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9 Incredible Facts You Never Knew About Glitter

It's even been used for military purposes! Buuuuut it can also be not so great for the environment.

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1. There is an evolutionary reason why we are so attracted to glitter.

Ever wonder why people are so mesmerized by these little, shiny dots? Well, according to this article from "Fast Co Design," it's because glitter reminds us of something else that also glistens, reflects, and that we can't live without: that's right, water.

2. Glitter has been around since ancient times.

If we were to map out glitter's family tree, the mineral group mica would be at the top! According to this article in "The New Yorker," mica flakes have been used this way since the days of cave paintings. In fact, it was being used by some ancient civilizations (including the Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans) since as early as 40,000 B.C.!

3. But glitter as we know it today was actually invented by accident by a machinist.

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Glitter as we know it today was invented in 1934 by the American machinist Henry Ruschmann. He basically created a machine that crushed plastic in large quantities. According to this article from "The Huffington Post," the company he founded remains one of the industry's largest in the United States to this day.

4. Glitter is made more or less like this:

According to this Reddit AMA (answered by a guy who worked in a glitter factory), the color is applied to a sheet of plastic polymer that is glued to a sheet of reflective material, such as aluminum. The new sheet goes into a rotary crusher and the result is glitter in small pieces of identical size. The smaller the glitter, the longer it takes to make because there are more cuts needed.


5. Did you know that glitter has even been used for military purposes?

According to this article by Mental Floss, for some time the US Air Force used a military strategy called "chaff," which consisted of releasing glitter from the back of warplanes to confuse the radar of enemy forces. The UK also tried a similar trick to fool German radar, using strips of aluminum-coated paper.

6. Here is a brief guide to getting glitter off any part of your body:

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Fingernails: To remove glitter nail polish, moisten a cotton ball with acetone, place it on the nail, secure it with an elastic band or wrap it with tinfoil, and leave it there for a few minutes. The acetone will practically melt away most of the polish that's sticking the glitter to the nail, which makes removal very easy.

The face: According to makeup artist Hannah Levy Nunes, when you're applying makeup and get glitter in an area where you don't want it, the quickest way to get it off is by using adhesive tape. Try to use tapes specifically meant for the skin, such as a micropore medical tape, for example.

And remember, you shouldn't use stationery glitter near your eyes. "You can use it everywhere except the eyes. It's itchy, and your eyes could become inflamed or you could even scratch your cornea!" explains the makeup artist.

The face and body after partying: To get the glitter to come off easily with water, apply a little cream makeup remover or even conditioner. Just be careful not to rub too hard, or else you might irritate the skin.

The oilier makeup removers only work if you used a product to glue the glitter onto your skin, such as eyelash glue, for example. Otherwise, they may have the opposite effect and make the glitter stick even better! If a lot of glitter still remains even after you've showered, you can use the tape trick, or even use one of those adhesive lint and hair removers for clothes.

Hair: A recent beauty trend is glitter roots, which consists of applying glitter to the roots of your hair. But if there's a technique for putting it on, there's usually one for taking it off, too. Here it is: separate the part that you slathered with glitter and saturate it with conditioner. Pass a fine-tooth comb through it, and then rinse thoroughly. Then simply wash your hair as you normally would.

If, after shampooing, there are still some remnants of glitter, when your hair is dry, you can then use paper towels sprayed with a little hairspray and dab the area with the sticky towels to remove the excess pieces of glitter.

7. Glitter at the scene of a crime is every investigator's dream.

The glitter particles spread all over the place — on the victim, at the crime scene, in the car, on the criminal's clothes — and it can be a fundamental piece of evidence to incriminate a criminal. That's what happened in this case of a pedophile who tried to attack a little girl who left home wearing glittery tennis shoes.

8. Glitter can be an enemy to the environment.

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Glitter is at the center of an ecological controversy. Because they're so tiny, glitter particles can pass through sewage treatment filters and then end up being dumped into the ocean. Since they're made of plastic, it can take up to 400 years for each tiny particle to degrade. And in the meantime, they interfere with ocean life and could even end up in YOUR stomach!

9. But if you still want to sparkle without messing up the planet, don't worry! You can buy eco-friendly glitter!

It's made from ingredients like vegetables, seaweed, minerals, and other biodegradable materials. This special glitter is perfect for all those who want to keep on shining without messing with Mother Earth.

This post was translated from Portuguese.