Mineral Makeup: What You Need to Know

By Desirée Phillips-Morisset

We all know that the benefits of wearing mineral make -up supposedly far surpass those of the regular-ole kind.  Made with all-natural minerals from the earth, without chemicals, dyes and preservatives found in traditional makeup, mineral cosmetic brands claim that their products let our skin breathe, offer anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits, prevent breakouts, require less touch-ups and even offer SPF protection. Obtaining these benefits, however, is all contingent on the formulation. But, with many traditional cosmetic companies jumping on the “mineral bandwagon” with cleaver marketing plans, how do you know if a product that says “mineral” really is better for your skin when the term “mineral” isn’t regulated?

The key: be an informed consumer and know what is in your makeup.

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The higher the percentage of minerals, the more likely you are to obtain many of the benefits of mineral makeup.  So, when selecting a product, look for the following ingredients and ensure they are at the top of the ingredients list, rather than at the bottom:

Iron Oxides – derived from rust and used as a colorant in mineral makeup.

Mica – gives a product sliding action and used as a colorant.

Titanium Dioxide – known as a physical sunscreen able to refract UVB rays and scatter light sources.

Zinc Oxide – also known as a physical sunscreen, weakens UVA rays, offers anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties and helps fight free radical damage.

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While it’s important to know what to look for in your mineral makeup, it is equally essential to know what to avoid. Check the packaging to ensure that these ingredients don’t make the list:

Bismuth Oxychloride – a powdery substance that gives mineral makeup its pearl-like glow and helps the product adhere to the skin, but also can cause skin irritation and, in large amounts, can even contribute to cystic acne.

Methylparaben – a common preservative used to combat bacteria and mold, it may cause irritation or allergic reaction and some studies have shown that it can potentially have endocrine-disrupting effects.

Butylparaben – a preservative that extends shelf life, this ingredient is linked to allergies and toxicity.

Octinoxate/Octyl Methoxycinnamate – used as a sunscreen ingredient, yet is associated with allergies, immunotoxicity and cellular level changes.

BHT – used as a preservative, however, it is linked to neurotoxicity, allergies, irritation, toxicity and cellular level changes.

Talc – adds softness and absorbency to cosmetics, however, preliminary studies show possible links to pulmonary issues and even ovarian cancer.

Note: This list is not exhaustive. If you have questions about any ingredient, visit The Environmental Working Group’s comprehensive skin care and cosmetic database at www.cosmeticdatabase.com.

An all-natural skincare cocktail you can brew now!

Desiree Phillips-Morisset is a New York State licensed skin care specialist and make-up artist. She is certified in Esthetics from Christine Valmy International School and a member of the Professional Beauty Association (PBA), National Cosmetology Association (NCA) and Esthetics America / CIDESCO.