Behind the Glitter: Child Labour in Mica Mining

Mica: it’s the common ingredient in cosmetic products such as nail polish, foundation, mascara and lipstick.

It’s what gives them their luminosity, making them responsible for the fortune of major cosmetic groups like L’Oréal, Lancôme, Dior and Chanel.

Unknown to its hundreds of millions of consumers is that most of it is filled with “dirty mica”, extracted using antiquated methods, close to slavery, in one of the poorest regions of the world: Jarkhand, India. Here, under the constant threat of landslides and toxic dust, children dig through the earth with their bare hands.

Journalist Brando Barenzelli has traced the mica supply chains from the lost mines of the Indian countryside to the laboratories of major brands in Europe. He films the 8-year-old children who collect mica, and the mine owners and exporters who turn a blind eye to the deplorable working conditions. He also uncovers the strategies used at each stage of the supply chain to whitewash the origins of mica. Back in Paris and Europe, he confronts cosmetics manufacturers with the findings of his investigation.


  • Year: 2019
  • Duration: 42 mins
  • Production: CAT & Cie
  • Director: Brando Baranzelli
  • Available Versions: ENG, FRA, ESP LATAM
  • Country of production: France


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