Mineral Makeup – Answers to Skin Problems

Mineral makeup is the newest craze in natural cosmetics, but has been around as long as makeup has been used.

Benefits of Mineral Make Up

It provides excellent coverage, is hypoallergenic and non-aggravating to acne, naturally anti-inflammatory, oil-free and provides effective UVA/UVB uv protection.

What ingredients make mineral cosmetics so great?

Mineral make up products have a translucent base of serecite, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, micas, and/or bismuth oxychloride. Serecite is just a translucent mineral. The titanium dioxide and zinc oxide provide a physical sun block. Zinc oxide is also naturally anti-inflammatory.

Micas give the powder its silky smooth texture.

Bismuth oxychloride adds a pearlescent shine or brightness, though for some skin textures the added shine may accentuate pores or actually aggravate acne or rosacea.

Colors are added using iron oxides, carmines, ultramarines or manganese.

Foundations, concealers, powders or liquid?

Most commercially available mineral makeup are loose powders, though some pressed powders and liquid mineral makeup do exist.

Liquid mineral makeup may additionally contain water, glycerine, and other ingredients, though usually the titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, and pigments are still mineral based.

Since mineral makeup tends to be highly pigmented, simply applying more to a dark spot or acne scar provides excellent coverage.

Watch out for “mineral makeup” that isn’t natural!

Because of the craze for mineral makeup, some big name companies, including Neutrogena, have come out with their own lines of mineral makeup.

What’s wrong with that?

Nothing much. Their “mineral” products are better than the usual, but take a look at the ingredients:

Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Mineral Powder Foundation: Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, Pantothenic Acid, Soybean Flour (Glycine Soja), Silk Powder, Zinc Stearate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, May Also Contain: Ultramarines, Carmine, Manganese Violet

Parabens imitate estrogens in your body and are classified toxic.

Polymethyl methacrylate is a cancer hazard and immunotoxicant.

Zinc stearate is classified toxic and immunotoxicant.

Because mineral cosmetics are inorganic, they generally don’t support bacterial growth and so have a fairly long shelf-life. Parabens just aren’t necessary as a preservative.

But, compared to regular powder makeup, even these “mineral” versions win out

Check out the ingredients in a standard Neutrogena powder makeup.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Pressed Powder Mirrored Compact: Talc, Dimethicone, Zinc Stearate, Lauroyl Lysine, Nylon 12, Panthenol, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (may contain), Iron Oxides, Mica

The mineral version wins hands down.

What’s the big difference?

Talc. Talc is similar to asbestos in structure, and has been linked to respiratory diseases, is a known cancer hazard, toxic and may be contaminated. In addition, there’s some evidence that it can permanently stretch pore walls! If you’re using makeup to decrease the appearance of large pores, talc will just worsen the problem in the long run. And remember, the first ingredient on the list is always the most abundant, so this product is primarily talc. Yuck!

Natural Mascara

Natural mascaras are a difficult product to make.

We are very demanding of our mascara.

It must lengthen, thicken, protect and condition our lashes. It must never smudge, smear, melt or run. It must give us instant sultry bedroom eyes, or bright, wide-awake eyes.

Skin around our eyes is very sensitive. It’s thin and has no oil-producing glands to protect it. Even more, our eyes, our all-important sensory organ are a brush stab away.

My eyes are super-sensitive

I’m a contact lens wearer and allergic to most multipurpose solutions. (I use the hydrogen peroxide-based kind.)

A few years back, I stopped wearing eye makeup altogether because made unsightly little red bumps on my skin at the outer corners of my eyes. Even Aveda eyeliner and Jane Iredale mascara did this, and these were brand new products, so the culprit wasn’t bacterial growth. (Eye makeup is particularly susceptible to bacterial growth–never share your mascara and always replace the product every 3 months.)

Mascaras contain some super-nasty ingredients

I’ve since realized – by simply investigating ingredients labels – mascaras made by the major natural mineral makeup companies use many of the same harmful ingredients as the traditional makeup companies.

See for yourself!

Jane Iredale’s Purelash Mascara: aqua, copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax, cyclomethicone, glycerin, PVP, glyceryl stearate, hydrolyzed wheat protein, stearic acid, panthenol, vanilla tahitensis fruit extract, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) seed extract, hydroxyethylcellulose, tromethamine, bisabolol, phospholipids. [+/-(May Contain) Iron oxides (CI 77489, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)]

Jane Iredale’e Purelash lengthening mascara: purified water, beeswax, copernicia cerifera wax, cyclomethicone, propylene glycol, PVP, glyceryl stearate, hydrolyzed wheat protein, stearic acid, cellulose, carbozymethyl cellulose, trisodium EDTA, phonoxyethanol, titanium dioxide.

Colorescience’s Pitch Black Mascara: DI water, beeswax, carnauba wax, glyceryl stearate, propylene glycol, cyclomethicone, PVP, hydrolyzed wheat protein, stearic acid, cellulose gum, oleic acid, triethanolamine, dimethicone, EDTA, vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate), methylparaben, and propylparaben. May contain: iron oxides and iron oxide black

[Please, someone with a Bare Escentuals mascara, e-mail me the ingredient list!]

I was outraged.

How misleading.

And yet, these companies never made any claims about their mascara being natural. The fault was mine for not looking harder.

Are there natural mascaras without these chemicals?

I looked harder, and I found several mascaras that do without:

  • Gabriel Mascara: Deionized water, carnuba wax, stearic acid, panthenol, tocopherol acetate, iron oxides, ultramarines, cellulose gum, grapeseed extract.
  • Dr. Hauschka Intermezzo Mascara: Water (aqua), alcohol, sorbitol, castor (Ricinus communis) oil, cetearyl alcohol, black tea (Camellia sinensis) extract, neem (Melia azadirachta) leaf extract, hectorite, eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) extract, jojoba (Buxus chinensis) wax, beeswax (Cera flava), rose (Rosa gallica) wax, rose (Rosa damascena) essential oil, citronellol, geraniol, linalool, xanthan gum, lecithin, iron xxides, titanium dioxide (CI 77891), ultramarines (CI 77007), carmine (CI 75470).
  • Zuzu Luxe Mascara: Deionized Water, carnuba wax, stearic acid, panthenol, tocopherol acetate, iron oxides, ultramarines, cellulose gum, grapeseed extract.

And one that minimizes, but doesn’t eliminate synthetic preservatives:

Ecco Bella Botanicals Brown Mascara: Purified water, camauba wax, palmitric acid (from palm oil), clay, methylparaben, propylparaben, iron oxide.

Red Apple Mascara is another one that is very lovely and might be the most organic one you can find at the moment.

You can buy it from their official website here!

Warnings for natural, or any other, mascara:

Replace mascara frequently (every 2-3 months). They are subject to bacterial growth which can cause infection and blindness in your eyes! Yes, natural mascara is expensive, but this is your eyes we’re talking about here! They’re worth it.

Natural mascara is not water- and smudge-proof, because it’s not plastic. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be natural substances that are both waterproof and smudge proof.

Natural mascaras are usually based in waxes and oils, both of which soften at warm temperatures – like body temperature. Be aware, and prepared to touch up. Ecco Bella, though not all natural, comes in a tube with a convenient mirror for touchups anytime.

Tips for using natural mascara:

Let the mascara dry: Don’t touch it, and try to blink only lightly, otherwise the mascara may smudge. You can even use a hair dryer to speed the process.

To increase the staying power of my natural mascara, I like dust my mascara-ed lashes with a bit of translucent face powder. It helps the mascara to dry faster – key for not smudging right away. I also use extra translucent face powder under my eyes, which helps to brighten my eyes, and makes cleanup of smudges easier on my eye skin.

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