Shaming the Shine


Madison Crumpton

Mica makeup actively supports the issue of child labor in the production of their makeup (photo courtesy of Madison Crumpton).

Makeup is part of our culture, and nowadays it is a part of our everyday routines. Sadly, this common everyday routine affects children in places like Bihar, India, and Madagascar, Africa. While Americans sit and doll up their faces, overseas children dig in mines to find a common ingredient found in most makeup- mica

¨In India, where mica mining is happening, they live in a poor area and do not get paid well enough to support a family. Thus, this is why they are bringing in their kids for another source of income,¨ said senior Corey Golec. 

Large companies that buy mica exploit these children and their families through child labor and cheap wages. Children as young as five miss school to help support their families. The conditions are hot, unbreathable, and dangerous. There are no work regulations. The kids go into caves and dig with their bare hands, hoping the cave doesn’t collapse on them. Their families can barely afford food, much less a medical bill. They have dusk to dawn work days – just to make pennies a day in American money. 

¨People need to help pass a law or help the families in need to end child labor,¨ said junior Genevieve Finizia. 

Yet this information isn’t shared with the public, this isn’t something that makeup companies and big brands want you to know. Your beauty influencers are probably begging you to buy that eyeshadow palette that was made with mica sourced from child labor when they should be using their platform to condemn such practices. 

¨If you know that these products are a result of child labor, then you shouldn´t be buying them because that is indirectly supporting that business who will just continue to exploit children,¨ added Golec. 

Although, just because a makeup product says ¨mica¨ does not mean that it was in any way related to child labor. It could be made with synthetic mica, or it could be ethically-sourced. According to, using matte makeup (makeup that is ¨dry¨ and gives a poreless finish) does not guarantee that there was no mica used to help give color to the product. 

¨Companies should have to list what is in their products so that the consumers can use these products with the confidence that they are safe,¨ said junior Leah Johnson. 

Makeup brands are also not directly regulated when it comes to anything related to child labor. Therefore, it is very unlikely that your makeup product will say whether it is ethically sourced or not. There are a few different organizations, such as the “Responsible Mica Initiative”,  that seek to eliminate child labor and mica sourcing but they are volunteer and ¨trust¨ based. 

¨People should be aware of what is in their products and where they come from,¨ Finizia told the Bengal Beat. 

Mica is not just in your makeup either, ladies and gentlemen. Mica is in the paint on your car, in your microwave, nail polish, and more. Mica does not need to be boycotted, and you do not have to stop wearing makeup either, but be mindful of what you are buying. For more information, read more from ABC News, Refinery 29, or watch this mini-documentary from Refinery.