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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Tai

THE UGLY SIDE OF BEAUTY

Updated: Jul 17, 2021

Everybody deserves to feel beautiful, with or without makeup. But the greatest form of beauty comes from kindness and sympathy.


The following article is published under the pure innocence of a young teenager and is not meant in any intention of offense. If you find any of the below content insensitive, inappropriate, or dangerous to audience members, feel free to contact us by filling in the message section via the bottom of the main page, please. Thank you.


The Lack of Transparency in Products


From heightened protests to new badges of certification on market products, a revolution of humanity begins while thousands around the world change their conventional ways of life. People have begun converting to veganism, reducing plastic waste, and taking cautiousness regarding their patronization towards companies that practice animal cruelty or child labor. Commonly, however, many seem to contradict this moral of ethicality by unknowingly purchasing and tolerating products that aren’t so innocent as they seem.


The world economy is growing day by day with the demand for beauty products expanding greater than before. Many businesses are now taking advantage of the growing market, willing to do it all just to extract every last ounce of cash possible. This greed for personal wealth and material things have caused the loss of makeup and beauty’s original incentive of empowerment and complementing people’s natural complexion.


What is Mica?



The word mica comes from the Latin word micare, referring to a group of minerals commonly known for their significant glow and shimmer. Used as ingredients for everyday-products such as toothpaste, electronics, but primarily makeup, it is easy to say that consumers are thirsty for mica’s radiant highlight.


The majority of the world’s mica is mined in the rocky mountainsides of India, where children as young as 4 years of age are left gear-less and unprotected, open to the unimaginable dangers of these uncertified caves in which they work in. The poverty rate in regions of India such as Jharkhand and Bihar have left families and children extremely vulnerable to these businesses. A 2016 statistic by Reuters elaborates on this crisis by explaining how 70% of the mica mined in India are of illegal activity and have no government regulations. In fact, the activity in mica mines are so opaque that The Borgen Project in 2019 explains that deaths of children working in these mines are being covered up, keeping this industry alive. These mining conditions without any government supervision or safety regulations are risking the emotional and physical health of these child laborers. Digging deep down into these dark mines alone, children are dangerously exposed to any falling debris or cave-collapse at any given moment. The lack of thought and sympathy that goes into industries as such have left children with life-threatening respiratory diseases and infections due to the excessive inhalation of dust and fine particles of mica. Cave collapses aren’t so uncommon. Not only do these children have their lives in danger, most families of these child workers lack the financial ability to seek professional medical attention.


Efforts to Make a Difference: What can I do?



Although the poverty line in India has been drastically decreasing over time, patience isn’t the only solution to stop this crisis. Families of mica mines must find ways out of poverty, brands would have to take caution behind their supply chains, and consumers must be aware of their purchase. Not only have several cosmetic lines switched to using synthetic mica as an alternative, many others are joining in a fight to prevent child labor and tackle other challenges of poverty such as education. “Child Friendly Villages” have gained popularity in regions of India to battle child labor with cosmetic companies such as Estée Lauder, Shiseido, and Chanel joining this initiative, providing a much more ethical and transparent way of marketing.


Caution, Hazard Ahead



Everybody deserves to feel beautiful, with or without makeup. But the greatest form of beauty comes from kindness and sympathy. Simple caution and consideration are all it takes to join in the fight against child labor. Lastly, life extends far from just makeup. Products such as hair extensions, clothing, and even your everyday foods might not be as clean and innocent as they appear to be.


"Every little bit of good we do could mean the world to someone else."


Works Cited


Lebsack, Lexy. "The Makeup Industry's Darkest Secret is Hiding in Your Makeup Bag", Refinery 29, May 4 2019, https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2019/05/229746/mica-in-makeup-mining-child-labor-india-controversy, February 7 2020.


Bhalla, Nita, et al. "Blood Mica: Deaths of child workers in India's mica 'ghost' mines covered up to keep industry alive", REUTERS, August 3 2016, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-mica-children/blood-mica-deaths-of-child-workers-in-indias-mica-ghost-mines-covered-up-to-keep-industry-alive-idUSKCN10D2NA, February 7 2020.


Charles, Keira. "Blood Mica: How Glittery Makeup Supports Child Labor", The Borgen Project, July 9 2019, https://borgenproject.org/blood-mica-how-glittery-makeup-supports-child-labor/, February 7 2020.

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