Have you ever wondered how makeup brands achieve the sparkling finish in your makeup and beauty products? The answer is a mineral called Potassium Aluminium Silicate, more commonly known as Mica.
In recent years, this iridescent mineral has come under fire after exposés on rampant lawless operations in the mica mining industry (particularly in India) detailed the horrid conditions in which miners work and the issues of child labour.
In a world where consumers are increasingly looking out for eco-friendly, ethical, and cruelty-free makeup alternatives, it is little wonder that beauty enthusiasts are up in arms over how their favourite brands are sourcing this popular ingredient.
The Problem: How Is Mica Sourced?
A recent 2021 documentary by CNA revealed the controversial practices that go on in Jharkhand, India – one of the world’s largest exporters of illegal naturally mined mica.
Some of the controversial practices include:
- The conditions in which the poor Indian villagers mine for natural mica – with no proper safety gear or set-ups, poor miners risk their lives to mine in abandoned mica caves susceptible to collapses.
- The exploitation of poor miners – unscrupulous traders act as unlicensed moneylenders who trap miners into a vicious cycle of borrowing and selling mica at under-market rates back to them to pay off their debts.
- Use of child labour – many children are employed illegally at meagre wages, deprived of an education, and risking their lives
- Health risks – long-term exposure to the dust in the mines is linked directed to potential lung complications
What Can Beauty Brands and Consumers Do?
To help break this vicious cycle of exploitation, consumers and brands have to respectively play their part.
One way beauty brands like Liht Organics have approached the issue is to turn to other sustainably and ethically sourced mica alternatives. As their founder Nerissa Low shared in the CNA documentary, she was concerned about using mica ingredients sourced from India and hence looked to source their mica from US suppliers instead where the supply chain is a lot more transparent.
On the consumers’ end, boycotting products using unethically sourced mica, and supporting brands that use sustainable and non-exploitative alternatives is definitely a way to help push for meaningful change to adopt more ethical practices in the industry.
Hopefully, with the combined efforts of ethical makeup brands and consumers, real reform for the mica industry will not be far away.
Switch Over to Ethically Sourced Mica Products Today!
At Liht Organics, we believe that makeup should not be harmful – in every sense of the word.
That is why all our makeup products are vegan and cruelty-free, made of 100% natural ingredients that are sustainably & ethically sourced, with absolutely no synthetic or harmful chemicals – all while still allowing you to look your best with vibrant pigments and a wide range of shades to choose from. Now that is the best of both worlds!