This is written as a display, but can easily be adapted to a hands-on activity. Learners observe and shake containers of shiny liquids. Inside the containers are mixtures of water and some small crystals, which are called pearlescent pigments. These pigments are used in the coloring of makeup, soaps, paints, inks, and plastics. Pearlescence ("pearl-like") comes from the simultaneous reflection, bending, and transmission of light. White light shining on the surface of the substance breaks into its component colors, like light through a prism, creating a variety of colors.