Mineral make-up seems to tick all the boxes: it’s better for sensitive skin, can last a long time, is easy to apply and offers different levels of coverage. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Mineral make-up has become something of a beauty buzzword in recent years with many major cosmetics houses now churning out products with ‘mineral’ in the name. Gone are the days when the term was beauty-speak for loose powder foundation and perhaps a bronzer or blush. Nowadays mineral products are everywhere. You can find everything from high-end luxe labels to bargain basement drug-store ranges. They’re becoming so common that if you wanted, you could turn your entire make-up routine mineral!

Many foundations, lipsticks, eyeshadows and even nail varnishes are now being flaunted by beauty companies for having had a helping hand from mother nature. Companies, aware that consumers are taking an interest in what they are putting on their faces, are keen to emphasise the purity of their products.

Mineral pioneers bareMinerals (available at Sephora in The Dubai Mall) launched its first products in the 1970s and claim its formula “represents the ideal mix of make-up and skincare” and that its products offer “problem-solving cosmetics that perfect and pamper the complexion”. The company even goes as far as to say its products are so pure you can sleep in them.

Beauty company Jane Iredale (available at www.essentialmall.ae) says its mineral cosmetics are “so effective” and good for the skin that they are “recommended by plastic surgeons, dermatologists and skincare professionals”.

Even mainstream make-up brands are keen to jump on the mineral make-up bandwagon. Estée Lauder has added a ‘mineral rich’ loose powder to its Double Wear range, while Clinque’s ever-popular Even Better Makeup boasts what the company calls a “unique mineral blend”.

Market research company, NPD Group (www.npd.com) reports that last year, “overall make-up usage was down”, but there is, it says, a growing interest in “make-up products with skincare benefits”. The NPD Group reports that, “over the past few years, a greater number of make-up products are incorporating skincare benefits that consumers would previously seek to get from a skincare product.”

The purity factor

So what’s the official word on minerals, and do we owe it to our skin to make the switch from our usual chemical-laden products?

“Mineral make-up does not add any potential ‘badness’ or irritants to the skin,’ says skincare expert Alex Gazzola, founder of the FreeFrom Skincare Awards and editor of the SkinsMatter website (www.skinsmatter.com). “I wouldn’t say they are ‘good’ for
the complexion the same way a nourishing skin cream is – a cream would introduce health-giving oils and ingredients into the skin’s layers. But mineral make-up is certainly more pure and contains non-reactive inert ingredients.” This is all reassuring stuff for those of us with sensitive skin and allergies.

Alex adds that if you start to experience any irritation from your usual cosmetics, it is definitely worth trying mineral make-up. “It’s generally worth varying your brands occasionally if you are prone to skin sensitivities as it may lessen your risk of becoming intolerant to a particular ingredient,” he says.

Know what’s inside

While few us make a point of scrutinising the labels of cosmetics before we buy them unless we know there is something our skin cannot tolerate, it is interesting and important to compare the ingredients of a typical liquid foundation with what’s in the powdered mineral version.

A quick glance at the labels of the mineral bases we checked out revealed very few ingredients in the mineral varieties, usually natural minerals like mica, titanium dioxide, kaolin and illite. Regular liquid foundations contain everything from alcohol to synthetic and chemical emulsifiers and fillers. Not as appealing. So on that basis alone, mineral make-up sounds like very good news for our skin. But can it really offer the same lasting coverage and wearablity that we have come to rely on from our usual products?

Most mineral companies brag of the ‘buildability’ of their products. This means coverage can be adjusted from sheer to full depending on the way it’s applied. But there is no denying that the thought of buffing on heavy layers to give full coverage can be off-putting and a potential stumbling block for the first-time user. Surely all those pots of powder are a huge, dusty mess just waiting to happen. Not at all, says professional make-up artist and spokesperson for mineral make-up company Bellapierre, Dani Guinsberg.

“Mineral make-up is possibly the most easy make-up out there. I would say it is actually easier than general foundations. It’s as easy as making a few sweeps with the right brush and some simple blending,” Dani says.

She recommends the skin is prepped before the minerals are applied, explaining that a good, clean, moisturised canvas will ensure a lasting and even base, which will require little or no re-touching.

“Moisturiser is a real must,” she says, “A primer is not essential unless you have extremely dry, blemished or mature skin – minerals go on so smoothly, and they also contain a naturally occurring sunscreen, so they will protect your skin all day.”
And to keep those skin-enhancing properties to a maximum, Dani recommends finding a brand that does not contain harsh fillers. The fewer ingredients listed, the more pure the mineral make-up is. As well as detracting from the purity of the make-up, fillers (such as talc or preservatives) can leave the skin looking powdery, or even greyish. With the right product and application coverage should be flawless, disguising any skin problems such as large open pores, blemishes and uneven skin tone.

Mineral make-up seems to tick all the boxes: it’s better for sensitive skin, can last a long time, is easy to apply and offers different levels of coverage. Since there are so many ranges out there to choose from, it’s just a matter of experimenting until you find your perfect mineral match. Happy hunting!