Why You Should Use Mineral Makeup

When it comes to choosing make-up, let’s face it, there are so many brands out there and each offers a dizzying array of products, it’s hard to know what to choose that will help you put your best face forward without compromising your skin’s health or your health in general. If you’re like most women, you’ve probably spent a lot of time and money over the years trying out different brands and colors to arrive at a combination of products that work for your every day purposes as well as a few choice items for those special occasions too. With so many options to choose from but no clear sense of how one product or brand compares with another, you may have simply opted for the higher priced premium brands believing they offer the best possible quality. Or maybe you chose a particular brand because it was all the rage according to the fashion magazines, and it seemed like that’s what everyone was using!     Whether it’s products from Estee Lauder, Clinique, Lancome, Revlon, or MAC, if you’re an eco-conscious consumer then you know that a lot of these established and popular name brands make products that contain a lot of dyes and synthetic ingredients that have never been tested for safety. And you may even have noticed that even when you’ve paid a lot of money for a premium brand that sometimes, it still doesn’t feel so great on your skin. If you’ve ever applied a cream or liquid foundation only to find that after a few hours it cakes on, makes your pores look larger, or wears off and needs to be re-applied you are not alone. All that frustration doesn’t even take into account how messy it often is to work with some of these products.

Take heart, with the advent of mineral makeup there are finally some better, healthier options. This new breed of makeup, which has been rapidly growing in the natural products marketplace for some time now, is proving to be far superior to mass-market products in more ways than one.

What is Mineral Makeup Anyway?

True mineral makeup is made from all natural minerals found in the earth that are finely ground into powders that you brush on, or are combined with other natural ingredients to make eye pencils, lipsticks, and cream or liquid blushes as well some forms of liquid or cream-based foundations. But by and large, most mineral makeup comes in the form of loose or pressed powders.

The main ingredients in these formulas are typically mica, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and pigments derived from iron oxides –all of which can be naturally produced. Mica is a mineral found in many rocks around the world. It is typically recovered from mining scrap, then ground up to create a fine powder that is later added to makeup. Zinc oxide is present as zincite in the earth’s crust. Metallic zinc is melted, vaporized, then cooled and made into a useable form. The process to produce titanium dioxide is considerably more difficult, as it must be purified using other minerals or chemical reactions.

With regular makeup, the main ingredients are typically derived using extensive chemical conversion processes often handled within the factories themselves. As a class of cosmetics, most mineral makeup is safer not just because it comes from naturally occurring materials, but also because most mineral formulas leave out the irritating synthetic dyes, preservatives, and fragrances found in traditional cosmetics. That alone can make a big difference in how makeup behaves and feels, especially if you have sensitive skin.

One of the best-kept secrets about mineral makeup is (in addition to being a lot more skin-friendly) it also makes you look better than most traditional cosmetics! The mica helps reflect light, which can minimize fine lines and dark circles under the eye, even out your skin tone, and effectively camouflage blemishes and hyper-pigmentation. The minerals actually combine with your skin’s own natural oils to help minimize flaws, giving your skin an almost “dewy” look (assuming you’ve selected the right colors for your skin tone).

Because most mineral powders sit on the surface of your skin rather than being absorbed, they won’t clog pores or leave skin feeling greasy or oily. They also manage to stay on far longer than most traditional makeup. Some of the other inherent benefits that come from using mineral makeup are sun protection from the titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (the most effective natural sun blocks available), and in some cases, soothing anti-inflammatory effects, which can reduce puffiness.

Selecting A Choice That’s Right For You

Just like you did with your regular make-up, finding a mineral makeup that you like takes some experimentation and a little trial and error. It’s best to stick with a company that specializes in making strictly mineral makeup products rather than a company that offers some mineral makeup options as part of their larger line or as a brand extension. There are no standards for this type of cosmetic nor is the term “mineral makeup” regulated, so to certain extent you need to be wary of unfounded claims.

Also, understanding the particle size involved is important too. Many companies pulverize the minerals down to microfine, nanoparticle size, which can pose a danger to your health when inhaled. There are many health concerns associated with this relatively new manufacturing technique. Until more is understood about its impacts on the body, it’s best to avoid makeup and other products made with nanoparticles. Companies like Jane Iredale, that specialize in mineral makeup are likely to have the most eco-friendly and skin-friendly products, and can offer the best advice on selecting the right colors for your skin tone.

Application Tips to Maximize Your Investment

  • It starts with the right tools and equipment. The right brushes and sponges can make all the difference in the world. And this is especially true for mineral makeup because so much of it is in loose, or loosely pressed powder form. Ask a sales representative what brushes they recommend for use with each product as they do vary.    Start with clean, hydrated skin and good lighting so you can really see what you’re doing.
  • After you’ve put on your makeup, apply a quick spritz of mineral water or hydrosol to help it set. This gives you the topical moisture you need to carry that amazing look all the way through the day.
  •  To properly remove your makeup, apply a thin layer of a natural oil like jojoba, coconut, hemp, olive, or sesame directly onto your face and gently remove with a tissue or cotton pad. Repeat until all or most of the makeup has been removed, then lightly cleanse your face to remove any lingering residue.
  • True mineral makeup lasts so long, you can sometimes forget you’ve got it on. No need to worry if you forget to remove it. Since it doesn’t clog your pores, sleeping with it on will not aggravate your skin.

As with any new product, it’s always best to do a skin patch test before buying, to rule out any possible allergies you may not have been aware of.


Donya Fahmy Contributor
Owner , Formulator Dropwise Essentials
Donya Fahmy is the owner, founder and formulator of Dropwise Essentials, a San Francisco-based company.
Donya Fahmy Contributor
Owner , Formulator Dropwise Essentials
Donya Fahmy is the owner, founder and formulator of Dropwise Essentials, a San Francisco-based company.
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