TRANSPARENCY & TRUTH ABOUT MICA
It’s New Year’s Eve! I always want to be sparkly on NYE. Even if it is just my sparkly pajamas because I’m staying in……..which is what usually happens since I’m so introverted. But I seriously love sparkly makeup used in the right circumstances. I’m not wearing it to work but yes to a party! But where does the sparkle come from?
In late September of 2019, Beautycounter shared with their consultants that they are doubling down on responsibly sourced mica, one of the key ingredients in all color cosmetics. The mica industry has some serious transparency issues, so we decided to do something about it.
Our commitment to being a leader in the beauty industry goes beyond just making clean products.
What is mica?
Mica is a globally sourced mineral that is used in many of our day-to-day products—from automotive paints to electronics, to beauty formulas. We’re currently doubling down on our commitment to responsible sourcing, with the first installment of our story focused on mica—the beauty industry go-to for creating that shimmery glow we all know and love (think highlighters, eyeshadows, and pressed powders).
How does Beautycounter approach responsibly sourced mica?
Responsible sourcing has always been a part of our Ingredient Selection Process (it’s Step 4). When we first started using mica in our color products in 2014, we only sourced mica from the U.S. as a way to ensure a transparent supply chain, free of child labor and forced labor. It quickly became clear, however, that if we wanted to improve the performance of our makeup products, we needed to source mica from some international sources (mica can vary in quality and performance based on where it is sourced). We’ve teamed up with two incredible partners to help us validate our supply chain: the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (named after the Nobel Prize-winning advocate for children’s rights) and Sourcemap, a technology platform developed by MIT to provide brands with additional traceability of their products.
Given the complexities of sourcing globally, we decided to focus our initial efforts on two ingredients: mica and palm-oil derivatives. We have prioritized these two ingredients because they are necessary to create high performing products and have known supply-chain issues. At Beautycounter, we have always said we are about progress, not perfection. This means that as we continue to tackle responsibly sourced mica and palm-oil derivatives, we will expand our focus to include other ingredients over time.
Has Beautycounter considered not using mica?
We will continue to create and sell products with mica because it provides shimmer, creates a matte effect, and plays an important role in the base of our color cosmetics (which affects how an eyeshadow, for example, applies to your lid). In addition, pulling out of the mica market would not improve the living conditions of local communities. It is our intention to leverage our business voice and market share to better the living conditions of the families who live and work near the mines. As we finalize our in-person audits and Preferred Supplier List, if any suppliers need to be phased out of our core product line, we intend to do so within 12 months. As a company that is committed to avoiding waste, we will sell through the remaining products. For the local communities affected by years of exploitative mica mining, it is our goal to support the families on the ground by listening to their needs for a safer future.
Why is Beautycounter sharing this story?
This isn’t a marketing moment—transparency is part of who we are. Mica has been considered a questionable ingredient for years, but there has been little to no progress in shifting to responsible sourcing practices.
Beautycounter has always been focused on exposing the secrets of the beauty industry, and we want to use this moment to both draw more attention to this pressing issue and call on other companies to join us in this fight. We started with shedding light on the need for the industry to move towards safer ingredients; our work on mica is the next step in tackling large complicated problems. We want to do the hard work ourselves and then share our learnings with other beauty brands, cleaning up the industry at large.
Does Beautycounter source from Madagascar?
We do not purchase mica directly from Madagascar. However, we know that the mica supply chain is highly secretive, which is why we’ve committed to next-level transparency and are leading the beauty industry by establishing blockchain traceability in our mica supply chain.
Want to take action? Watch and share our documentary teaser. The full documentary will be out in January. I’ll be sharing more info when that happens but until then……sparkle on!
Continue to vote with your wallet and support brands who are committed to responsible sourcing.
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