The Safest Ways to Shimmer this Season
We love a festive sparkly eye or cheek as much as anyone. We just like to get our glam on without harming animals—or people. We break down what’s safe to use.
It’s that time of year again—when even makeup minimalists find themselves reaching beyond tried-and-true neutrals for some festive holiday sparkle. While some of the ingredients that give cosmetics their shimmer have come under increasing scrutiny, we’re happy to report that our shine-forward formulas gleam sans harmful ingredients or unethical sourcing—which means you can wear them without worry.
Holiday's Limited Edition Éclat Doux and Éclat Brillant contain responsibly sourced mica.
All That Glitters Isn’t Good
Why all the chatter about sparkle? 2017’s glitter-gate called fresh attention to the harmful environmental impact of glitter, which is traditionally made of microplastics. “Even the tiniest pieces of plastic enter the food web in the ocean — zooplankton eat them, fish eat them — and plastic acts like a magnet for other toxic heavy metals,” explains Sarah Hameed, PhD, senior scientist at Chantecaille partner Marine Conservation Institute. “So not only are these animals eating the plastic, but they are also eating all the toxins that the plastic has picked up. We know that the fish we eat for dinner have microplastics in their stomachs.”
More recently, there has been consumer and media outcry over mica—used as a reflective finish in eyeshadow, blush, lipstick and other cosmetics—sourced from illegal mines in India, where child labor and worker exploitation are common. “When we started hearing reports that mica can be sourced in uncontrolled and illegal mines, we had to be sure we were not perpetuating this problem,” says Marta Cammarano, PhD, Chantecaille’s VP of Research and Product Development.
Luminescent Eye Shades twinkle with pearlescent pigment and responsibly sourced mica.
A Safer Way to Shine
Since becoming aware of the issue, we have been strict in ensuring that we avoid unsustainably sourced mica by joining the Responsible Mica Initiative, a membership organization that is committed to responsible and sustainable sourcing practices and eradicating child labor in India. We started by scouring our supply chains for mica—which is the sheen-booster in products ranging from limited-edition Éclat Brilliant and Éclat Doux compacts to our Luminescent Eye Shades and foundations like Just Skin and Future Skin—and confirmed that all of it comes from vendors in the U.S. and India who have already signed on to uphold RMI’s integrity and traceability standards. RMI’s community empowerment programs have been launched in more than 80 villages across India’s mica region, where 5,800 households so far are benefitting from child labor-reducing initiatives, including better schools and healthcare delivery.
As for the twinkle in our Lip Cristal—which has returned for Holiday 2019? It’s not microplastic glitter—we don’t use any of that in our formulas. The main source of their sheen is an innovative pearlescent pigment that imparts a pure, colorful (and non-toxic) sparkle. All the better for shining brightly—and ethically!—during the busy festive season.
Mica stones in the raw.