Mineral makeup is a trend sweeping the beauty industry in natural food stores and drugstores alike. These formulations are marketed as being more “natural” and skin-friendly, but do they live up to the hype?
Inside the package
The mineral makeup trend has its roots in the natural, eco-conscious movement. Brands still capitalize on this association, with claims of “pure,” “gentle,” and “healthy,” but not all mineral products are created equal.
If you read the ingredients label of any mineral makeup package, you’d probably find mica, titanium oxide, or iron oxide – minerals that are non-comedogenic and have anti-inflammatory properties (although the same may not always be true of the final formulation). As long as minerals like these are the primary ingredients, the product can be marketed as “mineral” makeup.
This leaves some grey area, though. Because there is no other regulation about what ingredients constitute a mineral product. “Preservative-free” may not mean “all-natural.”
One main distinction between different brands is the addition of synthetic chemicals and preservatives. Some brands, like beauty-insider favorite Everyday Minerals, stress that they don’t contain these less-than-natural additives.
But even among all-natural brands, there’s yet another distinction. Brands that are “preservative- and fragrance-free,” like L’Oreal’s Bare Naturale drugstore line, may contain fillers and other additives that alter the character of the makeup. While technically considered “natural,” additives like talc and bismouth oxychloride are considered skin irritants and can cause harmful side effects like acne and itching, especially in those with sensitive skin.
Another common skin-friendly claim about mineral makeup is its UV protection. Although some product lines have SPF 15 ratings, dermatologists still suggest using sunscreen for extra protection.
So what do the experts recommend? Even dermatologists aren’t in agreement on the issue. While some recommend mineral makeup for its “anti-inflammatory” properties and gentleness on sensitive skin, others don’t believe the hype.
If you want to try mineral makeup and test these claims for yourself, be sure to read the labels critically. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to acne or rosacea, look for products without many additives.
Even if mineral makeup can’t give you perfect skin, it may make it look that way. Mineral makeup is known for giving a light glow due to the fine, reflective particles. Although it may not provide the same coverage as traditional powder foundation, mineral foundation provides natural-looking coverage instead of the dreaded “cakey” look.
Mineral makeup has developed quite a following among beauty aficionados for its cosmetic benefits and skin-friendly properties. Here are some of the most popular and highly rated lines among those in the know.
Bare Minerals: One of the most prominent lines in the business, Bare Minerals offers an entire line of mineral makeup products. Try their starter kits for an easy introduction to mineral makeup. Find their products online at bareminerals.com and in beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta.
Everyday Minerals: As a niche brand, this company makes a point to be eco- and customer-friendly. Their foundation comes in a wide range of shades and levels of coverage —especially good for Asian complexions. The brand also offers a wide variety of makeup products and tools, but is available online only at everydayminerals.com.
Jane Iredale: As one of the original mineral makeup brands, it offers a complete line of high-quality mineral products. The quality comes at a cost, though, as these products are priced on the steeper side. Visit janeiredale.com for more info.
Last modified: August 31, 2009