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22 comments

I've seen similar stories in enough industries to really wonder if child labor isn't part of every industry, somehow.

Capitalism is exploitative. It doesn't know how to be anything else.

It's true. It is very hard to think of any product that doesn't have some kind of ethical issues going on with it. I guess it all comes down to taking a certain level of personal responsibility for your actions and purchasing only those things that are necessary for your job/survival. If enough consumers lower the demand, then the supply ( and all the ethical issues) going on with it also decreases.

I wonder if any other stuff could be done for these communities. I assume they are forcing their kids to do this dangerous work because they are in such a dire situation financially they would starve without the additional income. I cannot imagine what else would drive a mother to allow her child to do that. Stopping buying the products is a good first step, but there must be more.

Good point. The article I linked in my other comment talks about how the company Lush decided to switch to synthetic mica. However, they didn't do anything to undo the damage they had already caused and try to do something for the communities they were exploiting before.

There is no easy solution. But, I do think consumers should put pressure on these makeup companies to do something for those communities. I think the average person really underestimates the power of many consumers coming together. It always goes back to supply and demand. If enough consumers demand something, the companies will have to budge.

"Capitalism is exploitative. It doesn't know how to be anything else."

Definitely, and it's not even a bug - it's a feature. When it started, child labour was common in the West, and over time it got banned, and as unions formed, conditions seemed to get better. But with a global economy, a lot of companies just moved their operations oversees, so we get the system today: they extract resources elsewhere, they make products in factories with less labour laws, and then sell them for profit in the West. When people find out about shell companies and offshore tax havens - they move them. When people hear about things like the Bangladesh collapse in 2013 or child labour in fast fashion and the like - the companies say their contractors did it, fire them, and hire someone else - who just repeats the process. The companies only concern is profit, and it doesn't pay to be ethical. They only pretend to care when it could affect their profit margins.

its a tough one because you dont want kids working but in a lot of these countries if they didnt their family would starve as theres no social security system.

Article: https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2019/05/229746/mica-in-makeup-mining-child-labor-india-controversy

Video: https://youtu.be/IeR-h9C2fgc

This whole thing breaks my heart :( Any feminist discourse on the topic of makeup is incomplete unless we address this problem.

Exactly. Its not just catering to the male gaze or poisoning from toxic metals. The real issue with make up is this

I had no idea about this. I looked it up and it is a form of glitter that is often found in cosmetic products, but also in some electronics or even toothpaste. It has the INCI Number CI 77019.

I wonder what else we don't know about.

I myself didn't know anything about this until only a few years ago even though I am Indian. It's kind of crazy isn't it? I hope more awareness is raised about this.

Also wow... this stuff is in our toothpastes too?!

Not all of toothpastes, just like it is not in all cosmetic products or all electronics. The Product needs to have the Cl number on the ingredients list if it is added.

Another reason why I have never and will never buy makeup. I do know someone who uses mica powder in crafts so I will be sending this to her and see if she knows where she gets her mica or not.

[–] inTERFerence 7 points Edited

Synthetic mica is available and comes in more colours than natural mica-might be worth getting some for your friend.

So glad I don't buy that stuff, cruelly-sourced pace paint you have to wash off every day. Waste of life, waste of time, waste of money. I hope more and more people become aware of this, it's egregious and sorry to say, people, women and men, who are pushing or thoughtlessly buying products containing mica should be shamed.

Good lord. Are there any ethically sourced brands that I can recommend to people?

Fair trade and cruelty free are generally better, though not participating at all would be the best option.

There are "fair trade" certified makeup brands?

There's the Body Shop, which is fair trade and cruelty free, they make makeup as well as lotions/moisturizers, shampoos, body washes, etc.

https://www.thebodyshop.com/en-ca/about-us/brand-values/community-fair-trade/a/a00009

https://www.thebodyshop.com/en-gb/about-us/activism/faat/a/a00018

That's where I go for it - I have not bought makeup in a long time, as I only wear it for special occasions (like weddings or halloween), but when I do need something, they are my go-to.

I believe some (not a lot though) brands use synthetic mica so you can try googling that. For real mica though, the supply chain is so messed up that it is practically impossible to determine whether it was ethically sourced (which is statistically unlikely anyways cos most of the labourers in India are just extremely poor people being exploited).

Wow. I don’t wear makeup anyway, but that this is how they get the shiny stuff is horrifying. I’ll bet most other women haven’t got a clue about this.