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Mineral Make Up: Why TIA Isn't Always In Favor

Reviewed by Marta December 13, 2008 14 Comments
A naturally trusting person of generous spirit, there are, I admit, times when a curmudgeon sits on my shoulder whispering cynical and distrustful ideas in my ear. This often happens when I am confronted with mineral make up. Don't get me wrong, there are some good ones on the market. Sadly, there are many more that are hitching a ride on a bandwagon.

First of all, just because its mineral doesn't mean it's all natural with only the kindest of intentions. In fact, many mineral cosmetics contain additives and irritants, they are difficult to apply and can make dry and aging skin look, well, dry and old.

More worryingly, some mineral powders contain a pearlizing agent that gives mineral makeup that candlelight glow. This agent is bismuth oxychloride. Strictly speaking, it is a mineral, but it's not found in the earth. Bismuth is a byproduct of lead and copper processing. Bismuth oxychloride is also frequently used to bulk up or bind products and is considered a skin irritant and, in large amounts, can cause cystic acne. It is to be avoided if you have acne, rosacea or sensitive skin.

Now, there are even minerals that should be avoided. Take talc, for example. It is widely used in make up. It is closely related to the potent carcinogen asbestos, according to the Cancer Prevention Coalition. In particular, there are numerous studies linking it to ovarian cancer (although there are some studies that contradict this and it should be noted that culprit is body powder made of talc).

Mica, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the core minerals in mineral makeup. The thing is though, they have been used in cosmetics for years, long before marketing departments decided to repackage them as something new and 'natural'. Having said that, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are anti-inflammatory and a good choice for those of sensitive skin.

There are some good mineral makeup brands that take care to keep their products pure. In the next post on this subject, we'll round up some of them.
  • August 16, 2012

    by Mary Mathews

    I use Inika, it's australian made, just mica, iron oxide and then sunblock (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) amazing coverage and doesn't irritate! esp acne skin, plus my skin, being irish background can be sensitive, helps with this too!

  • October 8, 2010

    by Rebecca

    I found this mineral makeup line called youngevity. The sales rep sent me free samples to try in this makeup tower for my skin tone. The makeup has no bismuth or any of the other nasties you find in makeup these days. I recently saw Good Morning America do a segment where they talked about the bugs and other nasties that traditional makeup is made with. Since I saw that, I only use mineral makeup and this Youngevity is pretty good. Has anyone else tried this line? The website is if anyone is interested in trying it out.

  • December 28, 2008

    by marta

    Take a look at Sterling Minerals. The texture is very good - not drying at all.

  • December 25, 2008

    by Laura

    Ack! I've been using Bare Minerals for years and years (I never use the mineral veil, though. It looks like old-lady powder on me). I have tried 4 or 5 other brands of mineral make-up, and they have been too coarse for my very fine, soft skin. This has been the only brand that has made my wrinkles (I'm 47) look less, rather than more prominent as well.

    Do any of your recommended brands go on as smoothly, and have as fine a texture as Bare Minerals?

  • December 17, 2008

    by Petra

    I love Eminence Organics Sun Defense Minerals. I rarely have time to apply makeup before leaving the home, so I love that it's in a tube with a brush applicator that I can leave in the car and apply it on the go. I don't feel that it clogs my pores and it gives me a dewy type glow and offers minimal coverage. Doesn't feel heavy and has a light refreshing scent - which I think is natural because it doesn't mention having anything perfumey.

    Suitable for all skin types, this make-up powder offers:
    • Effective SPF 30 protection
    • Water-resistant; great for exercise or swimming
    • Hypoallergenic for all skin types and great for both men and women
    • Anti-inflammatory, healing, excellent for post-treatment (especially for red or blotchy skin)
    • Clean, anti-bacterial and will not clog pores
    • Loaded with vitamins and bioflavonoids
    • Reflects the sun and keeps skin cool reducing Rosacea flare-ups and oil production
    • Available in various shades for added cosmetic coverage; darker shades can be used as a bronzer
    • Easy to use, apply and carry anywhere

    Active Ingredients: • Minerals, Fruit Extracts, Micronized Zinc Oxide, Micronized Titanium Dioxide

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