Mineral Makeup

Woman blowing on makeup brush


Spring and summer seem to bring out our natural instincts: We spring clean our homes, clearing out unnecessary items and making way for fresh, new things. Likewise, this is a good time to spring clean your cosmetics case, tossing out heavy, oily makeup to make way for lighter, brighter and healthier products.

    Mineral makeup is one type of product that fits that bill. “Mineral makeup is embraced by dermatologists, plastic surgeons and skin care professionals because it nourishes the skin, instead of coating it with chemicals that just clog the pores,” says Jaclyn Retherford, a licensed aesthetician for The Makeup Bar and Eclipse Salon.

    There are a variety of mineral makeup lines available at drugstores or through salons, dermatology or plastic surgery practices. In general, they all contain some level of sun protection, which is key to preventing skin cancer, wrinkles and pigmentation due to ultraviolet damage. “These products protect the skin from the effects of sun and environmental pollutants,” Retherford says. “They combat free radicals, which damage the cells, because they contain sun protection, minerals and antioxidants.”

    Because high-quality mineral makeup products contain only natural ingredients without dyes, perfumes, oils or chemical preservatives, they are hypoallergenic and safe for sensitive skin, notes Allie Israelson, a licensed aesthetician with Avani Day Spa. “The minerals can’t harbor bacteria, so this makeup doesn’t cause break-outs,” she adds.

    The minerals touted in the products’ name may include very finely ground mica, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Zinc and titanium have anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial for rosacea or acne. Many of the foundations and blushes are formulated as loose minerals that are applied with natural-bristle brushes.

    However, the amount of minerals in the makeup varies among manufacturers, and some brands contain only traces of the minerals they promote on their labels. Another ingredient sometimes found in mineral makeup is bismuth oxychloride, a mineral that results from lead and copper processing. Bismuth may cause irritation in people with sensitive skin. Information about the potential toxicity of ingredients in some cosmetics is available through the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, ewg.org/skindeep.

    Israelson recommends using light downward strokes on clean, moisturized skin for even application. And don’t overdo. “Less is more,” she says. “Some people think they need a heavy coating of makeup to get good coverage, but that’s not the case with these products.” For this reason, some physician offices and day spas offer mineral makeup application following procedures that may leave skin red or mildly bruised.

    One of the more popular items at this time of year is the mineral bronzer that creates a sun-kissed look without the sun. A light dusting can make you look like you’ve spent a week on the beach without harming your skin or health.  LN