“Fake it till you make it.” This is mica’s motto.
This sparking mineral hooks you in with promises of brighter, glowing skin. But it’s all a glittering show. Literally.
Wash it off and your skin’s as dull as it was before. Ugh.
Here’s the truth about mica in skincare:
What Is Mica?
Mica is a catch-all term for 34 silicate minerals. Depending on the type of rock it comes from, it has a different colour, from silver to pink and even purple.
Fun fact: the name Mica comes from the Latin word “micare,” i.e. “to shine.” Today, it earned the nickname of “nature’s glitter.”
Can you guess what it does, now?
What Is Mica Used For In Makeup Products?
Let’s start with makeup first, shall we? After all, that’s where you’re more likely to find mica.
Mica gives makeup sparkle and shine. Those little specks of glitter you see in your eyeshadows? That’s mica. Depending on how it’s processed and what rock it comes from, it has different properties. A few examples:
- Adding iron dioxide to mica creates earthy and golden shades
- Covering mica in titanium dioxide allows mica to reflect all the colours of the rainbox
- Sprinkle barium chloride on mica and you remove some of the shine
- Different sizes emits different colours, from red to blue and green
- Smaller sizes of mica give you a sheen finish while larger particles provide a glittery effect
All this sparkle and shine isn’t just pretty. It also adds depth to your face and make you look more alive.
Related: The Complete Guide To Titanium Dioxide In Skincare
What Is Mica Used For In Skincare Products?
In skincare products, mica does pretty much the same thing as in makeup products. It’s the quickest way to make your skin glow.
It’s not the only way. You can make your skin glow with:
- Exfoliation: It remove the dead cells on the surface of your skin that have lost their natural glow after taking a beating from the elements. As they shed off, the younger – and brighter – cells underneath come to the surface, giving your skin a bit of a glow.
- Hydration: Your skin is made up mostly of water. It needs it for everything, glow included. When your skin has all the moisture it needs (and then some), it takes up that dewy glow Korean women are famous for.
These duo are the real deal. The glow they provide is the result of healthy skin. They help it work its best so it can look its best.
Mica? It just sprinkles glitter (or shimmer) on your face, so that when the light hits it, it glows. Plus, this trick of the light sort of “blinds” your eyes to make your fine lines look smaller.
The catch? When you wash it off, the glow disappears and your fine lines are still there. Bummer.
Related: What’s The Best Exfoliator For Your Skin Type?
Can Mica Clog Pores?
Bad news: mica can aggravate acne (and rosacea, too). This mineral has a heavy consistency that requires more buffing to disperse the pigment.
This can force your makeup into your pores, clogging them up. Hello, pimples!
Related: The Best Way To Unclog Pores And Prevent Breakouts
Does Mica Have Any Other Side Effects?
Mica is safe for almost all skin types, even when used on the eyes and lips, when topically applied on the skin. You’ve guessed it, it causes trouble only for sensitive skin.
Here’s the deal: mica comes from crushed rock. This means it can have microscopic edges that cause micro-tears when buffed on the skin. The bigger the particle size, the higher the chance of this happening. Ouch!
What about inhalation? We know that mica can cause lung scarring and breathing problems when it gets into your lungs. But this is a concern only for people who work with mica in an industrial setting.
There’s no evidence that mica in makeup and skincare products is dangerous. But if you want to be on the safe size, just avoid aerosol and powder products with mica.
The Bottom Line
Mica is the quickest way to make your skin glow and hide fine lines – but its effects are only temporary. Have fun with sparkling makeup, but when it comes to skincare, regular exfoliation and plenty of moisture are the key to achieve that beautiful, dewy glow you’re after.
What’s your take on mica in skincare? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
thanks for this post..mica doesn’t work for me, i have sensitive skin
You’re welcome. I’m sorry it doesn’t work for you.
This is a great post! I notice that a lot of mineral makeup out other contains mica in it. Maybe just a small amount?
I’m glad you like the post. Mica is one of the main ingredients in mineral makeup but the amount depends on the formula. Mineral makeup companies don’t use the same product formulation. It is usually the main ingredients in foundations, but then some brands don’t use it at all. Also, different companies may use mica of different quality.
I’m not a fan of mica because it use children as a labour. A lot of beauty industries using natural mica instead of synthetic mica which kind of sad.