A question we often hear is: Can I use mica powder in cosmetics like eyeshadows, lip gloss or foundation? The answer is yes! 100% But it’s important that you choose a cosmetic grade mica powder.
In short, cosmetic grade mica powder is a fine pigment that can be used in makeups, skincare and bath products. To be considered cosmetic grade, mica powder must be:
- Ultra fine: Cosmetic grade micas can penetrate a 100-mesh sieve.
- Very Low Trace Metals: Micas for cosmetics must have less than 20 ppm of lead and 3 ppm of arsenic to be cosmetic grade.
- Particle Size: Micas used in cosmetics and lip-safe mica powders tend to have particle sizes below 150 microns.
We’re taking a closer look at mica powders for cosmetics, including what types of projects they can be used for, if mica is safe for use, and the ethical concerns of mica powder.
Cosmetic Grade Mica Powder: Common Uses
Often referred to as “nature’s glitter,” mica is a mineral with natural light-reflecting properties. Mica is widely used in cosmetics, thanks to its ability to add natural shimmer and create a softer, more radiant hue.
Mica is available in different particle sizes, and this is important for creating cosmetics. The particle size refers to how fine or coarse the powder is, and different particle sizes create different looks, from silky satin, to ultra-glam shimmer. As a result, mica powder is used in a wide range of cosmetics, including:
- Lip balms and lipstick
- Nail polish
- Bath bombs and body scrubs
- Body and hair glitter
Is Mica Powder Safe for Cosmetics?
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, mica is a color additive exempt from certification that is safe to use in cosmetics, skin care products and is lip-safe. Similarly, a review of synthetic mica by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel found mica to be safe in cosmetics.
Ultimately, you should look for mica powders that have been colored with natural oxides or D&C dyes. All of Slice of the Moon’s mica powders are:
- Heavy Metal-Free
- Cosmetic Grade
Are All Micas Lip-Safe? The majority of mica powders are lip-safe and can be used in lip gloss or lipsticks. Yet, micas colored with chromium oxide green or ultramarine are not deemed lip-safe by the FDA (although micas using these colors are lip-safe in Europe). However, these colorants are FDA approved for face and skincare products.
Choosing A Mica Powder: Considerations
Mica powders are either natural or synthetic. Natural mica is a naturally occurring mineral, which is then colored with oxides or D&C dyes. Synthetic mica, on the other hand, is a lab-created mineral that mimics the properties of natural mica.
Synthetic vs Natural Mica
Which is better for cosmetics? Both natural and synthetic micas are considered cosmetic grade. However, some prefer synthetics for their:
- Color purity
- Uniformity of particle size
Natural mica powder, on the other hand, is made from natural muscovite mineral crystals. Because it's made from muscovite, natural mica powder tends to have varying particle sizes (although most are under 150 microns), and the shimmer qualities can vary, as well.
Yet, natural mineral micas are a popular choice for natural makeup products, as well as for their subtle shimmer quality.
Ethically Sourced Micas
Another reason some prefer synthetic micas is due to ethical concerns of natural mica. In countries where mica is abundant, some mines rely on child and inhumane labor practices. Although this is starting to improve, it's important that you source natural mica from a ethical, child-labor free mica company.
At Slice of the Moon, we take this issue seriously. All of our natural micas are ethically sourced. Nowhere in the sourcing, mining, production of our products is child labor utilized. We are third-party audited.
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