What is Mica?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Mica is an example of sheet silicate minerals that can be employed in a number of different applications. As an element in both the creation of windowpanes and glass that is highly resistant to variations in temperature, mica can also be used in a number of electrical gadgets and equipment. Once considered a rare material, it is relatively inexpensive today, owing to the discovery of large mounts of the substance in Africa and South America during the 19th century.

Toothpaste containing mica.
Toothpaste containing mica.

The name for the mineral is understood to be derived from the Latin word micare, referring to its glittering appearance. Mica is among the minerals that tend to retain a sheen and glimmer in direct light. Along with being classified as a silicate, it is also among minerals that exhibit monoclinic properties similar to that of crystals.

Mica is a shiny, flaky mineral.
Mica is a shiny, flaky mineral.

Because mica has been found in a number of different types of rock formations, the price for it is much lower than in times past. The discovery of large deposits in South America and Africa in the 1800s was soon joined by mining operations in a number of other parts of the world as well. Currently, India is understood to possess large amounts of the mineral. China also ranks high as a producer of mica for various purposes, and such countries as South Korea, Canada, and the United States also are sources of a healthy output.

Mica can be used in a number of different ways. The mineral can be pressed into sheets that can be used as a substitute for glass panes. Because of the high tolerance for changing temperatures, it works well for greenhouses as well as for clear or tinted elements in doors and windows. Powdered white mica is utilized in a number of toothpaste formulas, while a means of separating electronic conductors in power cables. With the mineral found in many parts of the world, it is likely to be adapted for use in many other applications in the future.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


@pleonasm - Honestly, whenever I see that a company has put mica into a product for no reason I start distrusting the company a little bit.

I know mica doesn't do you any harm, but if they are willing to throw it in there for the cosmetic value, what else are they willing to put into the product for no good reason?

I'm a fan of stripped down products that only have what they need, rather than having the price jacked up with dyes and glitters and so forth.

If the product is supposed to make me look shiny, then yes, mica is fine and it's a natural ingredient, so even better than fine. But otherwise, I don't see why they need it.


@anon37291 - Mica gets used in all kinds of products these days. I recently realized there is mica in my face washing cream. It doesn't have a practical purpose, it's just there to reflect the light and make the cream look more vibrant and sparkling, which I guess is supposed to make me think it works better.

I've seen it in shampoos and things for the same reason, although there they say that it's supposed to reflect light in your hair and make it shinier, but I don't think it does much in reality.

Pure powdered mica, maybe with some color added, or some kind of base, is often used in products that are supposed to add shimmer to your skin and in that case I'd say it does work.

It's also used as glitter and in paints and in anything where they want it to sparkle or reflect the light more.


It is currently used in cosmetics that come from Israel too.


I found tons of rocks glittered with mica deposits, thought I found tons of gold, went home, smashed the rocks into dust, and panned it. The mica floats on top of the gravel/sand. I am a bit deflated, but more knowledgeable.


Mica is not a rock; it is a mineral. Although it may be found on or within rocks.


How is mica mined?


what is the use of mica for making different types of products?


Is Mica a type of rock ?

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