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A pretty set of nails is just the right complementary touch to any getup. And there are so many different options you can play with when preparing your nails. One trend that has recently gained traction is using mica powder as a colorant. So, can you use this powder on your nail?
You can use mica powder on your nails to give them a vibrant, glittering effect. You can add it to other acrylic powder as a compliment or use it as a standalone. It is safe to use in cosmetics and on your nails if the amount is appropriate.
So, let’s take a deeper dive into the shiny and sparkly world of mica and its use. We go over all the major and fun ways you can utilize this powder, from cosmetics to fun arts and crafts projects. We also detail some of the risks involved with mica powder and how you can avoid them.
Table of Contents
What is Mica Powder?
Mica is a type of mineral found naturally in many places in the world, most notably India. When grounded into fine grains we call it mica powder.
The most noticeable characteristic of mica powder is its natural shine. This has led to people calling it a “natural glitter.” When used as a colorant, it gives a shiny, almost metallic tinge to the mixture.
Now, mica powder is not the best when used as a pure colorant. Because the actual powder does not stick to the surface or gives a permanent wash of color. Instead, it resides on the top surface to give an added effect.
They come in all sorts of different colors, based on the mineral they originate from. Pearly white, pink, brown, yellow, lavender, turquoise, silver, blue, spring green, hot copper, etc., are all colors that are can be derived from mica minerals.
What Can You Use Mica Powder For?
Thanks to its natural glittering effect, mica is one of the most important ingredients in the world of fashion and cosmetics. Seriously, if you see a product that has sparkle or a shimmer effect, you can safely assume that product has mica in it.
Mica powder is also added to various arts and crafts-related products such as paint, stamps, spray, etc. So, let’s take a look at all the colorful use of mica powder:
If you ever noticed a dazzling set of nails and wondered how they achieved it, chances are they were using mica powder. At the very least, they used a product that contained mica powder as a prime ingredient.
Many top brands use mica powder in their nail polish to give a lasting shiny effect. The powder is mixed with other materials such as acrylic powder, base, etc.
The great thing about mica is that you can easily use it on your own at home. Just add it to your pre-existing nail polish or make it yourself from the ground up. Then apply it to your fingernails and you have a gorgeous effect on your nails that is sure to catch attention.
Another powder is chrome powder if you want to read more about that you can here.
Many skincare products have a tiny amount of mica in them as an additive. In particular, products that are advertised to give your face an illuminating or brightening touch will invariably have mica in them.
Now, in small amounts, the mica will not harm your skin. But like with almost all cosmetics, you should not overuse them. Otherwise, you risk the possibility of harming your natural skin complexion permanently.
As we said, you can find mica in pretty much any cosmetics that increases the brightness of a body part. Other products that use this formula include eyeliner, eyeshadow, hair and body glitter, lip gloss, mascara, etc.
It is not just your face that glistens when you add mica to it, your paintings can too. This is why you will see many popular brands advertise the use of mica in their products such as paint, spray paint, glitter, etc.
In this aspect, mica is a terrific way to give your paintings some extra life; make them more vibrant. You can use mica for this purpose all by yourself. Just add the right proportion of powder and paint, and you will have a perfectly usable mica-infused paint.
The best part is that mica powder goes with just about any type of paint, be it oil, water, or acrylic. Be careful not to overdo it with the powder as it can be a bit too strong.
Mica and resin are a common pairing that sees frequent use together. Companies use the mica to give their resins a vibrant color, which increases their appeal. This resin is then used in many other types of projects.
You can even give pieces of jewelry a new look at life with the help of mica. This is something you can easily do at your home. You can even turn otherwise mundane objects and turn them into fashionable things to spend your free time.
A great way to do this would be with the help of epoxy resin. You can add the powder to the resin and then apply it to a surface of your choosing.
We all like our birthday party, anniversary celebration, or graduation party to have a vibrant feel. Well, whatever may be the cause for celebration, mica powder can be used to give mundane decorations a nice look.
School festivals and other projects can also benefit from the addition of mica powder in the design. You can really impress your classmates by shining your art project with some mica.
Mica is a popular ingredient in spray paints. The powder is mixed with the aerosol to dissolve properly first. So, when you spray with the bottle, the mica sticks to the surface very easily.
Now, be very careful with this as an aerosol can be an inhalation hazard. Just remember to cover your mouth and aim the spray away from humans at all times.
Another very popular use of mica powder. Polymer clay can make many different structures; it can be attached to give your craft an added edge. And the mica can make the entire thing noteworthy and instantly eye-catching.
How do You Make Nail Polish with Mica Powder?
Nail polish is a very common vessel for mica powder. You can buy mica-infused nail polish from the store or you can make it yourself. We will take you on a step by step process of the whole thing so you can do it at home:
First of all, let’s go over the materials you are going to need for this project
- Nail polish bottle or a suitable replacement (to store the mixture)
- Nail polish base (this is the part that is going to stick to your nails)
- Mica powder (of course!!)
- A stirring tool (to help mix the material evenly)
- Little scoops
Now, you need to follow these steps to get a solid and colorful mica infused nail polish:
- Pour the base into the bottle until it fills near the top. Do not overfill the bottle because you need room for stirring or shaking.
- Add five to ten scoops of mica powder into the bottle. If you are using additional colorant, you can mix it in now as well.
- Close the lid of the bottle and shake. If you want, you can take the stirring tool and use it to mix the materials properly.
And there you have it, ready-made mica nail polish. Yes, it is that simple to make it at home. We encourage you to play with the colors by mixing different mica minerals together.
Remember to keep the mica proportions to a minimum. You do not need to oversaturate the mixture with the powder. That would be a waste of both money and resources.
What is the Difference Between Mica Powder and Pigment Powder?
Both mica and pigment powder has a long-standing tradition of being used in cosmetics and resins. They both give a noticeable color to the mixture, which is why they are so widely utilized.
But despite their similar use, mica and pigment powder are not the same substance. They have different chemical structures which makes them behave differently in products. So, the effect you have from both of them can vary pretty significantly.
One difference is eye-catching and you will realize it immediately. Just apply mica powder and pigment powder in two different solutions or mixture and it becomes evident. Mica is extremely shinnying while pigment powder is matte.
Their chemical property also differentiates their usage. Pigment powder is the substance that provides the actual color. It is essentially tiny color fragments. On the other hand, mica is an additive that compliments the base color. It enhances the effect of the pigment; it does not replicate or replace it.
So, the next time you use any of these products, try to remember this difference. Because mica will not be able to do the job that pigment powder does and vice versa.
Can You Use Mica Powder with Polymer Clay?
You can indeed use mica with polymer clay is a type of modeling clay that is a staple in the world of arts and crafts. So many people use it to create a wide variety of different art forms such as statues, sculptures, decorations, adhesive, highlighter, etc.
So naturally, mica powder goes really well with polymer clay. Mica can give your clay project that extra edge or wow factor to make it stand out. Add it to your clay and make an attractive clay sculpture or any other structures.
Nice to Remember
Polymer clay needs to be baked before using it on something. Otherwise, the clay will not retain its shape or stick to anything properly. However, baked clay also loses all its stickiness, which is present in raw clay.
So, if you are planning to use mica in your polymer, you should use it while the clay is still raw. You can easily add it and mix it around. You can even mix in multiple different colors to create a new color effect.
But once it is baked, the mica will not do you much service. The finished product will not be smooth at that point; instead, it would be uneven and rough.
Is Mica Powder Safe to Use?
Contrary to what many like to believe, mica is actually pretty safe for a cosmetics product. It is a naturally occurring substance with no striking cause for concern.
One thought is that mica is found with other minerals as such it may contain trace elements that are harmful to the body. While they may carry traces of other minerals, the amount is often negligible. And they are carefully curated before used or sold, so you should not worry about that matter.
Besides, using it on your face will not damage your skin. But, like with all other chemical substances, you do have to be careful. You should wash it properly after you are done for the day.
The most threatening aspect of mica is that it is an inhalation hazard. Meaning it can cause your body great damage if you somehow inhale it and it gets to your lungs. The tiny minerals can cause you great distress with breathing and may even lead to excessive coughing.
So, always avoid using powdered mica directly or any product that sprays mica directly. If you do use such products, make sure to wear masks or cover your face in any other way. Also, keep it away from your mouth and nose.
As for allergic reactions, mica is not too much of an irritant. There are very few cases of mica aggravating pre-existing allergic conditions. So, you should be safe in that regard at least.
How to Use Mica Powder Safely
There are safety measures you need to take with mica, as with most synthetic powders. Never let it touch your eye or let it get into your mouth. If either of these happens, wash it off with plenty of water then seek medical treatment if you start to feel sick.
As we said, do not spray mica directly near your face. Because inhaling this substance will cause harm to your lungs. If you want to use mica, use it to create a gel or clay-like mixture. Do not try to ingest this mineral by any means; that will earn you a ticket to the hospital.
Make sure the mica you are using does not have any other substances mixed with it. The mica itself may not cause you too much trouble, but the additional materials can. So, be sure to read the label or the description on the bottle to get a clear idea.
The Ethical Problem Regarding the Use of Mica
This is arguably the biggest issue when dealing with the production and distribution of mica. Mica is found in many parts of the world, but India is a favorite destination for many companies for plenty of reasons.
First of all, it is remarkably cheap to mine mica in India. The tax law is not as severe. Most importantly there is an abundance of child labor available for the company’s benefit. India, especially the regions where mica is harvested, has a great number of people living under the poverty line.
And this is where the moral dilemma comes with mica. Big companies hire these poor people, many of whom are children without supervision, to mine the mica for them. And in return, they are paid a minimum wage if any by the big corporations. So, this is basically child abuse and child labor used for the profit of private fashion brands.
Over the years, there have numerous protests to stop this practice. Reports of people, including children, dying as a direct result of working in these mines have stirred the hearts of many. So, they have raised their voice to protect the poor people from India.
Of course, the companies take few responsibilities for this result. Because they do not directly hire these workers. This is done for them by third parties that are the ones dealing in child labor.
Now, there are other places where mica mining is not so frowned upon. And many beauty brands have tried to source from there, to clean up their public image. But the problem is that the mica supply chain is very convoluted. It is hard to figure out which batch is legal and which was harvested illegally.
As you can see, mica is an extremely versatile product that has many applications in different fields. Be it for fashion, craft, or some combination of the two, you can be assured that mica will give the final presentation a sparkling look.
- YouTube.com: How to apply mica pigments on nails
- Thebluebottletree.com: Pearl ex color chart and comparison tool
- YouTube.com: Painting with Mica Powders
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