Shedding Light: Mica’s Shady Side

Mica. It’s a natural mineral that many of us love because it creates the shimmery highlight that makes our skin glow and our makeup look fab. But did you know that so much of the glittery mica used in our cosmetic + skincare products today has a dark side? The half a billion dollar mica industry is riddle with child labor and unfair working conditions and wages.

Not being from the beauty industry, when we set out to create Glow Getter -- the only truly clean shimmery sunscreen on the market -- we had no idea this sparkly little ingredient is the source of controversy and unethical practice. We learned that where you source this shimmery mineral matters a lot and has a much deeper impact than we ever knew.  In fact, its reputation isn’t close its glowing appearance in our products.

You have our commitment that we won’t turn a blind eye to this human rights issue. We only use ingredient suppliers across our brand that provide the proper certifications including ethical and sustainable sourcing … and mica is no exception. The mica we use is heavy metal tested, certified child labor free and our US-based supplier is an active, leading member in the Responsible Mica Initiative.

We sometimes get asked why our products have a higher price tag. It’s critically important to us that we don’t turn a blind eye when we learn there is a more socially, ethically and environmentally responsible way to do the work and source our ingredients. Being a mom, the thought of child labor turns my stomach…and its heart breaking that adult working conditions and unfair wages are so unjust that parents feel they have no choice.

While we could certainly choose synthetic mica, right now, we feel there is an opportunity to source in an ethical manner that supports the poverty-stricken communities that rely on mining, to rebuild and create a thriving community for all.

If you are like us, you may not even have known to ask this important question of the brands you are buying so it’s our hope to shed a little light on the topic. You can learn more about the Responsible Mica Initiative and its mission to better regulate the mica industry through source mapping, community empowerment and protective legislation.  Additionally, this documentary from Refinery 29 is something you should watch. Ultimately, when we acknowledge the issue and make strides to be a part of the solution, we can incite change for those who need it most.

Next time you reach for your products, take a moment to think about the impact.  There are several brands, large and small, making a difference by committing to sourcing their mica ethically and a few brands we love to use with Glow Getter to create a conscious and safer shimmery summer look. They each have equally high standards + certifications for their ethically sourced mica: Aether Beauty, RMS, Burt’s Bees and Elate.