What is it? Coloured micas are a very wide category of ingredients. Basically, coloured micas are mica that has been laminated/blended with a variety of pigments and other ingredients that can create iridescence, colour shifting, etc. Coloured mica is never a single ingredient; your supplier should provide a full INCI that shows exactly what is in each mica they sell.
INCI Mica + a wide variety of other possible ingredients
Appearance There’s almost no end to the variation here! Generally speaking they are colourful, sparkly powders.
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Super fine powders to almost glitter-like flakes.
Scent None
Solubility Insoluble, though some of the added pigments may be oil or water soluble.
Why do we use it in formulations? Micas contribute colour and shimmer to our products. They easily incorporate into products without the need for extensive mixing or grinding (grinding is generally discouraged as it can dull the shine of the mica).

In low amounts the add visible colour and a bit of shimmer that is visible in the product, but does not carry through to the skin.

In higher concentrations they can be used as the primary colourant and shimmer agent in products like eyeshadows and highlighters.

Do you need it? Coloured micas are a very important part of creating makeup; if you don’t want to (or can’t) use them you will be limited in the sorts of cosmetics you can create.
Strengths Coloured micas are an easy to work with, shimmery colour option for cosmetics. They produce stunning end products!
Weaknesses Micas are not as strongly pigmented as pure pigments like iron oxides, and they are very shimmery so they aren’t a great option if you want a matte product.

Because coloured micas are such a wide category there is a lot of variation. There are many different shades of every colour you can imagine, which can create problems if you are trying to re-create a colour and a mica is discontinued. You’ll likely be able to find something similar, but there are so many available that you may never find the exact same one again depending on how unique it is.

If you are allergic to mica you should avoid coloured micas.

Alternatives & Substitutions For colour/pigmentation you can look to pigments like iron oxides, lake dyes, and carmine. You will need a fraction of the amount as pigments are significantly more potent than coloured micas. It is hard to replace the shimmer; glitter can give some sparkle, but it’s not the same.
How to Work with It Generally speaking you’ll want to stir in micas after the grinding part of a recipe is over. They usually are not heat sensitive, but make sure you’re checking the INCI of each mica as some pigments (like carmine or FD&C red #7) can be pH sensitive.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, coloured micas should last indefinitely—but you should always double check with your supplier given the wide variety of ingredients that can be used in coloured micas.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks If you are vegan or a soap maker be sure to check the pigment lists for non-vegan pigments (carmine) and pH sensitive pigments that might shift during saponification (carmine, ferric ferrocyanide).
Recommended starter amount 10g (0.35oz) or less per colour until you know you love it! The ~6g samplers that TKB Trading offers are fantastic.
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon. TKB Trading has an incredible selection!

Some Formulations that Use Coloured Mica


Posted on

December 12, 2018