Ever heard of Mica? It is a shimmery mineral obtained by mining. It is the ingredient responsible for the shine and shimmer of many cosmetic products. Check the ingredient list of your favourite glittery eyeshadow, it is often listed as CI 77019.
It is commonly mined in rural India, and unfortunately it is an ingredient surrounded by ethical issues such as child labour and human rights abuses. Children are suited to mining mica because they can crawl through narrow mines and reach into small places. It is extremely dangerous and according to SOMO’s mica mining report, it is the most mortally dangerous sector for children.
Mica is not only used for shimmer, it is also used to colour matte products, making it an essential ingredient. It is very difficult to find mica free makeup. So, what can we do about it?
Cosmetic brands have two options; ethically source their mica OR use synthetic mica. Synthetic mica, also known as synthetic fluorphlogopite, is made in a lab. Despite being a man-made substance, synthetic mica is an environmentally friendly alternative to commonly used plastic glitters.
The number of brands being transparent about where and how their mica is sourced is growing. Brands such as Kosas, ColourPop and Anam (that’s us), only use mica that is sourced ethically. Other brands like Lush use lab-made synthetic mica. In the last few years the giants of the beauty world, including Estee Lauder and L’Oreal, have teamed up with organisations to help improve the traceability of the mica industry in India.
However there are many cosmetic brands that still do not state where their mica is sourced, and this is worrying. It is also quite disappointing that a lot of these brands will claim to be ‘cruelty free’ but have zero transparency about the mica they use. We know the term ‘cruelty free’ refers to animal testing, but it does still feel hypocritical to make that claim while having dangerous child labour in your supply chain.
Anam uses ethically sourced Mica
As you may know, the laboratory we work with was carefully chosen due to its strong stance on cruelty free, vegan, natural and ethical ingredients. They are strongly apposed to unethical sourcing of mica. They only work with companies who can prove they mine mica ethically and without the use of child labour.