Way back in the day, in the mid-seventies, it’s rumored that mineral makeup was born. It didn’t take off at the time because it was expensive to make and expensive to purchase. Recently, several cosmetic companies have formulated and marketed their own brands of mineral makeup to the enthusiastic joy of women everywhere. Mineral makeup is touted to be much better for skin, and that seems to be a major draw. So what is it about mineral makeup that makes it better? Is it really better?
Mineral makeup is made of all natural minerals from the earth. These are finely ground and made without chemicals, dyes or preservatives. Conventional makeup can have all of these agents in them. Mineral makeup brushes onto the skin, and has a feel that is light and airy compared to liquids and creams.
Mineral makeup claims to be much less irritating to the skin – less aggravating to conditions such as acne and rosacea, and skin that is simply sensitive. Some experts claim that mineral makeup is no better or worse for your skin than conventional makeup, but are only the products of excellent marketing plans. Others say that the relatively small list of ingredients in mineral makeup naturally makes them better for the skin and less prone to irritate. This isn’t to say that mineral makeup never irritates – some women have reported dryness and irritation when using this type of makeup.
The main ingredients in truly natural mineral makeup are mica, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and sometimes clay and pigments. Some formulas may contain bismuth oxycholoride. Bismuth oxycholoride is a byproduct of lead and copper processing and does have the potential for irritating skin. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide both have anti-inflammatory properties, which is beneficial to acne or rosacea-prone skin. They also are ingredients commonly used in sunscreens and lend their protective properties to the makeup. Mineral makeup is also non-comedogenic, meaning that it will not clog pores.
One possible thing to look out for is mineral makeup that says it has “micronized” particles. This means that the mineral ingredients have been ground so finely that they have reached a size that is tiny enough to be unhealthy for your skin and your entire body, as it can be absorbed or even inhaled. In this case, tinier is not better.
Mineral makeup comes in foundations, blushers, bronzers, eye shadows and more. They are no doubt as good for your skin as any cream or liquid foundation, and might in some ways be better. They key is to look for mineral makeup that is truly natural (check the ingredients). With no fragrances, preservatives, petroleum or other unnatural products added, mineral makeup has the potential for being a healthier makeup choice.