The Dark Secret Behind Your Favorite Makeup Products | Shady | Refinery29

The Dark Secret Behind Your Favorite Makeup Products | Shady | Refinery29

Makeup can be a tool for liberation and expression. It can make us feel beautiful, but one of beauty’s most popular ingredients has a dark side. When children are the hidden cost in our cosmetics. Who’s stepping in to help them out? And who’s leaving them behind. We’re here in London on a press trip with
Lush Cosmetics. The British company invited us here to learn about an initiative surrounding one of the most controversial ingredients going into
makeup today. Mica. An unassuming mineral essential to modern
life. The property of heat and electrical resistance
makes this mineral invaluable. For decades it’s been used in everyday products
like electronics, insulation, paint, and even toothpaste. But over the past few years the cosmetics
industry’s demand for glowing radiant shimmer has exploded. From the perfect, no makeup makeup gleam,
to the blinding shine of a highlighter created for double taps. Mica is often a magic ingredient. But it also has an ugly side. The majority of the world’s mica comes from
India, where 2016 Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation revealed that it was being mined
by children and had a deadly cost. The revelation forced the beauty industry
into a moral reckoning. Some companies have pledged to work with the
mining communities in India to create a sustainable supply chain. It’s a lofty goal. With progress that’s been slow to come by. Companies like Lush that have built a brand
on ethical sourcing have taken a different approach. Without a transparent supply chain, it decided
to pull out of natural mica altogether. This glittering shimmery effect is all the
synthetic mica. It looks pretty but I’m about to find out
that it’s more complicated than appearances might suggest. Much as I love sparkles, I didn’t want
anything put into a Lush product that you know could have had a death attached to it. The nice thing about the synthetic mica is
it has much more variety of the this sparkle that you can get in the pigment. So really there’s no reason to have natural
mica. It’s much more complicated in that natural
mica that’s a commodity which is in almost any product you use. You should not try to avoid mica. You should make sure that the families where
you buy the mica from as a company get decent wages get living wages. As corporations roll out initiatives with
promises of positive change. I’m curious to know how they’re actually impacting
the people and especially the children on the ground. Globally the mica industry is worth over half
a billion dollars. And India is at its center with the world’s
largest and highest quality reserves of mica. The majority of it can be found in the country’s
eastern states. We’re leaving New Delhi and we’re about to
take a sleeper train to a region called Jarkan. Which is where a lot of this mining is happening. Jharkhand is a mining state with rich reserves
of coal, copper, and of course mica. Most of the nearly 33 million residents live
in rural areas where illegal and unregulated mica mines dominate the trade. It’s been this way since the 1980s when restrictive
environmental laws drove the industry underground. It’s been a very long journey and we’re trying
to keep a low profile. Just because this is such a sensitive subject here. Now many of the mines are abandoned and scavenged,
while others are run by illicit operators. We’re finally getting close because you can
see all of the shimmer in the dirt. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen pretty dirt. I met up with Rohit Gandhi our local contact
who secured our access to the mine. Nice to meet you. Very nice to meet you as well. I’m gonna keep the cars ready just in case
any of these contractors who actually mined with these children come around. We should be ready to leave right away. Why would they be mad that we’re here? They know it’s illegal right to use children
in the trade for mining then obviously they’re against the law. Just a few steps off the road. I start to see them. Children. Hard at work, mining for mica. They sifted through up here. It’s all mixed with gravel, and then they’ll
sift it through and they’ll take the mica out and that then go and sell to somebody who will
then you know shipped overseas. Pooja Bhurla is only 11 years old and has been mining mica since she was eight. How many days are you out here per week? Every day? Do you ever get scared when you’re working
in the mines? Yes. Where are your parents right now? Jharkhand suffers from a classic case of the
resource curse. A phenomenon where areas with abundant resources
tend to be worse off for it thanks to government corruption, and commercial exploitation. Despite the fact that this area is rich in
mica and other minerals, Jharkhand has one of the highest poverty rates
in the entire country. Many of these children including Pooja make
less than a quarter a day. But it can mean the difference between something
to eat and an empty stomach. What are the other children in the town doing? It’s been estimated that up to 20,000 children are working all across the region
in mines just like these. Seeing these mines and meeting these children
it’s easy to understand why Lush wouldn’t want anything to do with mica. This is incredibly scary and I can’t even believe there’s
kids all the way down there. But it’s also painfully clear that these children
have no alternative. Can you tell me how old you were when you
first started working in the mines? If you didn’t have to mine, what would you
be doing today? Do you have any idea where the mica goes after
you mine it? Wait someone’s…who’s coming? We had to take off really quickly from that
mine because we heard that people were coming cause they knew that we were there. The mica trade here is built on a facade that
it’s players have a stake in maintaining. Once the mica leaves the mine, it’s funneled
into a process that conceals the fact that children ever had anything to do with it. Traders pedal the mica to intermediaries who
often sell it under the licence of a legal mine from another part of the country. By the time the mica is exported, its illicit
origins have been stripped away. But back in Jharkhand, it’s impossible to
escape the realities of the trade and the risks that go along with it. Cuts and broken bones. Respiratory illnesses that can damage or even
scar the lungs. And sometimes, the unthinkable. Surma Kumari and her sister Laksmi were mining
one day when the tunnel they were working in collapsed. Can you show me where you got hurt in the
accident? Do you and your family still work in the mines? The Kumari Family story is a common
one. Lakshmi’s death is just one of an estimated
10 to 20 deaths that occur every month. The unregulated nature of mica opens the door
to dangerous work conditions and predatory pricing. Families are trapped in a cycle of poverty. How much would the companies that are buying
the mica have to pay you to be able to send Pooja to school? To be able to completely change your life. It really hit home. For better or worse, the choices that companies
and consumers make have the power to determine people’s lives. It made me look at my beauty products in a
totally new light. I’ve pulled out some of the products that
I use every single day. There’s mica in this. First ingredient. They all have mica in them. There’s mica in all of these products. While I don’t know if the mica in these
products specifically came from a mine that used child labor, there’s no transparency
in any of these supply chains involved with these products. These families all rely upon these mines and
they’ve been selling mica for a long time now. There has to be an ethical way to get mica
out of the ground. There has to be an ethical way to treat these
families and it’s hard not to feel responsibility. I wanted to know where the Indian government
was in all of this. It turns out, the National Commission for
the Protection of Child Rights, or NCPCR has been aware of the issue since at least 2016,
when its governing ministry lodged a complaint. When we reached out to them, they said they
were conducting a survey to understand the scope of the problem, and sent us to the ministry
that oversees their work. There is poverty and there is less spread
of education in these interior areas and our ministry is making all efforts to see that
child rights are protected. So we were just in Jharkhand and we saw children working in the mines that are young as five or six, but your department
is the one that’s surveying that. Is that enough that’s being done? Actually we are not aware of any such survey
that’s currently being done, as you say. We have been told that this committee is doing
the survey and that they’re under your jurisdiction. How is that– We have not authorized it. As far as this ministry goes, the ministry
of the women and child development, child labor is not exactly a mandate. It was alarming to realize that someone so
high up at the ministry, seemingly knew so little about this dire issue. While solutions may be slow to come from the
top, a movement on the ground is providing some hope. A model that’s been coined “the child
friendly village” is connecting parents to new income streams, so that their children
don’t have to work. So many kids. It’s a concept piloted by the Kailash Satyarthi
Children’s Foundation. And it’s working. More than 3,000 children have been rescued. More than three thousand children have been
withdrawn from child labor. And they have been enrolled in school. Funding comes through government services
and private business support, including beauty conglomerate Estee Lauder. We thought long and hard if we wanted to stay
in Indian mica, if we wanted to move towards synthetic. And where we ultimately landed is that it’s
important for us to have a stake. And having a stake means we will continue
to be there until this problem comes to a resolution. And it has been incredibly important to us
to always start these initiatives with the community itself. It has been a long term process. And everybody has a role and responsibility to play in addressing this whole issue. This gathering of child friendly villages
is a showcase of what’s possible when companies stay invested in the communities they work
with. Thank you. I feel very welcomed right now. My name is Champa Kumari. Champa. Lovely to meet you. Champa Kumari is part of the most important
and inspiring outcomes of these child friendly villages. The Child Parliament. At 14 years old, she’s a fierce champion
of illiminating child labor. What would you say to some of the companies
and consumers who are buying mica that come from child labor. What do you want to accomplish next? You want to become a teacher? Yeah. You’re a big picture thinker. I like it. Yeah. Promising to be mica free isn’t the only,
or even the best, answer. Mica is the lifeblood of this region, and
any solution that will make a real difference must acknowledge that. It’s empowering kids, like Pooja and Champa,
that will bring change and break the cycle that keeps this region and its children chained
to mica. Thanks for watching Refinery29. For more videos like this, click here. And to subscribe, click here.


  • Whispers Tv says:

    Wow, that was amazing, and eye opening, I had no idea, thank you so much for what you did to bring this issue to light, that was incredible work and awareness to the issue is a huge step, I literally had no idea about this issue and I’m a make up junkie, wow.

  • Nik Nitin Team says:

    I feel proud that I am associated with a company like Oriflame and use their cosmetics. Oriflame takes Mica from mines but has its own guidelines and against to take Mica from sources where child labor is encouraged.

  • Itz Caleigh Teng says:

    Geez, my friend is named after a mineral

  • Ralli Soph says:

    women wouldn't buy products with natural mica in them, if they knew the truth about where the resource is coming from. companies are horrible for exploiting the most vulnerable category in the world, children in impoverished countries. I'm just so angry that others pay with their life the price for our stylish makeup. If this is what modern living means, then it's regrettable and shameful we've reached this level of ignorance towards other human beings.

  • Janea Desiray says:

    So heart breaking. 💔😢

  • cecilia palermo says:

    L'oreal is enslaving little kids and as Israel satanic corporate business it's killing innocent people in Palestina and all around the world … tell that to those ugly domestic whores with a tv square fuck face

  • Linda Carney says:

    Tod christly

  • Paula Wetterer says:

    If you notice, many of the kids have rusty colored streaks in their hair. It's a sign of malnutrition

  • Pillow Cat says:

    0:34 is that a nose piercing?

  • sheri D. says:

    This is one of the reasons why i don't buy makeup from the counter anymore but make my own at home.

  • cadiebug says:

    can someone please tell me what products support this because i don't want to support those companies anymore 😡

  • Leena Mbualala says:

    You have taken good steps, this is a good example that every human being should follow, to stand up for the ones that are weak, and to be the answer to their voices of supplication. Child labor should be looked at with wide open eyes and action should be taken, especially in Asia and Africa. This is a good step you have taken, and God will surely bless you, with long life, travel grants and even more money to give to those in need.
    I love you.

  • Harriet Harriet says:

    Is it only the darker shade of Indians who are this poor? Haven’t seen the yellow Indians do this, or are they the ones in offices owning this companies?🙄

  • Harshini Angeline says:

    The kardashians, beauty gurus and the cosmetic companies must watch this video…. I was shocked about the harsh reality

  • LoLJay says:

    haha im not a girl!

  • Rekha Gupta says:

    You are doing good work,people should aware about the pain of child labour before using cosmetics as well Indian government who earn in a $ by exporting mine but not thinking about the childs life who mining mica for supporting their family.
    In one word we can say the government of India are corrupted so after 70th of Independence we are still developing countries.

  • MsAkmuz says:

    Hateful big brands clothing to cosmetics;-((( using poor countries children and corrupted government to encourage them more for their billions.

  • Christine K says:

    @Refinery29 , I am really appreciative of the important global development issues -related to something relatively unimportant like beauty, that you bring to light on your platform. I have a bachelor's degree in international development, and am on the verge of returning to school for my master's in the same field. To me, it's so important to bring to light these issue for our generation, and those younger than us, because although in many ways we are privy to so much information compared to previous generations, we're also very self-consumed and superficial in the West.

  • chyann's opinion says:

    That is so sad

  • Mia Lagapa says:

    *james Charles left the chat *

  • Prasheetha Chella Studios says:

    Jeffery Star needs to see this

  • Oceanic xox says:

    This is just shocking.. Kids are doing this. They could die all they want is to go to school these makeup people ya there making money because kids are forced to do this there all rich blah blah blah DONATE TO THE KIDS THAT MAKE YOU FUCKING FAMOUS GOD

  • K-Game Beauty says:

    I love that this channel is being totally transparent with everything thats going on.

  • peace & love says:

    Very good to your job

  • Jasmine Johnston says:

    And despite this, I’m still keeping my LOL Surprise Ooh La La Babies cheek shimmer phones and Claire’s makeup compacts

  • Jasmine Johnston says:

    These poor kids have wasted childhoods. No school, no play, no birthday parties even. Just mining and mining and more mining. This is no way to treat a child.

  • Manju Pacharawan says:

    This is very educational and eye opening video for me. Also pretty sad to the point that I cried when the kid said that she saw the head split open ;(

  • k c says:

    Um… This isn't the first time we find out make up involves cruelty … How about you wear your true face and quit make up…. I own no make up… I am almost 40 and have never worn make up… How about people stop kidding themselves and wear their true face.

  • raj verma says:

    Indian government never accepts it's mistakes 😤
    You all are doing great job thank you☺
    At last this video brought smile to my face that girl wants to become a teacher ☺ 😃

  • Senpai Moshi says:

    Good thing im a guy

  • pintera 79 says:

    All youtube beauty influencer use more and more makeup lol

  • Peter Yim says:

    Yes… you're right! someone from higher ups don't even know a little about this child labour in Jharkhand. Makes me wanna slap his round head . It's clear that he is simply lying and trying to cover up things.

  • Phila Art says:

    Sad to see our children in our country India being use as machines.💔😥

  • swetha s Nair says:

    Thanks for initiating a change.

  • Fun Night says:

    Why not all the women stop putting on makeup. The real Beauty of a women lies inside not outside. Having make up and fake smiles is not what a true women is. a baby loves his mom to death no matter how she looks because to that baby mom shows love from inside her heart and the baby knows it. Same way why not the women show affection to her husband boy friend , in laws , friends what ever and be more forgiving, then u don’t need make up cause every man will see a divine angel in you.

  • Shina says:

    People buy cruelty-free products to save mice and other animals, but how come this is not as controversial. CHILDREN'S LIVES are at stake for mica, an ingredient used in so many make up and I hear no boycotts or posts about it. Sad.

  • Elio Io says:

    so this is where kyile jenner billion dollar makeup come from?
    why don't they build some mining industries with those millions and billions of dollar that they have?

  • Iulia Neicu says:

    I see this documentary and after i look at my make up s and i started to cry because they have Mica them in them=(((((

  • opie manifesto says:

    That guy in ministry department was the corrupted one, how can he didn't notice all of that issue?

  • Caryn Hanna says:

    They need to stop using child labor. This is so horrible, especially when Pooja mentioned about the kid, who died working for his family. Its sad how they barely make any money and risk their lives for just this. Please who ever is doing this stop, this is cruel.

  • Flo Yeow says:

    This is a really enlightening video about the makeup industry. Really hope everyone involved in makeup products one way or another does something about the situation! Good luckkk!

  • Celina Huezo says:

    i'm glad i don't wear makeup anymore. if i do i make it myself with some charcoal and oil, or red clay. i stopped wearing makeup cause of toxic ingridents and animal cruelty.

  • Joseph Gallegos II says:

    It’s 2019 get those kids out of there and put some robots in there. Amen.

  • Mira Smyth-liu says:

    Wow, when I was 5 or 6 I didn’t even know about child labor

  • madiha Ahsan says:

    Imagine being someone who wears vegan cruelty free makeup, but then buys products containing mica who came from fields mined by these children. Just proves how ignorant, selfish and unaware we are. And the fact that America continues to purchase products that they KNOW were derived unethically. So disgusting.

  • puffycloud says:

    quick question, why do kids work there instead of adult, wtf?

  • 심장eplayz says:

    Can we talk about shes in US then go to india

  • Josie w. says:

    I’m speechless and💔

  • Rama Bananananarama says:

    Foreign journalist should tie their hair, cover their head with cap and makeup to look tan so not to appear so conspicuous

  • Edith Bukenya says:

    Mica is in a lot of things other than just making. It’s in paint and toothpaste and whatnot. Read the ingredients in your products!!!

  • Marian Boanu says:

    Main reason why I don't want to wear make up

  • Pixie Le Flame says:

    It`s disgusting that this is still happening….

  • Holly Cruz says:

    This is absolutely heart breaking I'm I'm shock that things like this happen around the world this type of stuff needs to be stopped children should never be made to do hard labor , shame on the country of India for allowing this and other countries that do the same , the people allowing this shit to happen should be jailed mabe America can step in and help it's 2019 the world shouldn't be so fcked up , also it's so wrong that small towns like this all over the world have such abundance of resources and the people are poor mabe the people should refuse there resources !!!

  • Ivette De says:

    SO so so so fucking sad…. and people don't care! until its their children who are endangered and hurt… now thats selfish and cruel.

  • A. Di Gennaro says:

    Support those families? PAY A LIVING WAGE TO ADULTS

  • Nikhil Rajput says:

    Feel really sad for those kid. Instead of going to school they are made to work in mines. Thank God I was born in Jammu and Kashmir(India) and in a good family….hopefully someday India will be no poverty in India…girls should quit those make up products which contain natural Mice…

  • Alayna Harrison says:

    To everyone who disliked this video can go fuck off

  • Ce G says:

    Wow, amazing video, I don't use make up at all since it hurts my skin, but if I ever want to buy one I'm going to keep in mind ethical corporations. The little girl at the end, Champa, I hope nothing bad happens to her again and that she continues as an activist, all of the kids and community need people like her.

  • Cristina Sanders says:

    Look into the coffee bean industry. Which is located in Central and South America(the shithole countries he said where all the bad people live). Big corporate and other players exploiting them so that they can buy cheap but sell it high to you and me… Knowing
    Humans slaving all day … 100lbs of coffee beans=$5 pay. Inducing a never ending cycle of poverty.

  • Jose Torres says:

    This type of documentaries is one of the best things that cyberlife has. I never expected that the problems were so awful, horrendous and suffered that I have ever expected and I am a well-educated person and an autodidact. I start to pass the voice on my friends about the dangers of support companies that accept this type of trade and do nothing for these communities. None child should live like an adult as ages younger than at least 16 years. Is unaceptable. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media could help if his business develop an interest in these issues. thank you and thanks to companies like Lush for taking part in eradicating this stain of our civilization. Your channel is so important!

  • Liz Ruiz says:

    I have always used estee lauder. This sadly has been going on for years with produce and every products ingredients not found in the US

    As I'm watching this an ipsy ad pops up😤

  • AbellaDaGhoul says:

    I mean pewdiepie isn’t a beauty guru but at least he donated money to kids in India 🤷🏻‍♀️

  • Zink TV says:

    This breaks my heart children are being use in illegals activity and the government are not taking action to it because they are corrupt and blind leaders.

  • Albertina Manala says:

    How is it that the most poor countries have the most minerals than the most economic thriving countries? Exploitation and lack of education. This is tremendously sad

  • Claudia Jayakody says:

    thank god i never used to wearing makeup..🙏😭💔

  • Dontmes Widmakwinubish says:

    it seems like i'm still lucky

  • Vrinda Bhardwaj says:

    Foreign industry turned makeup into a boom and they are the one's now who come up for these children using the same makeup
    Isn't it hypocrisy?

  • Ama E. says:

    this brought tears to my eyes

  • Tess Apers says:

    I have a family member that has gone to India and has also seen the mines with the children in it. He works at Lush and is trying to get the goverment from India to work whit them and other people and communities so the family's can have the money and education they need. But it's sad to now that the people who are trying to help them can't go there. He told me some men came to the village where they were talking whit some kids there ( they came from the police department ) and gave them a letter. It said they should go back to their home as soon as possible, because they we're not welcome there and if they didn't they good go to jail. They we're just trying to help! It's like only the parents care for the children because when they're gone, who is going to help the other kids get dressed, feed them, …..

  • Movie News says:

    Good thing they are not mining laser brown cancer…

  • Movie News says:

    Back st#@wb

  • Cheza Rosanna says:

    Let's be real for a second–boycotting mica, cancelling/targeting brands and influencers, etc. will hardly affect these child labor rings. In a third world country like India, where people desperately need money, this industry will stop at nothing to continue these illicit practices and the families involved will feel like they have no other choice. That's why these kids start working as early as 5 years old, risking their lives. These families can hardly afford enough for day to day expenses, let alone afford to move out to the city in order to find better jobs or send their kids to school. Even if the parents could send their kids to school, they wouldn't because putting a kid through school just means one less source of income and added expenses; it's a huge risk. What we need to do if we want to ACTUALLY help is to donate whatever we can, whether it's $1, $1000000, medical supplies, canned goods, or clothing, because it could make more of a difference than we realize. Remember to educate yourself on where you send your donations, though. Shift your focus toward doing what you can instead of getting angry at what everybody else isn't doing about this.

  • Be The Monster YT1 says:

    This made me take the time to look at all my make-up to see what kind uses Mica…
    Kylie Cosmetics ✔
    Tarte ✔
    Ace Beaute✔
    Every single "popular" brand that I have, which is also super expensive, has Mica in it… Too many to name. I will be tossing it ALL!!!

  • Alyssa Gurr says:

    Lucky to work for a cosmetics company like LUSH that raises awareness for ethical practices <3

  • Ruth says:

    aaaaaand i’m officially not buying makeup anymore. at least not without a shit load of research. but how can we know who is telling us the truth that they aren’t using kids or if they are just selling us a PR campaign?

  • Wolfiy_ Plays says:

    Lets say that they don't get a lot of money for a amount of work they've done but here they put one small eyeshadow that can cost a lot of money ,don't relate

  • Sophia Nicole says:

    are you safe putting this out on to youtube?

  • cherry cola says:

    Billionares should donate instead of flex on people

  • mⷬoͥoⷯnͭX sⷬtⷭaͩrⷴ says:


  • oofx poisonx says:

    Everyone should just not wear makeup and be natural like it’s so much better and it’s less money to spend

  • Moodie Hoodie says:

    the thing is the young girls' English pronunciation is so much better than the guy working to protect them… for me it just show there that the kids really are diligent and the love to learn in school. just saying 🙁

  • MandL Gaming says:

    Wait so Burt’s bees 🐝 has mica in it!!

  • Alka Soli Prakash says:


  • MarSsiah888 says:

    im all tears!!!

  • Ang Probinsyana says:

    Death defying work. While those make up companies sell millions,these children were risking their lives. It so sad😞

  • Podrick Payne says:

    Thanks for breaking my heart

  • terranowa says:

    Incredible India.

  • Rita Antippa says:

    Foreign countries are really squeezing all the minerals from African countries to make themselves rich…they want the minerals at a very cheap price and if you dare protect your country it will be shaken upside down (they feel so powerful) (Above all treasures of earth belongs to God)

  • terranowa says:

    Incredible India.

  • Maria Sandu says:

    I SEE spoiled kids with fancy clothes and iphones…and this kids are working all day in dust and sun for a bread.Life isn t fear.I cry,is very hard to watch.Sorry FOR my enghlesh

  • Amit Kumar says:

    Thank you @refinery29 for this report. Hope the Jharkhand Government will do a certain things to uplift the life of the people and children who lives in Koderma.

  • Nicola Todhunter says:

    This was so informative and balanced in just 20 minutes – well done R29, definitely would love to see more content like this!!

  • Esme Estrada says:

    ABH also has mica in their product's makes me sad 🙁

  • loveit# love it says:

    The world is so terrible 😓

  • Monique Ataei says:

    Lush is a Canadian company not British

  • E-THOT #69 says:

    Every year seems to have a big movement trend so can this year be #endmica2019

  • sheila gibson says:

    Thank you so much for sharing and I just want to say you have a lot of Courage and I'm proud of you

  • Leorahsaur says:

    this is damn good journalism

  • Stephanie Fischer says:

    Thank you Refinery 29 for the wake up. For the truth.

  • Chels Mill-With says:

    This is insane and so wrong, those poor children doing all they can to put food on the table, that's just not right, also horrible that they don't earn a lot of money and are in such danger!

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