Decoding The Ingredients: Pigments, Pearls & Micas

If you have ever looked at the ingredient list of your favorite bottle of nail polish, you might have gone cross-eyed from all the chemicals. In this series of posts, Mette Jorgensen is decoding what some of those scary ingredients are, what they do, and how they do their job.

Me again, today I’ve focused on the ingredients making up colors and effects, and will be telling you all about pigments, pearls and micas.

Dyes and pigments work together to create the particular shade of color of the polish. On the back of the polish there will be the letters ‘CL’ followed by numbers which indicate the index number of the exact color used. Common pigments are iron oxides, and other colorants (like you find in paint or varnish).

Micas are tiny reflective particles added to make polish shimmery. If you’re looking for a shimmer polish just see if the ingredients list says ‘mica’ (this one is easy to look for).

Pearls or pearlescent minerals are added to polish to give a shimmer or glitter effect. Some ingredients used to give this effect are titanium dioxide or ground mica, but some polishes just contain bits of plastic glitter to create a special effect.

– Mette Jorgensen

Elise Wright

Elise is a social media strategist from Sydney, now living in NYC, who has a long standing love affair with the beauty industry- especially the nail industry!

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