Pure Micas and Titanium Dioxide Free Makeup - Myth or Fact?

As promised, I'm going to talk about "pure" micas and titanium dixoide free shadows.

Now, most small mineral makeup companies are purchasing their base micas from just a handful of secondary wholesalers, who purchase from an even smaller pool of wholesalers. Unless you are willing and able to purchase micas by the kilo for each color, you are going to be buying from a secondary wholesaler.

Most, if not all of these colored "pure" micas are coated with titanium dioxide and/or other ingredients such as Carmine, Ferric Ferrocyanide, Silica, Manganese Violet and other coatings. Pure mica is translucent, so is not colored.

Just as soap bubbles don't have their own color, neither does pure mica. We see the colors due to the light interference through the titanium dioxide coating the mica base. The thicker or thinner the coating creates different colors.

I only use titanium coated and transparent micas in my makeup. You won't find carmine, ferric ferrocyanide, silica, boron nitrate, manganese violet, magnesum stearate or other such ingredients in my makeup. Yes it makes it more difficult to achieve certain shades - how much easier it would be to buy the mica with these other things in it! But I love the challenge and really love having only 7 mineral ingredients in any and all of my loose powder products.

So unless a mineral makeup seller can prove they are purchasing pure transparent mica and adding only the "other" ingredients, then the micas they are using are probably made with a titanium dioxide coating. So- nope, not titanium free. And it's quite cost prohibative to purchase only micas without titanium dioxide, and doing this will really limit your color selection.

I have yet to see a makeup seller with a full range of titanium dioxide free shades. It's just not cost effective, and is highly unlikely with the easy availability of titanium coated micas.

Pink Quartz Minerals shadows are almost all titanium coated micas, which is why under ingredients you will see Mica, Titanium Dioxide. I do make a few matte shades with transparent mica and iron oxides, but generally add titanium dioxide to it for it's opaque and adhesion properties.

That said, in addition to my previous article talking about "cheap" makeup sellers, I'd like to point out that many makeup resellers are purchasing colored micas from wholesalers and selling them as eye shadows as is. I've found that doing this severely affects the staying power of the micas. They need to be mixed with other ingredients to adhere properly and stay on all day. Many of the new rainbow color sets with bright colors are indeed colored micas sold as purchased from the wholesaler. If you compare shops or companies offering this rainbow collection, you'll notice that they generally all look like exactly the same colors. That's because they are, they are not altered from what the wholesaler sells. So indeed, not handmade, just repackaged. They are very popular, and it's much cheaper to just repot these colored micas, but to achieve a quality product that lasts all day a makeup seller really needs to add additional ingredients, and that ability comes with experience in formulating.

So, if you don't mind that your seller may not be telling you the truth (titanium free) or is just reselling wholesale colored micas, then you may be happy with the low cost "eye shadow" you are purchasing. Just don't expect it to last very long.


Pretty Things said...

You rock. It's so good to know the story behind all this, and be able to make informed decisions. People are so easily swayed by "pretty" statements that they pay no attention to facts!

Andrew Thornton said...

This is really informative. I've always had a fascination with make-up, why people where it, and where it comes from. Isn't it strange that the root of "cosmetics" is the same for "cosmology" and "cosmos"? That in ancient times people would wear eye-liner and kohl to accentuate the "awe" towards the Gods?

Thanks for sharing some very interesting info.