Waste Not

attempting to waste less and live more deliberately

Do Something




Update (added 11/8):

A reader asked “Question – can I use your letter when I write with a few changes? It’s so well-worded and well-thought-out and expresses my own sentiments so well….”

My answer…YES!  Please feel free to use the letter I have written as a jumping off point to send Mary Kay and other manufacturers your demands! Once you have, tell all your friends and encourage them to do the same!?????

-Lily Tomlin

After learning all about polyethylene beads (micro-beads) and the problems they pose for the planet, I was curious to see if any where lurking around in my home.

 Here is what I found:


Mary Kay Peach Satin Hands Satin Smoothie Hand Scrub (no joke, that is the full name). What does it contain?


Polyethylene Beads! Even listed as a key ingredient on their website (LINK)

Here is what I am doing:

Writing a message to David Holl (Mary Kay President and CEO) where I will…

  1. Inform the corporation of the harm caused by the polyethylene beads found in their products.
  2. State my intent to discontinue the use of any products containing polyethylene beads.
  3. State my intention to boycott all products made by Mary Kay until they commit to discontinuing the use of polyethylene beads in their products.
  4. State my intention to spread the word about the harmful ingredients used in Mary Kay products.
  5. Encourage Mary Kay to search for healthier, more responsible alternatives.

Encouraging friends and family to do the same.

What I Wrote:

Dear David Holl,

In 2012 researchers studying the Great Lakes found 450,000 bits of the micro-trash per square kilometer.  Among the bits, they found polyethylene beads, also known as micro-beads!

Micro-beads are designed not to clog plumbing; because of this, they easily make their way past filtration systems. Micro-beads pollute ocean gyres, bays, gulfs, seas, and lakes worldwide.

This is a problem.

Micro-plastics are pervasive in the marine environment. They absorb pollutants, are eaten by marine life which then are contaminated by the pollutants, and enter the food chain of many species, including ours.

Perhaps you are unaware that Mary Kay products contain polyethylene beads. I was also unaware of this until I read the ingredient list of my Peach Satin Hands Satin Smoothie Hand Scrub. Now that I know, I plan on taking the following actions:

1.            Discontinue the use of any products containing polyethylene beads.

2.            Boycott all products made by Mary Kay until a commitment to discontinue the use of polyethylene beads is made.

3.            Spread the word and encourage others to boycott Mary Kay products until polyethylene beads are no longer used.

Please find healthier, more responsible alternatives; consider nut shells and cocoa beans.

Thank you for your time and I trust you will do the right thing.



The message above worked fine for the UK and Canada, but the United States “Contact Us” page only allows 500 characters. Here is my condensed message to Mary Kay United States.

Dear David Holl,

I wish I could share my full message with you, but unfortunately I am only allotted 500 characters.

Mary Kay uses polyethylene beads in their products. These micro-beads are harming the marine environment. Until Mary Kay commits to discontinuing the use of polyethylene, I will be boycotting all products your corporation manufactures. I also plan on encouraging others to do the same.

Please consider alternatives such as nut shells and cocoa beans.



Here’s How:

Mary Kay United States: http://www.marykay.com/en-US/_layouts/MaryKayCore/ContactMK.aspx

Mary Kay Canada: http://www.marykay.ca/company/contact/default.aspx

Mary Kay United Kingdom: http://www.marykay.co.uk/page/contact_us


Mary Kay can do better! I have many friends and family who use and love Mary Kay, even some who sell it! I do not believe this is enough reason to turn a blind eye.  If you love something shouldn’t you encourage it to be the best it can be? And if you love clean water, shouldn’t you protect it?

Poly What?

Still have questions about polyethylene?  No worries! Keep digging, keep asking question!  Here is a clear explanation of the problem: http://5gyres.org/media/5_Gyres_Position_Paper_on_Microplastics.pdf


Let’s work together to demand better, safer products! Use the links above and let Mary Kay know that you love clean water and won’t be buying any products that might compromise the health of the marine environment.

♥ ali


15 thoughts on “Do Something

  1. Thanks for doing your part Ali. With all of this inspiration you ought to track down a job working as an environmental advocate. You are doing some great research and advocacy!!! Keep up the good work!


  2. PS- where did that quote at the top of the article come from?

  3. Thank you, Brice! That quote is by Lily Tomlin, she is an actress. Look her up, I bet you will recognize her immediately. It’s a great quote; it made me realize that I don’t need permission from anyone to start doing something. Very empowering. Have a good Thursday!!

  4. Very informative. I have one suggestion, call it ‘our’ ocean, our planet, and our environment instead of ‘the’ ocean et cetera. I think this small shift in wording/thinking will help people realize they are connected and not independent of our world that supports us.
    Thanks for your great post!

    • Carla!! Thank you so much for the advice! That is actually something I have thought about quite a bit and I am still not sure where I stand. I love “our” because it instills a connection and responsibility but I also don’t like “our” because it invokes ownership. Haha! I suppose I will figure our my wording someday 🙂 Thank you for your support!!!

    • Carla! That may even be a great concept to explore! How the language we choose (our vs. the) impacts our beliefs and ideas!! So many ideas floating around in my head 🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. Question – can I use your letter when I write with a few changes? It’s so well-worded and well-thought-out and expresses my own sentiments so well.

  6. You may have seen this already, but I wanted to share it just in case. 5 Gyres had great success with their Micro Beads campaign. You can see their Facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/5gyres/posts/10151798120303920

    Some inspiration! I’ve shared your post and hope to see something similar from Mary Kay. One of the responses invited me to call to “discuss” the comment.

  7. I did see that! Thank you for passing it along! I also got the automated response prompting me to call. I plan on calling this week 🙂
    Thank you for the message and have a great Sunday!!

  8. Hi Ali,

    I’m an MK beauty consultant, but I’m a friend to the ocean and its inhabitants first. I was wondering if there’s anything I can do to help since I’m in the MK business. I don’t know about my senior director, but I do know that I want to help.

    If you need proof of my business with mary kay, my web store is http://www.marykay.com/abrowne8

    • Hi there!
      I think communication is the most important! Sharing the news on facebook or other social media outlets, discussing the issue with your family, and even bringing it up with your MK director (in a non accusatory way). Likely it will snowball and companies will realize its not in their best interest to sell products that consumers wont buy lol!
      If you search “microbeads” on google news you will find many industries are starting to recognize the harm their products are doing. Very encouraging!
      Best of luck!

  9. I asked my MK rep about this (even sent her some information on how microbeads are damaging marine ecosystems), and well… she was immediately defensive. She IS a relative, and now she’s not speaking to me. It’s important that people be aware that if they are using a product that contains these plastic microbeads, that they’re aware.

    Her first question was, “What did you do with your Satin Hands?” Of course, I had taken them for proper disposal. I am glad to see that someone who sells MK posted here and cares about being proactive with this issue. What prompted me to even look at all of my skin care products (and my toothpaste too, because Crest adds these polyethylene beads to some of their toothpastes) was that Illinois passed a law prohibiting the sale of products containing polyethylene beads.

    There are other options that companies can use. Honestly, I was equally disturbed to find the microbeads in my toothpaste as I was to find them in my favorite hand scrub. I guess anything “gritty” is suspect. Read the labels…

    • Alea Rose,
      I can relate! I think defense is often the first reaction, but I tend to think that spirit comes from somewhere that cares. Perhaps you planted a seed and they will be more conscious of their choices moving forward. Good for you!

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