• Amy Raimondi, NTP, MLIS

Your Eyeshadow Shouldn't Be Shady: The Truth About Mica

Updated: Feb 8, 2020

Have you ever heard of mica?

Mica is a globally sourced mineral and key ingredient found in color cosmetics, and other items like automotive paints and electronics. Specific to cosmetics, mica gives our color cosmetics the beautiful shine and shimmer we all love. This mineral is used for the base of many color cosmetics and also can create a shimmer effect in pressed powders, lip glosses, and lipsticks.

It's a clean, safe ingredient, but like coffee and chocolate there is a lot of controversy about how it is sourced. It is quite disturbing. It came to my attention when Beautycounter announced this fall that they are on a mission to make sure their supply chain is responsibly sourced, and will be auditing where every single piece of mica they use comes from. To be honest, I had never heard of mica before and didn't think much of it. Then I saw NBC's article Zone Rouge: An army of children toils in African mines - How mica mined by kids in Madagascar ends up in products used by millions of Americans (again, this may be disturbing). Beautycounter does not purchase mica from Madagascar. The mica industry has some serious transparency issues. It's not enough that Beautycounter uses only responsibly-sourced mica (they have already conducted phone audits for 10o% of their suppliers, and in partnership with two trusted organizations, Kailash Satyarthi’s Children’s Foundation and MIT-founded Sourcemap, they have been conducting in-person audits of the mines supplying their mica which will be completed in 2020). Beautycounter's commitment to being a leader in the beauty industry goes beyond just making clean products. In an effort to change the industry and increase transparency, they released a documentary exposing the truth. You can watch it here :

Again, this is a clean, safe ingredient but it's a matter of sourcing and transparency. Mica's supply chain is notorious for using child or forced labor.

Safety and performance are two of their non-negotiables. Beautycounter makes products that you want to wear because they work, and they also need to be safe. But mica, a key ingredient, often has a secretive and shady supply chain, and they want to make sure the people mining mica are safe too.

We want to do the hard work ourselves and then share our learnings with other beauty brands, cleaning up the industry at large.

You can rest assured that the mica in Beautycounter's products are responsibly sourced (they are also auditing their supply chain for palm-oil derivatives at this time). For the past 18 months, they have been traveling around the world to visit every single mine where their mica is sourced to make sure they uphold responsible sourcing standards. As a result of these audits, Beautycounter has dropped some suppliers that didn’t meet their standards. While in-person audits are time-consuming, expensive, and sometimes dangerous, it is important, necessary work. Beautycounter is taking a stand for the entire mica industry and leading the way for impactful change. You can find more information here.

We should feel confident that the products we use daily are safe for us, for the environment, and for the people that bring the products to life.

Note that the cosmetic-industry mica accounts for less than 30% of the world’s mica use. Beautycounter is working with leaders in other industries to use their market power to shift towards responsible mining.

Want to take action?

  • Share this blog post to increase awareness.

  • Watch and share the documentary: https://youtu.be/UPAYXUluXzU

  • Text MICA to 52886 (U.S. only) to stop the importation of products that are the result of child labor.

  • Continue to vote with your wallet and support brands (like Beautycounter!) that are committed to responsible sourcing. I don’t know any other brand who is going to these lengths to ensure responsibly sourced mica.

  • Make the switch the cleaner, safer, responsible beauty.

  • Email companies about their mica supply: https://www.instagram.com/p/B8QIT4LnM_m/?igshid=1wnqmle3rf930

Mica is used to create everything from the base of Beautycounter's Dew Skin to the shimmer in our lip glosses. Mica is in four of the six products in the Flawless in Five regimen, a curated bundle of six safer makeup must-haves. Select the perfect shades to flatter your skin tone and customize your bundle by using the interactive wizard.

Join my private Facebook group

Nutritional Therapy, Safer Skincare & Healthier Living