Why and HOW to avoid products that contain color oxides and micas?

Our products are colored naturally and ethically: without synthetic dyes, without color oxides and without natural micas. Why do we go to all this trouble?

Natural oxides are of mineral source and are of multiple colors (green, brown, orange, yellow, red, black etc.). Natural micas are also from mineral sources and are naturally shiny.

There are many types of oxides and micas and they are found all over the world. However, over the years, the cosmetics industry has favored oxides and micas from India because of their price/quality ratio. Mica and oxides are used in many industries, for example in automotive paints, inks, edible glitter as well as natural or non-natural cosmetics. You can buy it at any DIY store.

Indeed, they are often found in soaps, make-up and in several cosmetics from large chains, as well as in almost all small artisanal soap factories in Quebec.

Soap with mica

Why have we chosen since our beginnings to color our products naturally with plants and clays and not to use colored oxides and micas despite being 'natural'?

The answer is simple: because this production is done at the expense of children (because they are small and therefore perfect for small cavities), women and men in atrocious, unethical and dangerous exploitation conditions for their life.

For those who have already had the opportunity to discuss in person with me regarding what drives our choices and our corporate values, I have probably described to you the children's conditions behind the production of micas and natural dyes with micas: under -paid, often barefoot, without any protection. Some start as young as 4-5 years old. No choice to eat, they earn $0.50/day. They must therefore work every day to feed themselves. Some are injured, others have their lungs destroyed by the dust and between 10 and 20 CHILDREN DIE EVERY MONTH crushed under the rubble or following serious injuries!

At the time of writing this article, no company producing natural cosmetic mica certifies that their mica is produced without the exploitation of children. A few years ago, only one certified it, but since the change of owners, they ''are no longer able to guarantee it'' (...).

In addition, these natural micas sometimes contain fairly high levels of heavy metals. This is why, at Jardin de Julie, we have never used natural mica and will not use it as long as the situation persists. It is our priority to make products to take care of some without hurting others on the other side of the planet.

For us, it will always be NO, to the little 'natural' sparkles made with micas on bath bombs, sparkling make-up and 'little golden touches' on our soaps. Because what good is a 'natural' or 'vegan' product that shines with exploitation and the deaths of children? Every time I think about it, my heart skips a beat.

It's boring, because the subject is often 'taboo' between cosmetics creators as well as among customers. Over the course of the discussions, I happened to read or hear: “Well, where do we stop? The exploitation of harvester monkeys for certain brands of coconut oil, composting, GMOs, recycling, zero waste, veganism, organic, animal cruelty, avocados, almonds, the decline of bees, greenhouse gases, palm oil, plastic pollution...''. Here's how to list a bunch of semi-related stuff in order to downplay the issue and blur the discussion to quickly get your head back in the sand (or glitter) because we like it when it 'shines'. Come on. Yes everything we consume has an impact. We stop where we want. Except that children are children! Little humans. That should be pretty high on our urgent priorities, right?

We also said: ''yes, but if we reduce the consumption of micas, these children will no longer have work and enough to eat. human exploitation of our societies. The situation is certainly not simple and the first steps towards almost any change of this kind are never without hints. Except that: suffer/die with a full stomach for generations to come or have an empty stomach for a moment to trigger a change for a better world? Watch till the end of the video below, there is plenty of hope!

We can all do something and make those around us aware of making ethical choices in terms of the consumption of cosmetics, make-up and soap products: Does it shine? Does it say 'mica' in the ingredient list? If so, could I find a product that would meet this same need and that would be mica-free? Often the answer is yes. A soap or a bath bomb will be as much 'washing', 'relaxing' and 'hydrating' without mica. It's beautiful, it's true, but it doesn't add anything more to the product in terms of properties, and basically, it's NOT GORGEOUS at all.

When it comes to eye/cheek shadows and iridescent cosmetics, we usually don't get away with it. Mica is what makes it shine. It is the shiny powder of Indian children. You must know it. It is necessary to talk about it. The more we become aware of this, the more the cosmetics industry will seek to offer us alternative ethical solutions.

Glitter addicts might then be tempted to turn to plastic-based synthetic glitter, except that with the problems caused by the pollution of plastic microbeads in our oceans, we must instead think of a real solution: a biodegradable solution AND ethics. The company ''BioglittersTM'' did it. They have developed glosses for cosmetics and DIY and their products are formulated without natural mica. Their Bioglitter® PURE product is biodegradable and certified 100% plastic-free. Some Canadian retailers also redistribute their product. A responsible solution to unleash the unicorn instinct in you!

On our side, we also made the choice from the beginning, not to use dye or synthetic micas, but this will surely be the subject of another article...

In the meantime, concerning natural micas, here is the link to a post by Radio Canada as well as a video report by Refinery29 which takes an inside look. Directly in India, in the mines, with the children. ''This report brought to light the horrific conditions in which mica is mined. Journalist Lexy Lebsack and her team traveled to the state of Jharkhand, India, near its border with Bangladesh. In this state and that of Bihar alone, nearly 22,000 children work in the mines. We learn that the workers earn on average only 20 to 30 rupees a day, which corresponds to a salary of 39 to 58 cents in Canadian dollars.''

How do I know if a cosmetic/soap/bath bomb is made with natural or synthetic mica? To find out if the mica in your cosmetics is synthetic or natural, look for the following information on your labels:

Natural mica will be listed as ''Mica'', ''Potassium Aluminum Silicate'' or ''CI 77019'' on the quantitative ingredient list, while synthetic mica will be listed as ''Synthetic Mica'' or '' Synthetic Fluorphlogopopite''. It's even better if it says ''Plastic-free'' or ''biodegradable''.

So now you know how to shine with a light heart for children and for the oceans!


Lush and mica

Discover Bioglitters PURE