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.

100 thoughts on “The Dark Secret Behind Your Favorite Makeup Products | Shady | Refinery29

  1. This is my INDIA

  2. In india you can do anything
    Like rape , murder , child labor, MOBLYNCHING with minorities
    But you just have to pay Rupees like MUKESH AMBANI, zee networks,
    If you don't have enough money.
    No problem then you say Jai modi , namo , mandir vahi banegi
    That's it

  3. This is why I don’t use makeup . People would care more about saving a mice or a bird or more then a CHILDS LIFE .

  4. My heart is broke…. Seeing the A child of my country saying if they don't pick what we will eat.

  5. While watching this, an advertisement about make up removal came on. Sigh! Psychology is a bitch! And the industry traps you if you let it.

  6. All ingredients of products only come through these means. You have no choice

  7. it broke my when I knew it was in my country and I never knew about this. I feel ashamed and frustrated about it. when foreign media covers them and we have stupid media that never inform us about it

  8. i don’t know how to approach this, like do I get rid of my products with Mica and get products with ethically sourced Mica because these kids are getting treated like slaves. But if I do they don’t get the money and they starve. this is.. different?

  9. Conclusion World is not for poor's. Poor's are easy to get smashed by anyone.

  10. This is sad cause I'm able to understand their language and I'm sad that this is happening in my country.

  11. You know, these kinds of videos will really make you value the products and resources that u once wasted just coz u can.

  12. Wowwww.. I'm about they're age, I'm 13, I'm a girl. Most girls my age would probably be wearing makeup made with mica which was made by these poor kids. Others girls might laugh at me but I don't think I'll be wearing makeup.

    Also is nobody gonna talk about how brave that girl is, the Children's Parliament?
    One like= One prayer for these kids 👍

  13. After watching a video about poverty in Hong Kong caused by private citizens who own real estate, where the majority of young people there know not to have families. Now I'm watching a video about poverty in India, where the young people have kids to send them into slavery. Come on humans get a clue.

  14. Did you guys make a followup on those children? After you took off, there was a possibility they were questioned or threatened or god knew what happened to them and their families who graced your interview. I felt bad for them. 😢

  15. F* Greta! Instead support this kid who is fighting child labour. I can't believe how politician use other kids as their puppets for propaganda. People follow blindly while the real heroes are all staying uncovered by us

  16. This is what true journalism for, base on facts and reality in order to make things done better.. Not to be use in political propaganda.

    I'm sure if there government have a dignity and shame they will do better to address this in appropriate way.

    More power to this channel..
    God bless🙏

  17. This is what true journalism for, base on facts and reality in order to make things done better.. Not to be use in political propaganda.

    I'm sure if there government have a dignity and shame they will do better to address this in appropriate way.

    More power to this channel..
    God bless🙏

  18. Putting artificial stuff on your face is also an unknown. Don't think synthetic is safe these co just want your cash.

  19. To the beauty community out there, I just got one request. Go to your makeup belongings and say ' thank you for serving me ' . 🙂

  20. They should just build a schoil fr them all those children who are busy with child labour. D government must make a plan.

  21. This message is incredibly important and I'm glad you're sharing it!

    I am ….. hm, idek how to say it well but somehow it doesnt add up to me how you obtained permission to film AND display the faces AND names AND full names of these people, especially these children! Like, maybe I'm thinking too deep into this but it seems like a life or death situation for them if they are discovered "ratting out" the bigger hands who feed them and their families. It seems like irresponsible reporting to me. If they get caught, depending upon the level of cruelty their bosses are, it'd be EASY to snuff them out and kill them. And we the world would never know that it happened! Please be more mindful going forward with the nature of these type of reports/documentaries to blur their faces and give nicknames instead of actual names. It really could be a matter of life or death for them.

    Thank you for bringing awareness again bc it is so important to know

  22. Am so ashamed and guilty for saying my life sucks..Its not even close to what these young people are going through.God bless you and everyone out there who is loving one hell of life.God is surely with you.And please don't forget to pray for them..

  23. Its funny how people take topics like these seriously but I saw this girl who made abstract art and people were hating on her getting to much attention and hating on it. I mean yeah this is bad but if you will take the time to comment something comment something useful helpful and not hatful

  24. This is why Universal Basic Income is a necessary and sovereign mandatory right.

  25. our former cric capt MSD who came frm ranchi jharkhand have to come forward and help this child by making some educational amd health inst for them which is free of cost with mid day meal and atleast some basic sports education.
    who no next mahi is also frm jharkhand .

  26. This just shows how corrupt society and government can be, to deliberately exploit these children in poor countries for manufacturing luxurious products. Now I feel grateful to have education at a young age but it’s saddening that most of these children don’t have that schooling opportunity since they’re working a dangerous job. They should be at least given a fair share from the market economy earning billions of dollars. Still, it’s unjust and wrong for these children. They should be given a fair life to grow holistically than being stagnant to these working conditions. The government not giving a damn and making these children work, rather than growing their economy by focusing on education and betterment for the community, just shows a lack of morality.

  27. I don't wanna wear makeup now
    I'm done….. I'm from India and this makes me sooo sad

  28. Refinery29:the dark secret of your favorite makeup is…



  29. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel 🙏 😊 if you like recipe videos

  30. I think the farm of mica in wrong but what will the families do without the money we need charities to donate more people don't give enouf thaught to this problem

  31. He was speaking Urdu my national LANGUAGE


  32. JHARKHAND Most backward state in India but highest minerals resource in entire country including , uranium , cooper , bauxite , iron ore , mica , gold etc but people leaving there did not get any benefit from them all the money take the government and they get nothing that's why they become NAXALITES OR MAOIST they don't believe in government system i am telling you this because i also belong to same place which show in this video

  33. I am sorry to say….but do u really need this shimmer to look just pretty and on the other hand ppl r dying!!!!????U know what u guys can never be pretty even if u use all the make ups in the world with that mindset of urs!!!!!U R UGLY AND ALWAYS GONNA STAY LIKE THIS!!!!!I am sorry if I am too rude but that's just the fact!!!

  34. It really stuck with me when she asked the kids what they would be doing today if they didn’t have to mine and all they said was “we would go hungry” cause they’ve been mining their whole lives they don’t even know what they would do for fun 🙁

  35. 😭😭😭😫😫💔💔💔. Please lord bless these childrens hahays i cant finish watchin it.

  36. My teacher once made me compete in this speech contest about child labor, I ended up winning, at the time I still didn't know and care much about the topic, but I've recently been watching more and more documentaries, it's been a year since the speech contest, I want to do it again but this time with care and motivation to see what my actions can do to help the mess of a society that the world is now.

  37. I curse all those beauty product millioners to suffer before death extreme skin problems and fear ,10 folds these kids experience..

  38. Hello kardashans family!! You put make up to the new level! And now your earning too much from your cosmetics, look at these child strive hard to get mica to sell for thier food. Have about a donations from you guys?? Thanks for the nice vids keep going❤️❤️❤️🇵🇭

  39. It's funny that we never realise what we think makeup is and what it is. I feel bad but feeling bad would not make any change. We should not abandone these makeup companies necessary but use other alternatives.

  40. I appreciate the effort and risk taken. They would have even got themselves killed!

  41. They should feel lucky, there's no spare land with resources you can just dig up in the UK except fishing. Free pocket money IMO.

  42. Thats not fair that children get hurt bc of makeup 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

  43. I know, im late. But i just wanted to say that if we all stop buying mica-filled products, then the conditions for these poor children will just get worse. We need to realise that we need to make these working/mining areas a-lot safer, instead of just boycotting the whole mica industry,
    So, i wanted to say we need to try and make working conditions for these people safer and also make the get paid well, or other wise, more people who mine the mica for us makeup-users will die, and we wont even get the makeup we wanted.

  44. If you think about it though if yu stop buying products with that in it they will go so poor that they won't be able to eat so in reality they are either gonna die if yu stop buying that product from the company so there is no right answer😔

  45. That's why I don't wear makeup because they're all mine by little children now what kind of beauty can you get for a child's death

  46. I’m from India and education in India is free up to the age of 14 years. They are also given one meal a day.
    Poor people usually use their kids so that they can add to their income and help them raise their younger siblings! It’s the parents who should be punished. This is a common phenomenon with poor states of the country. The people from these states are so deprived that they usually shift to richer states. I know people who have come from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh worked as labourers and now pay EMI for their flat and not rent.
    I live in a town and children go to government school even though it’s not the same as private schools. They do get an education!
    What is wrong is the parents supporting their kids to work as if they’re adults.

  47. It’s even sadder when the children don’t even know that the mica is going into makeup

  48. This reminds me of the movie “Slum Dog Millionaire” . I wish I could sue the makeup companies and mining companies on their behalf. If someone can do this that would be great!

  49. This is so sad. We strive to be beautiful and pretty and spend unnecessary money. And kids here just want to have a full stomach and 25 cent.

  50. This is sad. People get pleasure and business get rich off of those in need. We the consumers should be ashamed of our selves. I do not wear make up.

  51. These kids just wants an education while Kylie Jenner has an LV bag when she was 5yo and now has over 1 billion dollars net worth for selling makeup that cause these kids life to get it! THINK People!

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