Have you ever thought of your 4-year-old child/sister/brother/nephew/cousin going into mines every day to earn for their living? What a terrifying thought right? Well, Pooja does it every day risking her life with thousands of other children on a remote village in Jharkhand to bring the shimmer in your makeup.
Recently, our team came across a video named as “The Dark Secrets Behind Your favourite Makeup Products” on Refinery 29 Which was discussing this serious issue about the child labour in the mica mines of Jharkhand and Bihar. This caught our attention to learn more about this shimmering mineral which has a huge story behind.
Jharkhand is very famous for its immense amount of mica content in the soil. Mining mica is the main source of the peoples living and it is also one of the ingredients in most of the makeup products. Mica always had a huge market value from the beginning itself. Mica – the shimmery mineral is actually a group of 37 crystalline minerals that have several industrial applications to add shimmer to everything from cosmetics to car paints and more.
“Roughly 70% of quality mica is coming from illegal mines in India which are totally unregulated by the government.”
Many of the popular makeup brands use mica as their primary ingredient in most of their makeup products. Unlike the artificial shimmer from the plastic powder, mica gives the finest shimmery finishing touch to every product. From eye shadow, lipstick, mascara, bb cream, highlighter, to bath bombs, and blush, mica provides the reflective finish to each of them. Mica is the one thing that gives your body lotion to face cream a light glow, and your toothpaste the bright white colour.
Mica, the unavoidable raw material is also the main living source of many families in Jharkhand listed as the ‘potassium aluminium silicate,’ and ‘CI 77019,’ on ingredient lists of all makeup products. Jharkhand and Bihar, the classic example of resource curse places in India contain hundreds of manmade mines and over 22000 child labours witness between 10 to 20 death every month and for each death, they will get 30000 Rs each. One full day of the drained job will provide a minimum of 20 to 30 Rs for a child.
“Do you know 70% India’s Mica mines are operated illegally by mafias.”
Fortunately, yes. Mica – the main ingredient of the makeup products to bring shine and avoiding the main ingredient like mica is not the solution for this issue. According to the British cosmetics company Lush, the synthetic mica can be replaced as the first ingredient in the makeup product and also unlike the real mica, the synthetic mica is available in many shades to bring many varieties of shimmers also.
The UK-based company has been involved in solving this issue from long back. The brand had reached out to the suppliers and tried to see whether the raw materials can be replaced with synthetic products. The decision of swapping into synthetic mica – the biodegradable shimmer pigment created in the lab was a success and made their product mica free also.
But, avoid using mica isn’t the solution to this problem. Mica mining is the largest living source of many people across North India and discontinuing the use of mica will weaken the social situation of these people.
Every problem has a solution. The resource curse of the city can be changed as the boon also. Mica, the natural shimmering agent of the makeup product opens the door to a wide range of job opportunities. With the rightful involvement of Indian Government and the banning of child labour can make almost 152 villagers life better.