Mica in Makeup

Mica in Makeup

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Whether you need to glitter like a disco drag queen or simply need a refined shimmer to brighten your face, the ingredient that provides your make-up its sparkle is mica. Unfortunately, the mineral that makes you look fairly has a reasonably ugly backstory that may make you determine au naturel is an effective look. But if the considered going out bare-faced provides you nightmares, there are some higher choices for shine.

Safe Makeup

It’s no secret that non-public care and wonder merchandise are among the many least regulated industries within the U.S. American shoppers on the lookout for safer cosmetics flip to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the EWG Skin Deep Database to seek out unhazardous private care merchandise. EWG charges mica as an ingredient with a relatively safe score of 2. That’s excellent news on your well being, since mica is current in practically each sort of beauty product – not simply those that promise shimmer. Even merchandise like deodorant and shaving cream incessantly make use of mica as a thickener.

Impacts of Mica

Mica is a bunch of 34 naturally occurring silicate minerals with a layered construction that makes it shine. People have been using it to deliver sparkle into their lives for the reason that historical Maya blended it with stucco. The mica that’s utilized in make-up largely comes from small mines in India. Although small-scale mining could be a more sensible choice than industrial mining, up to 70% of the mica in India is collected illegally from former industrial mines. These mines formally closed when the forests during which they’re positioned turned protected by India’s Forest Conservation Act. Illegal mine operators complement their revenue by way of illegal logging, which clears extra space to develop their operations

muscovite mica
The layered construction of this Muscovite mica makes it shine, however mica mining comes with moral points together with youngster labor. Image: Adobe Stock

Ethics of Mica

Worse than the environmental impression of mica mining is the direct human value. Many destitute households scavenge mica fragments with their naked palms from deserted pit mines the place they inhale mica mud and damage their lungs in alternate for 150 rupees (about $2) for 20 kilograms (44 kilos) of mica. A Dutch NGO reports that as much as 20,000 kids as younger as age 5 – 6 are working in unlawful Indian mica mines. An investigation by the Thompson Reuters Foundation revealed that in three months in 2016, a number of children were killed whereas working in unlawful mica mines in India. The Dutch research additionally discovered proof of kid labor and unlawful mining in Madagascar and recognized China, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Brazil as suspect based mostly on discrepancies between manufacturing and commerce figures for mica.

Mica-free Makeup

There are a number of manufacturers that provide mica-free make-up. Most Rejuva merchandise are mica-free, and Omiana’s web site is searchable with a mica-free filter. There is not any third-party verification for mica-free merchandise. If you need to keep away from mica fully, you’ll have to learn ingredient lists rigorously. Mica may be listed as muscovite, fluorophlogopite, or sericite.

Some merchandise use glitter as a substitute of mica. But glitter is constituted of small items of plastic, which behave like microplastics when they enter waterways – which they do. There are some new biodegradable glitters, however they don’t seem like any much less dangerous in aquatic ecosystems. Glitter is just not an amazing different to mica.

Ethical Mica?

The Responsible Mica Initiative (RMI), a world nonprofit group based mostly in France, goals to create accountable, traceable mica provide chains. Working in partnership with native stakeholders in India, their packages intention to concurrently develop provide chain maps and office requirements; empower communities in mining areas; and set up an enforceable authorized framework for continued mining. There at the moment are greater than 75 corporations participating in RMI, together with Burts Bees, L’Oreal, and Sephora.

glittery eye makeup and brush
Synthetic mica could also be a greater choice for cosmetics, however the environmental impacts of manufacturing it are unclear. Image by AdoreBeautyNZ, Pixabay

Synthetic Mica

There is an artificial different to mined mica, and a few corporations – most vocally Lush – advocate it as a greater materials to be used in cosmetics. They declare higher purity and a particle measurement that makes for brighter colours. Synthetic mica is created in a lab from magnesium aluminum silicate sheets. There doesn’t appear to be any info on the environmental impacts of manufacturing artificial mica, however its laboratory origin ought to at the very least assure that it’s free from youngster labor.

The Best Choice

The easiest answer can be to keep away from make-up altogether. Your private boycott of mica cosmetics is just not going to make a distinction. Mica is also used in auto paint, gypsum wallboard, electrical insulators, and dozens of different merchandise. There isn’t a transparent winner between RMI and artificial mica. Whatever you purchase, the best strategy to make a difference is by reaching out to beauty corporations. Let them know you care in regards to the environmental impression of your cosmetics and that you do not need your cash supporting youngster labor.