Mineral makeup seems finally to have come of age. Everywhere we turn, yet another company is touting” their latest breakthrough“. However this “new” makeup discovery has been around for quite a few years. Unlike traditional products, mineral makeup, strictly speaking should contain no perfumes, talc, alcohol, dyes, mineral oil or preservatives. No wonder it receives such a high approval rating from those in skin therapy. However not all mineral makeups are created equal.
Since there are many half truths and partial fact floating around, it is natural that many questions arise in the mind. How do the various brands differ? Is one brand better for you than another and why? Are mineral make-ups different from those powders and foundations that we have used in the past?
Actually, despite different brand names and marketing strategies, most mineral makeups are almost the same. Most of the formulations include ingredients such as micronized titanium dioxide, micronized zinc oxide, iron oxide, silk mica, hydrated silica, and bismuth oxychloride. Sometimes further additions of secondary ingredients are included, such as vitamins, extra skin softeners or stronger pigments to neutralize skin tone.
You may know micronized titanium dioxide, from the sunscreen that you use for this ingredient protects the skin from sunlight because the white mineral’s crystalline structure naturally reflects and defuses the sun’s harmful rays. Micronized zinc oxide is also a protectant from the sun and combines with the micronized titanium dioxide in reflecting the sunlight’s dangerous UVA and UVB rays.
Iron oxide is found in nature. Its natural red, orange and yellow pigment hues blend well into flesh tones for mineral foundations. Silk mica and hydrated silica are added to the formulation to soften and blend the mineral compounds giving a smooth texture and making the formulation suitable for application on the skin.
Chemically resembling arsenic and antimony, Bismuth occurs very rarely in nature and of all the heavy elements, is the only one that is no- toxic. Apart from its binding quality, its molecular make up gives it a shiny white opalescence making it highly refractive and ideal for camouflaging fine wrinkles and uneven skin tone.
Mineral makeup can camouflage a host of skin concerns. Since mineral makeup contains no irritating dyes or perfumes, people prone to allergies or with sensitive skin will find it an ideal makeup for their skin.. The acne-prone will find mineral makeup is organic, hypoallergenic and oil free that does not clog pores like some conventional cosmetics as long as there are no talc, bismuth oxychloride or other harmful fillers in the formulation.
Bismuth Oxychloride containing formulations should be used with caution by those with acne prone or sensitive skins. For the acne prone oily skins, the buffing application technique required to ensure that the formulation stays on the face forces the powder into the pore thereby perhaps clogging it if it is not cleansed thoroughly. As far as sensitive skins are concerned, it has been reported that some have becomes itchy and irritated after application of bismuth oxychloride containing mineral formulations.
Unlike traditional cosmetics, mineral foundations, is able to provide sheer to full coverage. There are a number of ways to apply this make up. A light, sheer finish can be accomplished by moving the applicator brush in small circles on the face. For more opaque texture it can be applied in layers with a damp sponge, resembling liquid foundation application.
Smita M. Patel – Skin Clinic Director