Many people ask me about micas, oxides and ultramarines and how natural they are today. Well, the truth hurts, but it should be made known... please note, I did not write most of this... I have taken it from various sources on the web...
Oxides and ultramarines are pigments. Pigments are not natural. They are manufactured in labs and have been since the 1970s. Pigments (oxides and ultramarines) used to be mined but the FDA stepped in and demanded some purity as these minerals were full of toxins such as arsenic, mercury and lead to name a few. Since then, these colorants have been manufactured in a lab - same molecular structure just a different way of processing. When you think about it, would you really want to put these toxins on your skin anyway? Sometimes natural is not the best option. Iron Oxides, and similar mineral pigments are not, by FDA standards, "Natural", because they are not directly from plants or animals. Instead, they come from minerals. While considered "natural" by consumers, cosmetic-grade pigments are all man-made in order to meet FDA approval.
2) Micas - Micas are actually natural organic products in the earth, however, cosmetic grade micas are not. Natural mica is an extremely expensive silicate mineral of crystalline structure that is easily broken into sheet-like flecks, however, the cost to mine it is outrageous and the natural mica has been reserved for the electonics and electrical industry. Cosmetic grade micas are synthetically produced in a lab, like pigments, and have been since the 1960s. Cosmetic grade micas are the same stuff you see in your lipstick, eye shadow and blush or other mineral makeup.
Well now that you know the depressing truth, your product probably just became about .01% less natural if you are using it as a colorant in soap or lotions. The good side is that very little mica or pigments are needed to colour products. The bad news is that your natural claims may not be 100% accurate, but 99.99% is pretty good!
What about natural colourants? I will get into that in a new post.