Sep 21, 2009

Beauty: A Guide to Mineral Makeup

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Beauty: A Guide to Mineral Makeup
by Aisling Douglas

Although mineral makeup has really boomed in the past 5 years or so, it really isn’t a new concept. In fact, it’s said to be over 30 years old! With just about every brand name offering a mineral line, one must ask what is the fuss all about? One thing is for sure, after researching this topic – not all mineral makeup is created equal.

Mineral makeup is supposed to be all natural minerals derived from our lovely planet earth. It is not supposed to contain any additives, chemicals or dyes that are added to iher types of makeup. In essence, it should be an acne sufferer, sensitive skinned, eczema sufferers dream product! What we find today, though, is that with mineral makeup being such a gold mine, big companies are taking advantage of the consumers blind trust in this type of makeup. Currently there are no laws governing the amount of minerals in makeup to have it be classified as mineral makeup. What that translates to is a lot of fillers hidden in the mineral makeup, unbeknownst to the consumer.

Main Ingredients:

  • Mica, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide: you will find these in basically all mineral makeup. They should be a major ingredient, so look for it at the beginning of the list of ingredients. Unfortunately many drug store brand companies list these as ‘may be included’ instead of staple ingredients.
  • Iron Oxides: This is essentially what colours the minerals. It has been in use in cosmetics since at least the early 1900’s.
  • Bismuth oxychloride: This ingredient is in many different products on the market today, mineral or not. In Mineral makeup, it is in higher concentration. It does occur naturally but in such small amounts that monst of the bismuth oxychloride sold in the stores today is synthetic. If you do end up having a reaction to mineral makeup, it’s usually this ingredient. It has been known to irritate the skin on some people. If you have very sensitive skin, try to find a mineral makeup with this as a minor ingredient.

Other Good Ingredients:
  • Kaolin clay, boron nitride, vitamins A, C and E

Ingredients to Avoid:
  • Parabens, preservatives, petroleum products, ferric ferrocyanide and talc: These ingredients, especially talc (which is essentially baby powder), are useless fillers and chemicals that are absolutely unnecessary ingredients. If you don’t mind having these ingredients, then buy regular loose powders – if you are paying for the hefty price tag of mineral makeup, you should get real minerals!
  • Cornstartch (Zea Mays), Avena Sativa (oat) kernel flour: Useless fillers that will most likely clog your pores.

After doing a quick sweep of the local drug store and some online ingredient searching, here is my recommended products for :
  • Bare Escentuals & Annabelle: Most pure ingredients. No fillers.  

Other brands:
  • L’Oreal Bare Naturals: While it does contain some extra ingredients, they are almost all beneficial to the skin.
  • Physician’s Formula talc-Free Mineral Wear: It may be talc free, but it does have two different parabens.
  • Rimmel Mineral Foundation: Free from talc and bismuth oxychloride
  • Maybelline: A lot of extra ingredients but the majority do seem to be safe.

  • Products to avoid:

  • Covergirl: By far, the worst list of ingredients. Stay far, far away.
  • Revlon: Not too far off Covergirl’s shocking ingredients list.
  • MAC: Too many additives. Reviews say it covers well, but again if you are looking for ‘pure’, this is not the way to go.

If you are unsure or want to do some research yourself, a good place to look is They review the ingredients and brands and rate their safety. 


EveryDayMinerals is the best Ive tried, there are a lot of pure mineral makeup online, just search.

SMMCosmetics is the best make-up I've ever used, plus it is mineral make-up. :)

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