Mineral Makeup Uncovered

Top Mineral Makeup Brands www.mindfulmomma.com

Seems like nothing is sacred these days.  Not even mineral makeup, the darling of the cosmetics industry and something that us green & healthy folks consider a step above conventional cosmetic products.  But alas, it turns out there’s a thing or two to watch out for when choosing a mineral makeup brand.  I’ve been confused/concerned about this for awhile now and finally took the time to sort out a few things.  Hope this helps you too!!

Here’s what you definitely don’t want in your mineral makeup:

  • Nanoparticles – Minerals ground into teeny-weeny particles so small they can be absorbed into the skin and enter the bloodstream, leading to health problems, including lung cancer.  (Not to be confused with micronized ingredients, which from what I have read, are larger than nanoparticles.  Micronized minerals are found in most mineral makeup products and appear to be safe to use.)
  • Parabens– Pure mineral makeup lines do not contain parabens….but now that the big brands are in on the mineral scene, you never know what they might slip in there.  Like this ‘mineral’ blush from Revlon that contains parabens and nano-sized titanium dioxide and is rated an 8 on the Skin Deep cosmetics database!!
  • Bismuth oxychloride – A byproduct of lead and copper refining that can cause skin irritation in people with sensitive skin.
  • Dimethicone – A silicone-based emollient that does not allow skin to breathe.  Basically it’s like coating your skin in plastic wrap. Yuck!!
  • Talc – Some brands use talc as an an inexpensive filler.  It cheapens the product and is dangerous to inhale.

Confused about which brand to buy?  Believe me, you are not alone!!  Here are a few brands that I’ve either tried myself or that have come highly recommended:

  • Simple Beauty Minerals – Lisa Liguori, owner of this tiny, web-based company does the research so you don’t have to! All of her mineral cosmetics are guaranteed to be free of bismuth oxychloride, parabens, petroleum derivatives, phthalates, synthetic fragrances and nanoparticles. Lisa sent me a few items to try including a foundation, a cheek color and my fav – eye shadow in champagne ice. I am loving this light color with just the right amount of sparkle. I even use it to add shimmer to my cheeks and neckline.
  • uice beauty glowing cheek color via mindfulmomma.comJuice Beauty – As you probably already know, I’m a big fan of Juice Beauty. When I placed an order recently to stock up on a few fav products, I decided to treat myself to their Glowing Cheek Color in Pink. It’s made with a combo of fruit extracts and minerals and I’m impressed by the number of certified organic ingredients on the list. At first I was worried that the pink would be too bright for my fair skin but it goes on very light and gives my skin a healthy, pink glow. Love it!
  • Alima Pure – Although I’ve never tried it, this brand has a strong following. Started by a mother who wanted to protect her daughter from toxic cosmetics, Alima Pure is free from all the bad stuff listed above and I’ve heard it rocks!
  • Everyday Minerals – A lot of people love this line but I haven’t tried it myself.  It is vegan (meaning they don’t use any animal-based pigments, like carmine) and free of dimethicone, bismuth oxychloride, fragrance, silicone, lake dyes and parabens.  Looks like pretty pure stuff and well-priced too.  Check out the try-me-free program where you can get free samples with any purchase!!
  • miessence mineral blush powder via mindfulmomma.comMiessense – Having raved about miessence skin care, I would love to try their mineral makeup. A very pure line that does not contain any of the nasties written about above. In addition they choose not to use titanium dioxide because it is an unstable ingredient that must be coated with additional ingredients to be safe. Prices are a bit higher ($20 for 6gm) but the quality is way high.
  • Jane Iredale – Some of my Facebook readers recommended this line that appears to be sold mainly in salons (or online).  However, many products contain dimethicone and prices are getting up there ($42 for 10g of foundation).
  • Bare Escentuals – One of the pioneers of mineral makeup, Bare Escentuals is now sold just about everywhere.  I used to use their Clear Radiance blush and I thought it was a great product.  So I was bummed to discover that it contains bismuth oxycholoride. I don’t appear to be sensitive to that ingredient but I think I’d rather choose a line without it in the future.

What mineral makeup brands do you use?  What are your most important considerations when purchasing a mineral makeup line?  Product quality, Ingredients, Price??

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Note: I updated a few things on this post on 6-6-13 to reflect some new information and products I’ve tried.

(Disclosure: I received free samples from Simple Beauty Minerals in exchange for my honest opinion. There are a couple of affiliate links in this post. Any purchase you make helps keep this blog in business. Thank you!)

Image credit: Daniel*1977 via flickr

About Micaela

Micaela Preston is a marketing and communications consultant specializing in natural, organic and eco-friendly products and the health and wellness space. Micaela is available as a social media manager, green lifestyle writer, public speaker, brand ambassador and marketing manager.

Comments

  1. I’m not sure if this one has any of these chemicals… I’m new to the whole ‘going green’ thing. I’ve been looking into Alima Pure makeup products. Have you heard anything about them and how would I find how safe their products are?

  2. I switched my foundation over to Bare Escentuals. I’m not sensitive to bismuth oxycholoride either so I’m OK with using it.

  3. Genevieve says:

    I recently switched to Cheek Cosmetics. They are made here in Canada (can be found on Etsy or on their own site). I’ve found my skin is waaaayyy less red then when I was using Bare Escentuals and there prices aren’t that bad either.

  4. Jenni Saake "InfertilityMom" says:

    I used Bare for a while without issue, but gradually developed an intolerance for the Bismuth, so that’s something to be aware of if you start off fine and start getting irritation down the line. I was also glad for the free trial from Everyday because I found it irritated my skin a lot and I was glad I hadn’t invested much in the brand. Still don’t know what it was there that got to me, but I retried it a hand full of times and continued having issues with that line each time I pulled out my samples.

    One item I didn’t see on your “avoid” list was cornstarch or other non-mineral fillers like this as they can harbor bacteria and cause your makeup to “spoil” or expire, unlike brands that are purely mineral based (rocks don’t spoil). Another important tip is to keep your makeup brushes very clean as they also can harbor bacteria. If you have been using any given brand of makeup for a while then suddenly find yourself with outbreaks and/or irritation, cleaning your brush might be all you need to fix that problem.

    You asked what brand I use now. I need to give the disclaimer that I now am a representative for the company as I don’t want this to come across as SPAM. I’ve been blogging about beauty and mineral makeup since before finding Affordable Mineral Makeup™ but when I found something I really loved that met all my criteria, I figured I should take advantage of being able to purchase at a discount and make some money sharing it with others as well. I have written a couple of articles on my blog that may be of interest, including:

    Dr. Oz Warns About Dangers of Mineral Makeup

    Breaking Out from Makeup? Maybe It’s Your Brush

    Healthy Makeup Application

    Thank you for your great article and I look forward to reading more on your blog. 🙂

  5. Tara Burner says:

    You should also watch for corn starch which some companies use like talc (as a filler) which lessens the quality and is nothing more than a cheap filler.

    All the other points are excellent…
    many people think that just because it’s a mineral makeup it’s okay but I know many companies put chemicals, etc. in theirs.

  6. Great Article!! So many people think that just because it says “mineral makeup” it is safe and pure. Sadly, that is not the case. 🙁

    Like Jenni, I use (and love!) Affordable Mineral Makeup™ (I am a rep also). But before Affordable Mineral Makeup™, I used Bare Escentuals and liked it a lot also – the bismuth does not bother me. I love the difference in how my skin felt and looked after I switched from conventional makeup to mineral makeup and would never go back now.

  7. These chemicals are scary! And the fact that they are also found in mineral makeup is scarier! Thank you for sharing this. I’m thinking maybe we should modify the post we did last January to include this information. We wrote a 31 day series on going green and Day 4 was about prettying up in mineral makeup. Too bad that isn’t very safe anymore, and that we should really take time to research the products’ ingredients! Anyway, I’ve used Bare Escentuals and I’ve also tried Maybelline’s mineral foundation but didn’t like it that much. Here’s a place where we can check cosmetics ingredients: http://www.cosmeticdatabase.com. Hope this helps.

  8. Jenni – good point about the brushes. It never occured to me that my brushes might get dirty.

  9. Ashlea – Thanks for the tip on Alima Pure. It looks like a good brand to me! Here’s the link to their website if anyone is interested. http://www.alimapure.com

  10. Jenni Saake "InfertilityMom" says:

    Yes, if you use your brushes daily, it’s a good idea to wash them weekly.

    And some of us (talking about myself) have allergies to animal hair so another issue that can seem to come from makeup irritation can sometimes be allergy to natural hair bristles instead. I have to use synthetic brushes or I hive out no matter how wonderfully pure the quality of the makeup I’m applying may be!

  11. Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green says:

    I love Everyday Minerals. They have one that is light enough for me (Bare Essentials didn’t), great service, mom owned, it’s in Texas so pretty close to me (I’m in Oklahoma), it’s safer than BE and cheaper!

    Can you tell I really love it? lol

  12. WrinkleRepair says:

    Good read. There are a ton of products on the market, and thus a lot of things for consumers to watch out for before just buying the first thing they see on the shelf.

  13. Best natural makeup says:

    Natural beauty is no were now-a-days. Mostly brands contain so many chemicals that affect our skin very hard. I am confused which one is good or bad.

  14. mineral cosmetics says:

    It is very difficult to find a great mineral cosmetic company that is actually providing what they are offering. I have always liked Afterglow Cosmetics – just for this reason – I trust them

  15. When I managed a health food store this stuff sold off the shelves just because it was “natural”. People still need to research what minerals they put on their skin and ingest.

  16. self tanner reviews says:

    Excellent post! I must say that some nano particles do good while some others do bad things to your health. Got to be careful though, although it might come from a good brand, but it doesn’t mean that it is safe. I have seen girls with dark patches around the eyes due to using mascara, and people with dark lips due to absorbtion of mercury in the lipstick. Better be careful then to be sorry…

    I had a good read! Thanks!

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  23. I’ve tried almost every mineral foundation out there and so far the best I’ve come across is from oceanmistcosmetics. Good selection of shades (the only brand, besides LA Minerals, that matches my skin tone), the best finish, the longest lasting, and the most affordable at $12 for 8grams.

  24. I think your site is really informative, thank You! As an Aesthetician/makeup artist,and small business owner, I have been trying for years to find a makeup line that delivered what it said, and now that iam a trained skin care facialist i have set out and come up with a truly VEGAN mineral makeup line! No parabens,dimeticone,talc,carmine,or titanium dioxide. What it does have is the highest grade of the following:Boron Nitride, chamomile,oat powder,allantoin, rice bran an jojoba oils,zinc. Custom color blending available. Please ck out our Facebook pg At ORGANIC SPLENDOR. samples are only $3.00 for foundation or blush. Bronzers and eyeshadows will be available in jan 2011. full size jars are 13.5 grams,and $29.99 for foundation, 5 grams for blush and $14.99. The complete website is under construction and will be linked to the existing organic splendor website. You can email me or call with your skin tone or send a pic. Thank you so much for reading 🙂 Please email or call w/ questions Denise Kemp-Otterson

  25. Really it is absolutely true that Make-up can make you look ten years younger but how old do you feel and look is more important. Yes I love shimmer make up a lot. I liked your post. Really it was fully of my interest. Thank you.
    Treatment for Acne

  26. mineral makeup says:

    I like the Neutral Peach foundation, honey matte and cashmere eye shadows & peach satin blush. They have a great selection of shades!

  27. It is very difficult to find a great mineral cosmetic company that is actually providing what they are offering. I have always liked Afterglow Cosmetics – just for this reason – I trust them

  28. It seems like talc powder is in all of the chemical makeups now.. They have to find a cheaper and cheaper way to to make more product while still charging the same if not more. It;s a horrible way to do business and they wonder why all of their customers are switchng to more organic brands.

  29. newblood says:

    It’s an old post but I’ll add my comment for those ‘googlers’ out there. I have been using bare minerals for a while and started to lose my ‘porcelain’skin glow..In addition I developed dark patches around the eye area and finally I just sneezed and sneezed, and had difficulty breathing BEFORE realising that it might be my so called ‘healthy’ make-up that I was paying more money to be healthier! Before that i just used liquid foundation and mainstream cheap make-up, all kinds. Never had any problems. What are the odds hum? Now I switched to afterglow, I actually order it from England. Learning about those ‘nanoparticles’ now..Hopefully I’m not spending even more money to get slowely poisoned, under the flag of ‘healthier’ and ‘better’..I have serious doubts about my make up, as about my mineralbased sunscreen.

  30. Carole Crisp says:

    This is so frustrating, confusing and time-consuming! I’m in my late 40’s and have had problems with my skin for a couple of years now. I know it’s partially hormones, diet and lack of exercise so I started by “cleaning” house of all the chemicals in my home and personal care products (hair, skin, make-up, etc.). I started using Sheer Cover thinking I was “going natural” until I researched further as my skin got worse in the past year only to find that Bismuth Oxychloride is the likely culprit.

    In the article above, it says Christopher Drummond doesn’t use titanium dioxide but he does. Maybe he reformulated? His ingredients list also include Kaolin Clay, Cornstarch, Dimethicone and others so I’m surprised to see all the green “certifications” on his site.

    I would be happy to go virtually make-upless if my skin looked better but until then I think I’ll try Alima Pure or After Glow. I saw both while researching the subject prior to stumbling on this site and now having seen them mentioned in the posts above is somewhat of a confirmation.

    Thank you for the post ~ great site!

  31. Hi Carol – I agree trying to figure this stuff out can drive you crazy! I had not heard that Christopher Drummond started using titanium dioxide – but this post was written over 2 1/2 years ago – so a lot could have changed since then. Do you ever use the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database? You can check out all the ingredients in products there.
    Best of luck with your quest for a greener, cleaner beauty routine!
    Micaela

  32. Lisa D Liguori says:

    Thanks so very much Micaela for including Simple Beauty Minerals in your updated mineral makeup review! I feel so honored for my woman owned indie company to be included with the big girls in the world of mineral makeup. 😉

  33. I love Simple Beauty Minerals!! Since I have started using the mineral makeup and skin care products I no longer have problems with acne and I feel that my skin glows!!

  34. Hey there! Great post. As an expectant mother with bad acne, I depend on my mineral makeup to be safe to wear to help get me out of the house on days when I am feeling really “un-pretty”. I used Radiance Cosmetic Mineral Makeup and am happy that it has none of the bad stuff! It’s worked awesome for me and is made locally which is another bonus!

    • Micaela says:

      Amy – so glad to hear you’ve found that mineral makeup works for you! Cool that you have a local source too!

  35. Hi Micaela,
    I am really very happy to find such an informative blog for mams!
    I am also using Simple Beauty Minerals, and I am very happy to know that it is one of the best natural mineral cosmetics brands out there 🙂
    I am afraid, most famous brands are very toxic and full of dangerous ingredients, but most women just look for expensive famous brands, ignoring the fact that expensive does NOT mean healthy.

  36. Great post! The word “natural” gets thrown around all too often in regard to beauty. And good points, guys–just because it’s “mineral” doesn’t mean it’s automatically good. I like Epic Mineral Beauty…just hoping they come up with a lip item soon. Anyone familiar? Mica-free and it doesn’t have nanoparticles or coated particles.

  37. Great post. Very informative. And you are right, plenty of companies in every industry throw around the term “all natural” for marketing purposes. For my skincare and make-up routine (sunscreen, foundation, powder, blush), I use Eminence Organics. Have you heard of it or tried it? I’d be curious (and surprised) if their products contained any of the additives listed above.

  38. I just stumbled upon this and wanted to provide a clarification since I have been doing some research on this lately.

    Micronized minerals are not necessarily safe. Some micronized minerals fall in the nanoparticle range but there’s no way to really know unless you ask the company for the “average particle size” of their mineral powders. Some companies use particles in the 10 micron range (e.g. Lily Lolo), while others use particles in the 1-2 micron range (Inika). The chances of nanoparticles in a product increase the smaller the average particle size is (not all particles are the same size so some of them will be nanoparticles, while others will not be, even if the formula is not intended to reach the nano size overall). In addition, inhaling mica also presents a danger to the lungs, regardless of size so this risk is always present with mineral formulas.

    Therefore, clean, organic liquid and cream foundations are better than mineral ones. If you absolutely must use a mineral formula, then the safest bet is to mix it with moisturizer to create a customized foundation and avoid inhaling the minerals. Otherwise, just simply opt for a formula that uses non-micronized, non-nano minerals. Good, non-micronized formulas will be in the 3-10 micron range.

    Solid information on this can be found in EWG and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics:

    http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/titanium-dioxide-2/
    http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/mica/

    • Thanks for the info Jeanine. This blog post is over 5 1/2 years old and a lot of new information has come out since I wrote it. There are also concerns about heavy metals in mineral cosmetics – which can change batch to batch. It’s complicated! But you’re right, EWG and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics are good resources for the latest information – thanks for sharing!

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