wet it and just dab the spot you’re breaking out on. Apple cider vinegar, too. These are all super strong, and you’ll feel them when you apply them on your skin, you’ll feel the tingle. But they’re really effective. Just be patient and gentle and don’t run for 50 different products, because that will just aggravate it more.

T: In the book you talk about conditioning your hair with beer.

AG: Mostly I just wanted people to drink some beer in the shower. No, I’m just kidding! Beer is really nice. It’s super conditioning. While you’re pouring it in your hair, it feels a little luxurious, which is counterintuitive to what you’d think pouring a can of beer in your hair is like. But the B vitamins and all the nutrients from the fermenting are really great, and it’ll add body to your hair, too.

T: So is drinking beer good for your skin?

AG: I knew that was coming. The problem is the same with beer and alcohol as it is with a lot of foods in our diet. A beer that has gone through crazy amounts of steps to get into that bottle, it’s not the same as if you were to brew some on your countertop. A small amount of it would be good for you if you want to start your own home brewing process.

T: Let’s talk about putting oil on your face, even if you’re breakout-prone?

AG: My theory is that fear of oil comes from back in the day when companies were using a lot of mineral oil. It’s really, really hard on the skin. Everyone started freaking out over the oil in this product. Beauty companies should have come out and said ‘It’s mineral oil, that’s the problem.’ Instead, they came out with products they called “oil-free.” But a lot of natural oils are actually super great for your skin. Jojoba oil, olive oil, sweet almond oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, all of these are amazing.

T: Are there any kitchen products you should definitely not put on your face?

AG: It’s just important to go really slowly. Tiptoe into your kitchen, don’t charge in there and scrub your whole body with sea salt and wonder, “Why am I bright red?” I think the bigger fear in the kitchen is just diving in and going overboard, then freaking out when you have a reaction. This happens a lot with apple cider vinegar. People will buy a huge jar of it and then they’ll drench themselves in it and have reactions. Apple cider vinegar is a super-intense ingredient.

T: What else do you really want people to know about their skin?

AG: You don’t have to be super hardcore like I am to still make little changes that will make your skin feel way better. Even if you didn’t used to read ingredient lists and now you kind of look at them more, that’s already a huge change. We’re all beauty junkies. But it should feel fun and it should feel like everything you’re using is helping you and is good for you—not like, “Oh my God, I have to keep buying products and my skin’s a nightmare.” I’m trying to get us out of that zone.

TIME toxins

You Asked: Should I Dry Brush My Skin?

Illustration by Peter Oumanski for TIME

There may be benefits, but reducing cellulite isn’t one of them.

If you’re wondering what dry brushing is, the practice is exactly what it sounds like: Running a dry, soft-bristle brush over your bare skin. Methodologies vary, but most practitioners and beauty blogs recommend brushing your limbs and torso, always motioning toward your heart. Do this for a few minutes every day, they say, and you’ll increase blood flow and circulation, which will help your body and lymphatic system clear away toxins. Dry brushing is also thought to reduce cellulite and exfoliate, leaving your skin softer, more toned and better hydrated.

Unfortunately, there’s not much research to back up these health claims. “I know dry brushing is popular, but the actual benefits are unclear,” says Dr. Tina Alster, director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and a clinical professor at Georgetown University.

Alster says that rubbing the skin—with a brush, your hand or anything else—will increase blood flow and circulation, giving your skin a flushed, youthful and “slightly swollen” appearance. (The same thing happens if you pinch your cheeks.) But your skin will return to normal very quickly after you’ve stopped brushing it, Alster says. There’s no evidence this temporary surge in blood flow will help your body remove waste or toxins, she adds.

Dry brushing will clear away dead skin cells. But exfoliating isn’t necessary for those in their teens and twenties. “When you’re young, your skin’s outermost layer will automatically turn over without any mechanical help,” Alster explains. Beginning in your thirties and increasing as you age, Alster says your skin’s cells can grow “stickier,” which can lead to accumulation and a dull appearance. “Exfoliation can help remove those stuck-together cells,” she says. “But you want to do it very gently and infrequently, or you may do more harm than good.”

Brushing too frequently or vigorously—or using a brush with rough bristles—could cause “micro-cuts” in your skin that may lead to infection, Alster says. Exfoliating more than once a week could also break down your skin’s protective barriers, leaving your hide less hydrated and prone to irritation, says Dr. Marc Glashofer, a New York-based dermatologist and member of the American Academy of Dermatology. For that reason, Glashofer says people with eczema or dry skin should avoid dry brushing altogether.

Glashofer mentions a common skin condition called keratosis pilaris (KP), which consists of many small rough bumps that tend to show up on the backs of arms and thighs. Dry brushing these areas could theoretically be beneficial, he says, but there’s no evidence yet.

And when it comes to reducing cellulite, both Glashofer and Alster say there’s nothing to back up such claims. “If brushing the skin twice per day would eliminate cellulite, you would have heard a lot more about it and there’d be some scientific proof,” Glashofer says.

Of course, not everything that benefits your body is easily captured by medical research. From meditation to massage, many practices once dismissed by clinicians have recently been linked to meaningful psychological and physical benefits. It’s possible dry brushing may one day fall into this category, but that day hasn’t arrived yet.

“If you like dry brushing and your skin looks good, that’s fine,” Alster says. “But would I encourage it as a dermatologist? Definitely not.”

Read next: 25 Delectable Detox Smoothies

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TIME beauty

5 Ways to Improve Your Skin Through Food

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Yes, you are welcome to use food on your skin

As anyone who’s broken out after a late-night drinking and pizza binge can attest, diet is clearly linked to skin condition. But there’s so much conflicting information about how to manage your diet for the most beautiful skin possible, as well all kinds of wacky DIY recipes (we’ll pass on the mayonnaise face mask, thank you very much). To get some clarity, FWx spoke to nutrition expert and esthetician Britta Plug, who helps clients overhaul their diets and skincare routines at Brooklyn’s Treatment by Lanshin. Here, she debunks beauty myths and calls out natural health trends to look for in 2015.

1. Eat Less Inflammatory Foods
The biggest culprit are inflammatory foods like dairy, gluten and sugar. If you’re having issues with your skin, those are foods to experiment with eliminating. Try taking them out for two weeks and see if that has any effect. Also, when you bring those foods back in your body will have a more heightened reaction, so you can see how they affect you—gas, bloating, headaches, whatever the symptoms are for you. If you’re eating them all the time, your body has more of a low-grade reaction. We all have varying tolerance levels, but those foods are the general culprits.

2. Only Eat High Quality Dark Chocolate
I used to think the advice about chocolate [making you break out] was a myth, but since I’ve started working with an acupuncturist, I’ve been incorporating a lot of Chinese medicine into my practice, and there is something behind the idea that chocolate can be inflammatory. But we’ve also been exploring the benefits of high quality dark chocolate for cystic acne. It depends on the person.

3. Invest in a Good Probiotic
Gut health and skin health are really tightly linked. Probiotics are huge. High quality probiotics, in capsule form, are great, as are fermented foods like kimchi. People often say to me, “Well I eat a lot of yogurt.” But you have to be eating whole milk, low sugar yogurt to get the benefits, and you first want to make sure you’re not sensitive to dairy. That’s why I really recommend sauerkraut and kimchi.

If you start taking a high quality probiotic, you’ll usually notice a pretty big difference—you will go to the bathroom more often! You want to start with just once a day, and then work up to the recommended dosage. All probiotics are labeled by what they contain, but it can be tricky to make sure you’re getting quality ones, even from a health food store. It’s best if you can pay a visit to a functional medicine practitioner. I don’t officially endorse them, but I use Dr. Mercola probiotics often in my practice.

4. Use Food on Your Face
While eating yogurt can by iffy if you’re sensitive to dairy, it’s great for using as a mask. It’s a little acidic and it’s nourishing, plus strengthens the flora of the skin.

I am a huge fan of using honey on the skin. It’s an amazing cure-all. Any honey is great, but Manuka honey in particular just works miracles for any skin type. It’s full of vitamins so it’s great for acne and anti-aging. I especially love it for after sun-care. To make a mask, mix about half a teaspoon of honey and mix it with half a teaspoon of warm water, and just spread it onto your skin and leave on for as long as you can before rinsing off. I’ve definitely fallen asleep with honey mask on and woken up stuck to my pillowcase. Manuka honeys are all labeled with a UMF rating, the Unique Manuka Factor. The higher the UMF, the better. I think 16+ is the highest I’ve seen.

5. Experiment with Charcoal and Sandalwood
Charcoal has always been big for the skin, but I’ve been seeing a lot of charcoal drinks coming out, like charcoal lemonades. It can be helpful if you need a detox. For example, if you’re gluten intolerant and accidentally ingest gluten, you can take a charcoal capsule to rebalance your gut.

Sandalwood is also something we’re going to be seeing a lot more of, in things like skincare oils. All essential oils are healing, and sandalwood is especially helpful for getting circulation going for healing. In Chinese medicine it’s referred to as a “blood mover,” so it can be great for congested or acne prone skin.

One Important General Tip: Don’t Strip Your Skin
I think one of the biggest mistakes I see people making is overwashing and scrubbing their skin. I recommend just cleansing once a day, at night, to remove any makeup and pollution from your skin. Then, just rinse with water in the morning. And keep your routine fairly simple.

This article originally appeared on FWx.com.

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TIME medicine

5 Signs Your Hormones Are Out of Whack

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When it's normal, and when to see your doctor

Raise your hand if, in the last few weeks, you’ve felt tired, bloated, or cranky. Sound familiar? Then you know the drill: Every month, your hormones—the body’s itty-bitty secret weapon—come out to play, wreaking havoc on your mood, skin, and mind. While levels generally stabilize after your period, various factors, like stress (yup, keep those hands raised) and anxiety can throw them off balance. So how can you tell if your symptoms require an office visit? Alyssa Dweck, MD, an OB-GYN at the Mount Kisco Medical Group in New York shares the five red flags that might merit a doctor’s note.

Fatigue

Exhaustion is one of the most, well, exhausting symptoms to a doc, since it has so many possible causes. “If you’re tired after a week of final exams or late nights at work, then you’re probably fine,” says Dr. Dweck. “But if you constantly feel worn out and notice weight gain, appetite fluctuations, and a change in bowel movements, it could be a sign of an underactive thyroid.” Yes, fatigue happens to everyone, but if yours doesn’t feel logical, then it’s worth getting it checked out.

Skin changes

You’re breaking out—again. While those sudden zits could be caused by one too many nights of going to bed without washing your face, they may be indicative of something more. “Adult acne or cystic acne around the lower half of your face could suggest a high level of testosterone,” says Dr. Dweck. Although not a life-threatening problem, breakouts can take a toll on your psyche. Luckily, your doc can prescribe you medication to stabilize your hormone levels and clear up skin.

Hair growth

We’re talking really fast hair growth. “If you all of a sudden grow a beard within a month or notice coarse, dark hair popping up on your chest, back or arms, that could be indicative of a testosterone-secreting tumor,” explains Dr. Dweck. But don’t freak out: Tumors are rare, she notes, and can often be treated with drugs or surgery.

Weird periods

Just like fatigue, a messed-up menstrual cycle can be the result of many factors, like stress, thyroid issues, low estrogen, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). “The hallmark of PCOS is irregular or absent periods, but it could also present with difficulty losing weight or strange hair growth,” says Dr. Dweck. Generally, PCOS is managed through diet, exercise and birth control pills, but your doctor will work with you to develop a multi-faceted plan if she finds this to be the cause of your period problems.

Night sweats

Unless it’s unusually warm in your bedroom, waking up feeling overheated and sweaty could be the result of lower estrogen levels and infrequent ovulation—aka perimenopause. “Perimenopause can occur up to 10 years before you’re even near the age of menopause,” says Dr. Dweck, “so unless you’re having major menstrual issues before age 40, there’s a good chance your phantom sweating could actually be early menopause.” Either way, Dr. Dweck recommends making an appointment with your doc to make sure it’s nothing more serious.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME beauty

5 Beauty Tips Women Can Learn From Dudes

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This post originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

When we’re looking for expert beauty advice, there are certain sources we always turn to. And, typically, the men in our lives don’t make that list. It’s not because we don’t trust them — it’s just that we don’t think they have any idea what they’re talking about regarding beauty (with a few notable exceptions, of course). Really, does your brother or boyfriend or best guy friend actually know the best way to craft a perfectly tousled beach wave?

While they might not know how to make Gisele hair happen for you, these dudes do prescribe to a few key beauty theories we might learn a thing or two from. We know. So, we quizzed three experts on some of the guy tips we can and should adopt. Ahead, what men do behind (closed) bathroom doors — the lessons you can take away may just surprise you.

Exfoliation

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Since men shave their faces, they’re getting regular exfoliation — without the extra step. “Exfoliation helps to get rid of the top layer of dead skin cells, called the stratum corneum, and in doing so, it helps to force the skin to turn over,” says Dr. Anthony Rossi, a New York dermatologist. “By shaving, men are actually causing slight trauma to their skin, causing it to repair itself. It’s just like what dermatologists do when they perform a dermabrasion or laser resurfacing — we’re causing a controlled trauma that forces the body to make new collagen to repair it.”

Is whipping out your razor the answer? Not exactly. (Though, it’s safe. More on that in a second.) Rossi does urge women to exfoliate regularly — even daily, if you can get away with it. “Try using an exfoliating beard scrub, like Jack Black Face Buff Energizing Scrub. Products like this can really help women exfoliate — this one has vitamin C and menthol in it.”

Getting back to the topic of razors, Rossi says it’s perfectly fine to shave your face — there is no scientific evidence to show hair grows back thicker or faster. “Some patients may feel that, after shaving, the quality of the hair may change, but there has not been scientific evidence to prove this,” he says. “There is no proof that if you shave, it will come back thicker.” So, shall we finally put a pin in that complaint, ladies?

(MORE: Beauty Cheat Sheet: 10 Shortcuts For Lazy Girls Everywhere)

Keep It Classic

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Ever notice how there doesn’t seem to be a ton of variety with regard to dudes’ coiffs? “This isn’t a fact, but I think probably 80% of men’s haircuts are the exact same shape,” says hairstylist Ashley Streicher, who has worked on the manes of Jason Segal, John Krasinski, Andy Samberg, and more. “Sure, lengths and textures differ. But, a classic men’s haircut is usually the base of all haircuts.”

Keeping this in mind, Streicher advises women to stick to timeless haircuts. “I think that women can learn that timeless is pretty,” she says. “Rather than always fighting to be avant-garde, sometimes just a really well-done, classic haircut can be different and gorgeous, whether it be a bob, beautifully cut layers, or a blunt fringe.” When in doubt, stick with what never goes out of style.

Moisturize

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Slicking on some lotion after we shave is standard practice for us. But, men also hydratebefore their razors get anywhere near their skin.
“A preshave oil creates a barrier on your skin from the blade of your razor, preventing ingrown hairs, razor burn, and bumps,” says Tony Sosnick, founder of Anthony Logistics. “Women can really benefit from a good prehsave oil, like Anthony Pre-Shave Oil, which is formulated with essential oils and healing calendula, to achieve a flawless shave.” Not only will the oils soften your skin, they’ll also soften your hairs, which makes them easier to shave.

(MORE: The Korean Secret to Poreless Skin)

Go With The Flow

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Natural texture? Not something we ladies always like to deal with — as evidenced by the fact that we started straightening, curling, and beating our hair into general submission early on in life. But, Streicher says most men figure out the texture of their hair right away and then just learn how to deal. “They learn their texture and work with it,” she says. “Women are constantly fighting curls by blowing them straight. Or, if their hair is fine, they fry it with a curling rod.”

Basically, we’re never satisfied. So, instead of pulling out your tools every time you wake up with frizz, work with what you’ve got. Undone hair is pretty in right now, anyway, so you’d be doing yourself (and your hair) a favor.

Steamy

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Now, this doesn’t mean you should hop into a steam room daily. (Although, we admit that sounds heavenly.) “Men oftentimes use warm face towels to steam the facial skin to release trapped hairs and make it easier to shave,” Rossi says. “It’s a technique that’s been used by barbers for many years and gives a better shave.”

(MORE: 44 Magical Beauty Buys That Will Sell Out)

You can certainly get steamy by making your own barbershop towel at home, but there’s an even easier way. “If you don’t have time for a hot towel, shaving in the hot shower can produce a very similar effect,” Rossi says. Just be careful not to stand in the direct stream of hot water — it can scald your skin and dry you out.

 

TIME skincare

Know What’s In Your Face Wash: Why Illinois Banned Microbeads

Superparamagnetic microbeads: the monosized Dynabeads
Kunnskap Superparamagnetic microbeads

Illinois is the first state to ban tiny plastic microbeads in cosmetics like face wash, which damage marine life

Exfoliating microbeads, which are tiny bits of plastic, in your face wash are causing some serious damage to your skin and environment, and states are starting to crack down.

This month, Illinois banned the sale of cosmetics containing plastic microbeads, becoming the first state to legally take a strong stance against what researchers are calling a serious environmental problem. The plastic waste caused by the microbeads, which are not filtered out during sewage treatment, are damaging water ecosystems. A report recent published by the U.N. Environment Programme says plastic waste causes $13 billion in damage every year to marine life.

Since the beads are so small, fish and other marine life easily swallow them, causing DNA damage and even death. A 2008 study from UK researchers showed that the plastics remained inside mussels for 48 days. Last year, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Superior reported at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society that there were 1,500 to 1.7 million plastic particles per square mile in the Great Lakes.

The Illinois ban is encouraging for other states pushing similar laws, and the fact that Illinois’ new ban had industry players on board means cooperation is possible in other regions, too. “This was a cooperative effort with the industry in order to address our and their concerns,” says Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. “In the end, we were trying to get something that would pass. Other states should try for more stringent standards.”

Walling says she’s happy with the results, though she wishes the timeline was shorter. Manufacturers have a phase out period between 2017-2019.

Other states like New York, California and Ohio are trying to pass similar bans. California wants to allow biodegradable beads, and New York lawmakers, which worked with plastic-fighting group 5 Gyres, have so far received positive response to their legislation. Earlier this summer, New Jersey democrat U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. introduced a bill that would make a nationwide ban possible in 2018.

Microbeads can also be vicious on your skin. While the little beads help deeply cleanse the pores, they can also cause tears if used too roughly. But if you love the feeling of rubbing dead skin off your face (that’s what they’re for)—there are some natural versions of face wash that use ingredients like oatmeal instead.

As TIME reported in May, companies appear to be open to finding substitutes. And in 2012, consumer goods company Unilever committed to making all of its products plastic-free by 2015. Big cosmetic companies like L’Oréal have also pulled away from microbeads.

Walling says she has been contacted by several groups in other states trying to outlaw microbeads, and she thinks it will only take about two more states to pass similar bans for the industry effect to be felt nationwide. “There’s definitely a lot of interest from many states,” says Walling. “Industry wants to address this issue. They have interest in getting involved.”

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