Does your makeup have mica?

ByShruti Shende
Jun 05, 2022 07:23 PM IST

This World Environment Day, we look at some beauty brands that are shunning unethical mica practices

While naturally-glowing skin has its own appeal, the allure of glittery makeup products for an instant makeover is unbeatable. Whether you use a highlighter over your cheekbones or some shimmery eyeshadow on your lids, glitter can make everything look glamourous. But, do you know what makes these products shine? Mica — a mined mineral that is associated with environmental, ethical and even child labour issues. According to a Dutch group’s mica mining report, out of all forms of hazardous work, mining is by far the most dangerous for children. But unfortunately, kids are specially employed for mica mining in states like Jharkhand and Bihar, as they can easily manoeuvre through the narrow mines and reach small spaces.

Mica is used in blush, highlighter, lipstick, eyeshadow, etc. (Getty Images)
Mica is used in blush, highlighter, lipstick, eyeshadow, etc. (Getty Images)

In the wake of this issue, several makeup brands have pledged to go mica-free and are instead using synthetic mica, known as fluorphlogopite. Here are some Indian brands and international ones that ship to India, which are steering away from unethical practices.

100% vegan

A Mumbai-based brand, Kiro Clean Beauty, uses ethically-sourced raw materials, including mica. Their in-house cosmetic products are 100% vegan, animal cruelty-free and paraben-free.


A vegan, natural and gluten-free American beauty brand, Red Apple Lipstick, sources all of their ingredients from the United States, and a few from Europe and Canada. Their process of sourcing mica does not involve child labour, and is procured from places where workers are paid fairly.

Eco-friendly packaging

An American vegan makeup brand, Clove + Hallow, claims to be child-labour free and sources mica from their own country, instead of Africa or India, where its mining involves child labour. When it comes to packaging, they use post-consumer recycled plastics, bioplastics, infinitely recyclable glass and refillable options for their products.

Own supply chain

An American brand, Au Naturale, offers a clean beauty cosmetics line. Their micas are child labour-free, mined, processed and distributed sustainably worldwide. The suppliers do everything from harvesting and processing to distribution, internally.

Synthetic mica

Fat and the Moon, a bath, body and beauty company that finds its roots in herbalist traditions, uses synthetic mica in its products. The mica used by this American brand is lab-created and not mined. It is made using natural ingredients that mimic mined mica.

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