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Mineral makeup: hot or not?

April 5, 2010

In the past years, there has been a lot of talk about mineral makeup. Many people have thrown away their liquid foundations in favor of these loose powders. Mineral make-up is generally considered a healthier alternative, consisting only of mineral ingredients. While I do agree that mineral makeup in general is more natural and healthy for the skin, one needs to remember that things are never that simple. There’s a few things to keep in mind when shopping for mineral makeup.

IS IT PURELY MINERAL? So far, Anything containing minerals of any kind can be called mineral makeup. This means that many conventional cosmetic companies, such as L’oreal, Maybelinne and Lumene, have launched their own so-called “mineral make up”, that is only partly based on minerals. This place was the only place where I could find ingredient lists of some of these brands (something else that pisses me off! Why do I have to go to a rivaling company to find the ingredient declaration??), and as you can see, many of these ingredient lists contain a lot of ingredients that are not mineral based. This does not necessarily mean a bad thing, some of these ingredients are for instance aloe vera juice or flower extracts, but it is important to be aware of the fact that just because something is called “mineral”, it doesn’t mean it’s ALL mineral. Technically it could mean that the product has only 1% mineral ingredients…

MINERALS TO BEWARE OF. Many of the mineral make-up devotees worry about the use of talcum powder in mineral make-up products. Talc is a mineral as well, often used as one of the main ingredients in mineral make-up (and those who don’t use it usually advertise it largely on the front). Talc is a cheap ingredient, and is therefore often considered a filling ingredient, but that is not only the case. Talc also enhances the gleaming from other ingredients like mica, giving your face a radiant and soft appearance, and can also soothe irritated skin. The downside, however, is that it might clog up the pores and it doesn’t give an as natural color as mica does. So it’s not a great ingredient, but not nearly as bad as everybody seem to think.

A lot worse, I think, is bismuth oxide, also partly because many don’t know about this ingredient. Many mineral make up brands use this ingredient (it is also often used in traditional make-up, but not in as large amounts), that can be found under “bismuth oxychloride” or under CI 77163. Bismuth is a skin irritant, that has caused many people I know cosmetic acne, rashes and itching. Everybody doesn’t have this reaction, but apparently quite a few. So, look for a product without bismuth.

Having this said, pure mineral make up is definitely the most natural make up. The problem, as I see it, is that many people just buy mineral makeup, thinking they have something purely safe and natural, while it not necessarily is the case. To be entirely sure of what is in a product, I always vouch for making ones own. Making mineral makeup is actually not very difficult either, you just need a few different color shades and some oxides and so on. Since I mostly make my own mineral makeup, I don’t have any brands to recommend, but just take a look at the ingredient list and you should be fine.

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