A beautiful glossy lip or a glittery eyeshadow look may give us joy unless we know the dark reality of one of the main ingredients of these products used, Mica. Mica is a group of minerals which is used to give the shine to beauty and even skincare products. But the mining of mica is a process that includes child labour and exploitation in India with only small amount of wages in return to the risks of their lives everyday. However now, many brands are actually putting in the effort to look into this matter and use synthetic or ethical Mica to stop the exploitation and child labour.
We love the beaming highlighters to enhance our cheekbones and collarbones and using stunning colours of glitters to pop our eye looks, but did you actually know how its manufacturing results in child labour and exploitations?
Whenever we look into the ingredients of any products which consist of shine and glitters like highlighters, lip glosses and glittery eyeshadows, we usually see Mica to be one of the main ingredients. Yes, we do love a great shiny lip and a beautiful glitter eyelook that gives us joy for eternity, but the harsh reality in the Mica mines will leave you a stunt.
Let’s first know what Mica is and what its effects are. Mica is a group of 37 naturally occurring minerals which is common in igneous and metamorphic rocks and is too
occasionally found as small flakes in sedimentary rocks. They are mainly used to add the shine in beauty products which look very promising but are not very healthy to use. Mica business is carried out in large quantities and the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) predicts the market for this group of minerals will grow to almost $700 million USD in 2024. It is found in countries like the USA and Canada but the cosmetic industry massively sources its supply from India, where they are often mined by children who are given very low wages, which results in the decrease of the price of Mica for trading to different makeup and skincare companies.
Underaged children from about 5 years of age are forced to work in the mica mines with just a very small amount of wage of about 77 cents daily. They are put at risk of scorpion or snake bites and respiratory diseases such as Bronchitis, Silicosis, Asthma and sometimes even death. Almost 5 to 10 children die each month in Mica mines which is nearly impossible for us to imagine. Many so-called “cruelty-free” brands do not come clean about their resources of mica and what their sourcing procedures are.
But many brands are now coming up with an alternative to this problem. Famous brands such as Lush Beauty, Pure Ananda and many more are leaning towards using either synthetic Mica also known as synthetic Fluor phlogopite, created in labs or trying to ethically or transparently source their Mica.
Here are the names of a few skincare and makeup brands who use synthetic Mica, ethical Mica or are Mica free.
Bands that use synthetic Mica
● Lush Beauty
● Aether Beauty
● Fat and the Moon
● Jane Iredale
Brands that use ethical Mica
● Pure Ananda
● Clove + Hallow
● Au Naturale
● Red Apple Lipstick
● Dr. Hauschka
● Elate Cosmetics
Brands that are Mica-free
● Haut Cosmetics
Other well-known brands should put in more importance into using ethical or synthetic Mica as unless the brands do not take it to be a serious concern, this practice of child labour or exploitation shall go on for years. We, as consumers, must be aware of what we wear or use and should prefer going for brands who are actually clean and cruelty-free. All it needs is a change which may change the lives of many.
Authored By: Jayee Bora
Edited By: Megha MS