The truth about mineral makeup

We’ve all heard about mineral products. People are going crazy for them! After trying them, some are enchanted and others disappointed. But there are so many products out there now, it’s difficult to make a choice and find out if all the hype is justified.

The technology has been around since the 70s!.One of my friends was working in a beauty salon as a makeup artist and she was using a brand I’d never heard of before: Youngblood. She told me about the lovely finish these products created. She camouflaged a bride’s tattoos and gave her a really natural look using only the mineral concealer and foundation. I was very impressed! So I decided to try this type of product.

Some time later, I saw an infomercial on TV, for a brand called Sheer Cover and its creator was called Youngblood. I saw the link so I ordered the kit and became from then on, a fan of mineral makeup.

Another brand which popularized this makeup type is Bare Minerals (Bare Escentuals). This was one of the first with a wide distribution and it became a best-seller.

In fact, the reason why mineral makeup made such headway was because of the key words used in its advertising, such as: natural products, made with minerals from the earth, no chemicals or preservatives, perfect for sensitive or problem skins, ultra-natural look…

But… and there is a but…. as with all trends, sometimes the path veers away from the goal somewhat. When a product becomes too popular, many companies used the name “mineral” to excess, for purely marketing reasons, without taking into account the primary qualities of mineral makeup. That’s when I started to get disenchanted about the word mineral (not about the products themselves, but I learned that you shouldn’t buy mineral without asking a few questions.)
One good question is how can some brands cost 100$ and others 10$?

Also, why do opinions differ so widely? Some consumers say that a mineral powder or foundation dried up their skin, caused redness and irritation, that the effect wasn’t natural etc.
So what’s the truth about all this? Here’s what I’ve found out.

Unfortunately there are no standards in the cosmetic industry that stipulate which products have the right to use the appellation “mineral”. Well, there are some but they’re so general that practically any product could call itself mineral. And again, it depends on the country where it’s marketed.
Here, the product must contain a mineral and no talc. Easy! Lots of products can contain minerals, even if they’re not mineral products. For decades now, companies have been using mica to get a luminous finish on their powder. Mica is a mineral.

One of my friends used to work for a company that marketed a loose powder eye shadow that wasn’t described as mineral. But after some research (the company suddenly realised that they were missing the mineral boat), they came to the conclusion that their products could be called mineral because they contained certain ingredients and no talc. A few months later, the product packaging bore the name mineral yet the formula hadn’t changed at all. This was the case for other brands too.

Even if a product is called mineral, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s 100% mineral, nor does it mean that it’s good for your skin. So let’s see what is so good about mineral products?

Often, a bad skin reaction is caused by chemicals, perfume, preservatives etc. So, a mineral product, which normally shouldn’t contain any of these, should not cause reactions. Furthermore, the more minerals a product contains, the less bacteria like to live in it! So, fewer bacteria mean fewer reactions for problem skin. Titan dioxide and zinc oxide, ingredients frequently found in mineral makeup, have anti-inflammatory properties. Also, minerals are non-comedogenic, so if they don’t block pores, unpleasant breakouts can be avoided.

But what if the product you’ve just bought does contain chemicals? If the product contains a small quantity of minerals and no talc, will you get the same results as with a 100% mineral product? No, of course you won’t.

However, unfortunately, products which contain 2-3 minerals (often mica, titan dioxide and zinc oxide) but also quantities of chemicals have every right to call themselves “mineral”! So if you’ve only tried this kind, you probably didn’t like the results.

Not all minerals are natural. Some products known as minerals don’t come from the earth! This is the case for Bismuth oxychloride, a manufactured product used to give a luminous effect but which in fact is an irritant (it’s recognized as such). So if you have sensitive skin, you can bet your life you’ll get red, rough and itchy skin. Some people have even had pimples caused by this ingredient.

So it’s important to make the right choice if you want to take advantage of mineral makeup’s qualities. Read the list of ingredients. Be wary and watch out for deceptive marketing strategy. Don’t trust claims like “natural product” or “pure mineral foundation”.

Watch out too for products other than powders. It’s impossible to create a lipstick or liquid foundation with only minerals. I don’t say they’re dangerous. I just say that they don’t have any extra advantages over a similar product that doesn’t claim to be mineral.

On the other hand, there are still brands which produce pure mineral products which don’t contain any chemicals. I think it’s a pity that there are no rules which enable these brands to compete with the cosmetic giants who want to take advantage of the mineral boom but wish to keep costs to a minimum.

Well don’t hold your breath: it doesn’t look as though regulations will be here any time soon. So be vigilant when choosing your mineral products. It’s worth it, you’ll see!

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