The Many Shades of Mineral Pigments

Mineral Pigment is a paradox; a contradiction of what you likely conceptualize as the process in which colorants are extracted from the earth. The world of pigments is sophisticated, and exceeds the complexities you may imagine.

Inorganic minerals and pigments used in makeup have many categories, origins, refinement processes, and applications. They can be heavy or light as air, mined from the earth or synthetically created in a lab. They are a mainstay in the world of cosmetics as they are stable colors, unlike their organic counterparts extracted from fruits and vegetables.

Minerals, used as colorants for thousands of years, include a large variety of pigments including micas, iron oxides, sericite, silicas, titanium dioxide, etc. Historically, minerals have been used to color everything from clothing to paint. Modern minerals are comprised of both traditional minerals and new technology that involves lab created pigments that are unique in color, texture, and performance. Au Naturale’s minerals are naturally derived and purely processed. Why are they processed? Because there are naturally occurring elements in the earth, like heavy metals lead and arsenic, that can impact the extracted mineral. Minerals need to be purified and checked for heavy metal counts so that they do not contaminate you through your skin - this is not only a legal practice, but also a common practice at our lab. Our stance on the purity of our pigments lies with the supply chain and processes we uphold.

We are pleased to see that the conversation around ethical extraction is taking place in our industry. Most notably is the concern around the abuse of children in mines, historically in India. Due to the small size and translucence of micas, they can be hard to harvest from the earth. Children have been, and are still presently used for labor in some mica mines. We be sure to source our micas from verified suppliers who own, operate and audit their mines both internationally and domestically. Because our suppliers own their supply chain from harvesting to processing and distribution, we can assure only the highest quality micas, mined without the use of child labor, are used in our formulations. We are able to make this process happen as we manufacture our makeup in our own private facility; meaning Au Naturale is vertically integrated. This is quite uncommon in the world of color cosmetics, and offers unparalleled transparency.

As the process of refinement and use of inorganic minerals is complex, and even when naturally derived minerals require purification, we at Au Naturale are fine tuning our stance on colorants to using ‘Conscious Color’. We believe these two words precisely define what we do: offer you color that is ethical, natural, and sustainable; values we believe our consumers treasure.

Sincere thanks for your support,

Ashley Prange

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