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Get the Lowdown on Mineral Make-up

Skin Conditions, Women's Health | March 29, 2017 | Author: Naturopath

Skin conditions, acne, eczema

Get the Lowdown on Mineral Make-up

More people are now aware of synthetic chemicals and irritants in cosmetics and are now seeking out natural alternatives. Mineral make-up is one such alternative, a popular trend driven by a desire for cleaner products. Want to know what the fuss is all about? We’ll take you through the benefits of using these products and what to look out for when making a selection.

What is mineral make-up?

Minerals are naturally occurring substances, generally mined from the earth’s crust. The main minerals used in products include titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, iron oxide and mica. These are pulverised into fine micro-particles and added to preparations from foundations to nail polish. Additional products can sometimes be added to the formula and these typically include jojoba to nourish the skin, kaolin, a clay to control oil and shine and a range of other antioxidants and botanicals.

A booming industry

Mineral make-up generally contains less chemical-based ingredients including parabens, fragrances, binders, petrochemicals and synthetic dyes. As there has become a growing concern about allergies and the effect of these ingredients on our body people are now opting for more natural alternatives. Mineral make-up has been around for many years with many small companies offering an array of products, but with the surge in popularity many new players have entered the market, including major cosmetic brands. Interestingly, a whopping one third of Elizabeth Arden’s foundation sales are now from their mineral make-up range, launched in 2009.

What are the benefits using mineral make-up?

The major benefit of mineral make-up is that it doesn’t clog the pores, allowing the skin to breathe naturally.

While this is appealing even to the average consumer, people who suffer acne, eczema, rosacea and other skin sensitives may experience less flare-ups.

Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide also have anti-inflammatory properties, with zinc oxide being well known to be helpful in sensitive and irritated skin. Both these minerals also act as a natural sunscreen, offering a degree of sun protection, usually SPF 15.

They reflect a small amount of sun but they mainly provide sun protection by absorbing the suns UV rays. They are great alternatives for people who want to avoid the myriad of chemicals in traditional sunscreens and have reactions to these ingredients. Traditional sunscreens can also block pores, known to aggravate certain skin conditions including acne.

What products are available?

Powder mineral foundation: This is the most popular choice for many consumers. Using a good quality brush you can apply the product for sheer or medium coverage. It naturally adapts to your skin tone to even out complexion, cover redness and pigmentation and conceal enlarged pores. This formula is ideal for oily or acne prone skin.

Pressed mineral cover: Achieves similar results to the loose powder but the product is applied with a sponge. It can create a medium to full coverage with a semi-matte finish.

Liquid foundation: This is a great alternative for people who find the mineral powders too drying. They provide a radiant, dewy finish.

Eyeshadows: A great alternative to typical formulations that contain a high number of artificial colourants and other nasties.

BB mineral creams: Provide everyday sheer coverage, built into a day moisturiser. Some products provide SPF protection. They usually contain more ingredients than make-up, so look for a formula that still is all naturally derived.

Mineral concealers: Used to hide dark circles, pigmentation and blemishes. Having minerals in the formula makes it less likely to clog pores compared to traditional products.

Blush/bronzer: Create highlights on the skin by defining cheekbones and give the skin a natural glow.

Mineral face primer: Making sure the skin is ready for the application of make-up is an important step. A primer made from minerals and other natural ingredients allows for even coverage for a long-lasting look.

Mineral finishing veil: Finish off your look with a translucent mineral powder to help reduce shine, creating a satin finish.

Tips for buying

It’s important to do your research before buying mineral make-up. 

Many companies can still label their product containing minerals and as “natural” when they only contain a very small amount of minerals and have other “nasties” in them.

Here’s what you should be looking for when selecting a product.

  • Ask for samples, or try a tester in the store to check for coverage, quality and the right colour match.
  • Look for a product with as few ingredients as possible by checking the ingredients list. It should contain titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, iron oxide and mica as the main ingredients.
  • Product should not contain parabens, talc, fragrances, dyes, binders or synthetic dyes.
  • Avoid the ingredient bismuth oxychloride. It’s a completely synthetic ingredient, a by-product of copper, tin and lead refining. It’s a common allergenic ingredient, even found in poorer quality mineral make-up.
  • If you’re unsure of the safety of an ingredient you can look it up in the Cosmetic Safety Database website

Even though they are far less likely to, even natural products can cause adverse reactions on the skin in a very sensitive person. As such, a patch test is recommended by applying a small amount of product on the skin and waiting 24 hours to see if there is any reaction. No reaction…..then your good to go! Give your chemical laden products the flick and reap the benefits of natural mineral make-up.  Australia’s best online discount chemist


Cole C, et al. Metal oxide sunscreens protect skin by absorption, not by reflection or scattering. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2016 Jan;32(1):5-10

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