Mineral Mine- Mineral Makeup Demystified

Over the past few years, mineral makeup has been gaining popularity among dermatologists, make-up artists, and skincare professionals. Although many may think that mineral make-up is a novelty in the beauty industry, its roots actually date back to ancient times as many cultures throughout history have used naturally “colored earth” to beautify the skin. Makeup was very much a ritual for Egyptian women since they believed that one’s beauty brought them closer to the Gods. Ancient Egyptian women worked with pure minerals for pigment and color. They pulverized and mixed various copper based minerals such as malachite, carbon and manganese oxides to create colored powders used for face powders or eye colors.

Today, science has made it possible to create mineral alternatives to the traditional synthetic, chemical laden cosmetics that were unhealthy for the skin.  They were full of cosmetic preservatives, additives,  and harsh ingredients that contributed to skin irritation and allergies, rosacea, pore clogging, and inevitably, acneic lesions and cysts. Because of recent evidence of mineral makeup’s advantages,  more and more women have converted to it from traditional oil-based makeup.

So what are the benefits of mineral makeup?

Mineral makeup is free from unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients found in many commercial brands such as preservatives (parabens), talc, synthetic chemicals and various fillers.

Mineral cosmetics use skin-friendly minerals such titanium dioxide, iron oxides, and mica powder. Artificial dyes are replaced by pure iron oxides that are naturally pigmented. Be sure to check the ingredients list before purchasing a brand. Pure mineral makeup does not contain talc or bismuth, which are known to clog pores.

Mineral makeup offers excellent broad spectrum protection from the harmful UV rays and free radicals.

The natural pigments of mineral cosmetics are achieved through pure iron oxides, which act to absorb heat. Mineral makeup also contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These ingredients may sound familiar because they are the active ingredients of sunscreens. Together, these ingredients can offer UV protection from the sun and from the effects of aging.

Mineral makeup provides help to calm and soothe the skin

The naturally gentle composition of mineral makeup means that these cosmetics are often able to be tolerated by those who have skin allergies, eczema or extremely sensitive skin. Many skincare professionals recommend using mineral makeup for post-procedure treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser resurfacing to not only effectively camouflage redness and bruising, but also to calm cutaneous insult because of its healing and nourishing properties.

Mineral makeup is appropriate for all skin types and all ages

It absorbs excess oil on contact with oily skin, and mattes shiny areas. In mature skin lines and wrinkles are minimized, and pore sizes reduced due to its reflective properties. It helps to hydrate dry skin, and helps to calm and soothe sensitive skin. With proper mixing of pigments, blemishes, minor acne scars, broken capillaries, and other skin imperfections are easily covered to result in an even skin tone, youthful glow, and natural look.

Mineral makeup provides long-lasting and flawless coverage

Since it absorbs the excess oils it to stays in place all day long, and doesn’t cake or crease. I always go by the adage that a little bit goes a long way, because not much is needed to achieve even coverage. Many mineral makeup formulations are also highly water resistant (not water-proof), and can withstand gym sessions or a day at the beach without fail.


Jane Iredale

My favorite mineral brand, also known as “the skincare makeup” The foundation powders blend very easily and have a soft, velvety, almost creamy finish. It offers a broad range of foundation colors that blend so beautifully that many people think I’m not wearing any makeup. Jane Iredale also offers liquid mineral foundations for those who prefer it to loose or pressed powder. Many skincare and dermatologic clinics carry this brand because it offers palettes geared specifically at camouflaging skin insults (such as bruising, needle-pricks, redness) caused by minimally invasive procedures.



My first introduction to mineral makeup was ColoreScience. The foundation and powdered sunscreens are housed in retractable cases with a natural goat-hair brush applicator.  Although I find that the foundations have a limited range of skin tones that are a little difficult to blend,  the Sunforgettable powdered suncreens are sheer enough to blend into almost any skin tone. Their formulation is very water-resistant,  which held up its weight after 2 hours of sweating at the gym. However, to achieve that longevity,  you have to set the makeup with a fine mist or else have to frequently reapply. And although the packaging is compact and convenient to keep in any purse,  I sometimes felt it dispensed much more product than I needed. Along with the Sunforgettable powdered sunscreen, my other favorite Colorescience product is the corrector palette that works wonders in covering any flaw,  be it a scar, bruise, or pimple.



Also an good line of mineral cosmetics,  but I found that they had a limited range of colors for medium, olive toned skin like mine.  They have a much broader range of foundation colors for fairer skin tones.


Bare Minerals (Bareescentuals.com)

Bare Minerals is probably the most commercial and popularized mineral makeup in today’s market.  For many who haven’t tried or even heard of mineral makeup before,  Bare Minerals is probably the reason they now know mineral makeup exists.  Although they do carry a variety of foundation colors,  I found that it made my skin appeared a bit muddy,  especially with the medium tan.  In order to achieve my exact skin color, I had to “Swirl, tap, and buff” 3 different colors,  which took a much longer time than I had anticipated. I also felt that I needed to “set” the makeup with a mist in order to keep it on longer,  a feature in Jane Iredale’s makeup that I felt I didn’t have to do.

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Online Editor, Beauty Writer at Beauty-Goodies
As a New York City-based registered nurse with backgrounds in pharmacology, medical research, medical spa aesthetics, and cosmetic dermatology, Cristal became interested in the ways people go about achieving beauty. When she's not working full-time at Cornell Medical Center or performing aesthetic treatments at a midtown NYC medical spa, she daylights as a beauty writer, and has a penchant for scoring sample sale treasures, bellydancing, playing dress-up, and of course, chatting about beauty goodies.

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