The Mysteries of Mineral Makeup Revealed


Although mineral makeup has been around for nearly 40 years, it has boomed in popularity in the past decade. The beauty market is now filled with hundreds of different brands of mineral makeup, all claiming diverse beauty benefits. However, many people still do not know much about this form of makeup.

What is it?

Basically, mineral makeup refers to products that contain finely powdered minerals. Usually, they avoid the use of chemicals, dyes, perfumes, and preservatives that are commonly found in traditional makeup. It can range vastly in price, from under $10 to well over $50 per item.

The benefits

Fans of mineral makeup claim it creates a light, natural, long-lasting look while improving skin health. They say that its purity makes it the best choice for people with sensitive or problem skin. Mineral makeup is usually non-comedogenic, which means that it doesn’t cause clogged pores, the main cause of acne outbreaks.

Many dermatologists have reported that mineral makeup is a better choice for sensitive skin because it avoids common skin irritants like dyes, perfumes, binding agents, and chemical preservatives. Furthermore, some minerals included in this type of makeup, specifically titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, have anti-inflammatory effects on the skin, which is especially beneficial for people with skin problems like acne or rosacea. Also, mineral makeup is purported to be bacteria resistant, which helps avoid skin infection and irritation.

Mineral makeup manufacturers claim that it improves skin appearance because it does not settle into lines and wrinkles while simultaneously using the natural luminosity of minerals to reflect light from the skin, hiding signs of age and causing a natural glow.

Most mineral makeup offers some level of natural sun protection due to the inclusion of ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

The drawbacks

Critics of mineral makeup claim it causes excessive drying and can irritate the skin while actually highlighting wrinkles and other skin problems.

Many dermatologists and chemists think that the popularity of mineral makeup is just a craze created by very effective marketing. They say that in addition to the lack of scientific proof to support claims of purity and other benefits, many of the celebrated ingredients in mineral makeup have been used in traditional makeup for years.

Also, many experts dispute the claim professed by many producers of mineral makeup that it is so pure you can sleep in it. They say it is never recommended to sleep with any kind of makeup on your skin, or anything but proper emollients, to allow your skin to breath and avoid clogged pores.

While the ingredients in mineral makeup can provide some sun protection, it is advised that you always use an additional sunscreen to protect your skin.

Another major problem with mineral makeup is that there is very little regulation in controlling the ability for companies to use the term on their products. Which means that anything containing minerals can be sold as a mineral makeup, even though it may contain unhealthy chemical ingredients. Even some minerals can be problematic as well, like bismuth oxycholoride, which is a pearly mineral used to add a glow to some mineral makeup. However, bismuth oxychloride is a byproduct of lead and copper processing and has been shown to irritate the skin, causing itching, rashes, and acne.

Lastly, some mineral makeup includes the use of nanoparticles, which they claim offer more subtle effects. However, some research shows that the dramatic reduction in size of minerals like zinc and titanium may cause them to become toxic.


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