Pearlescent pigments are widely used in the cosmetic industry to add luster, sparkle, impart color or color-travel effects, and provide coverage. Pearls are used in many cosmetics applications including nail polish, eye shadow, lipstick, and blush.
Mica is the name given to a mineral that gives sparkle and vibrancy to products. Depending how coarse or fine the mineral is, it will produce different effects, levels of shimmer, and colors.
A shimmer effect is created when mica is coated with an oxide, most commonly titanium dioxide. Different colors are achieved by applying more coats of the chosen oxide.
Natural mica is a naturally-occurring mineral. There are many types of mica and it can be found across the globe. It is also used across numerous industries in anything from car paints, inks, edible glitters, to cosmetics.
Synthetic fluorophlogopite – more widely referred to as synthetic mica mimics the effect of natural mica but is manufactured in a controlled environment. Just like natural mica, the synthetic alternative gives a glittering finish to makeup.
Because synthetic mica is created under a controlled environment, the purity is higher, so bolder colors and more reflective products can be achieved when compared to natural mica. Benefits of using synthetic mica comes through in various applications, such as formulating a very sparkly eye shadow. Natural mica has jagged edges, whereas synthetic has very smooth edges, meaning you can use a much larger particle size of the synthetic to generate a product with much more sparkle. Should you use the same particle size of natural mica, this would feel uncomfortable around the eyes and would not yield comparable shimmer results.