First of all - what is mineral makeup? Mineral makeup is made from naturally-occuring crushed minerals, usually zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, iron oxides and mica. These loose minerals are combined together in different quantities to make a variety of mineral makeup powder formulations such as foundations, finishing powders, concealers, blushers, bronzers and eye shadows. The minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in particular, act as a natural sunblock, effectively filtering UVA and UVB rays to deliver sun protection of up to SPF 20.
Mineral makeup is free of irritants like perfumes, preservatives (such as parabens), alcohols and dyes. Many traditional makeup brands use synthetic FD&C dyes in their products - however, these dyes have been identified as the one of the leading causes of allergic reactions in makeup. Most mineral makeup lines do not use synthetic dyes, instead, the colors are derived from naturally-occuring iron oxide pigments. All this makes mineral makeup very suitable for people with sensitive skin. In fact, mineral makeup has even been used after surgical procedures like laser peels, when skin is at its most sensitive.
However, not all mineral makeup lines are completely free of chemical irritants. Some brands use bismuth oxychloride, which can be very irritating on the skin. Bismuth oxychloride is a mineral that is used in some mineral makeup lines because it imparts a shimmery look, and is a cheap filler. Bismuth oxychloride is also heavy, hence the need to ‘buff’ or force it into your skin. Mineral makeup lines that do not use bismuth oxychloride tend to be lighter in texture and easier to apply.
Mineral makeup can also be good for acne sufferers. By its very nature, mineral cosmetics are non-comedogenic, oil-free, anti-inflammatory and cannot harbor bacteria, which means that acne blemishes can be covered or concealed without further aggravating them. Mineral makeup will not necessarily cure acne, but skin has a much better chance of healing while wearing it, compared to traditional makeup. Many have also reported that they have fallen asleep wearing their mineral makeup without suffering any breakouts the following day. In fact, some mineral makeup lines even have mineral night-time treatments, which are specially-formulated mineral powders that you can wear every night to improve your skin. A good excuse to wear makeup to bed?
Crucially, mineral makeup avoids the use of talc, a known carcinogen found in a lot of traditional makeup. There are also no petrochemicals or coal-derived ingredients, common in a lot of traditional makeup. As you can see, the ingredient listing in say, a mineral foundation is much shorter compared to a traditional liquid foundation.
The positive claims of mineral makeup cannot be applied to all mineral makeup brands or all people. It depends on the ingredients in the makeup and also your own skin. Some will have different reactions compared to others. It is always good to research first before you buy.
Erin Kelley writes for Aeteenshop.com , a beauty and health E-Zine. She recommends Earthnicity Minerals mineral cosmetics, which is free of parabens, preservatives, fragrances, alcohol, mineral oil and bismuth oxychloride.