the basics of using mica powder

Mica is a hugely popular colorant in the soapmaking world, but it is also great for other projects that you might not have considered before. Mica powder comes in a nearly endless array of colors and is super easy to work with, so it makes sense why so many crafters love it!

P.S. We carry more than 80 shimmering mica colors to choose from for your next project, so be sure to check them out.

mica powder

What is Mica?

Our mica is a fine powdered colorant that can be used to dye soap, wax melts and various other projects. Mica is a mineral that is mined from the earth. It has a naturally shimmering appearance and is generally off-white or gold in color. Natural mica is mixed with ingredients such as titanium dioxide, iron oxide or FD&C / D&C (food, drug & cosmetic) colorants to give it a bright hue.

Is mica safe?

The mica powder we sell is cosmetic grade and is safe for external use. All of the ingredients in our mica powders are FDA approved. It can safely be used for soap, body products, cosmetics and other similar projects. You can also use it safely for various crafts and DIY projects such as making your own nail polish, metallic paint or shimmering stamping medium for rubber stamps. The possibilities are pretty endless!

It’s important to note that the titanium dioxide, iron oxide and other colorants in our mica are pigment-grade, not ultrafine. That’s a good thing. Ultrafine particles are also known as nanoparticles, which are potentially harmful because they are so small that they can absorb through the skin. Our micas do not contain nanoparticles.

Even though our mica does not contain nanoparticles, it’s still recommended that you wear a dust mask while working with any mica because it is a fine powdered substance. Like any fine powder, a small amount may float into the air when you scoop mica out of the container or dump the powder into your project. This is just a good safety precaution to follow for any project that involves working with fine powdered materials.

Is all mica safe for any project?

Make sure you read the ingredient list of each mica powder when deciding which types of projects you can make with a particular color of mica. While all of our micas are safe for general use, some are approved for additional applications.  

It helps to understand that mica colored with D&C colorants are only approved for drug & cosmetic purposes, whereas mica colored with FD&C colorants are approved for food, drug & cosmetic uses. With that in mind, micas with D&C colorants are safe for external use only. On the other hand, any mica with an FD&C colorant can safely be used for lip products.

Is mica a natural colorant?

Most mica powder is considered “nature identical,” which means it is made of materials that have the same chemical composition of naturally occurring minerals. Mica is a natural mineral*. However, its colored pigments such as titanium dioxide or iron oxide are derived minerals. Derived minerals are created in a lab, but have the same chemical composition of naturally occurring minerals, which is why they are considered nature identical rather than “natural.”

Note that mica pigmented with FD&C or D&C (food, drug & cosmetic) colorants is not considered natural because these colorants are synthetically created. Some of us like to avoid synthetic ingredients, but these colorants are actually regulated more strictly than natural ingredients. The FDA requires certification for every drug and cosmetic dye, but does not currently have the same strict regulations on natural dye products.

* Some mica on the market is actually made from synthetic mica that is produced in a lab. Our mica is mined naturally, not made synthetically.  

Is mica ethical and sustainable?

The mica that we sell is ethically and sustainably sourced. It is never tested on animals. We source our mica from China, and it comes with numerous certifications that verify it is made responsibly.

Can I use mica in soap?

Yes! Mica is perfect for coloring soap. It works excellent in any of our Melt & Pour soap bases. Some mica is also suitable for cold process (CP) soap. However, not all mica will behave the way you want in CP soap. The high pH environment of CP soapmaking can make mica colorants unstable, meaning that the color may morph into something else. It’s common to get muddy or gray tones, or for the color to disappear altogether. Furthermore, mica dyed with D&C colorants may bleed in CP soap.

You can always try using mica in CP soap, but you’ll have to do a bit of testing to find what works. Make a small test batch of soap whenever you’re trying out a new color. Stay tuned for more in-depth soapmaking tutorials!  

What else can I make with mica?

Mica can be used for numerous craft projects. We’ve put together lots of project ideas and in-depth tutorials to help inspire you. Stay tuned for more!

Mica Powder 101 - Tips for Using Mica

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