Mineral makeup has been making noise in the cosmetics market over the past few years. It’s considered as the makeup alternative more beneficial for the skin than regular foundations and powders. It’s known as a more natural alternative to chemically-based products because it’s safer for those with sensitive skin.
What makes mineral makeup safer lies in its ingredients. Mineral makeup must not be confused with organic skincare – which is the safest and most natural choice because it’s made of naturally-occurring mineral compounds. Pure mineral makeup made of safe ingredients will benefit the skin because it feels light and won’t clog pores, will not irritate sensitive skin, and will provide additional sun protection for your skin. Pure mineral makeup doesn’t contain any chemicals, fillers, and artificial additives to make it safe for everyone.
However, not all products that are labeled as “mineral makeup” do that. Yes, it’s still generally safer than conventional makeup, but for people who have acne-prone or sensitive skin may still encounter itching and irritation to some mineral makeup products because of the fillers it contains. If you’re curious about what mineral makeup is made of, just keep reading.
Most Makeup Contains Minerals
Pure mineral makeup must only contain these ingredients, perhaps one or two more: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, iron oxides, and mica.
But it turns out, regular cosmetic products also contain these ingredients. The difference is that regular cosmetics contain additional fillers, preservatives, or artificial coloring or fragrance. The problem is that there isn’t any kind of regulation regarding cosmetics that defines when a brand can label their product as “mineral” makeup. So basically, if it comes with a mineral as their base ingredient, manufacturers can label it as mineral makeup regardless of what other chemicals it must contain.
The Role of Minerals in Mineral Makeup
Almost all products labeled as mineral makeup contain all those four ingredients listed above. If you want to know a bit more about thee ingredients, here’s the reason why they are used in cosmetics.
Mica is one of the most vital mineral ingredients used in cosmetics. It’s a naturally occurring silicate material that is widely distributed in different types of rock. Its purpose in cosmetics is to add shimmer and sparkle to create a glow effect. It’s used by brightening or illuminating products such as bronzers, highlighters, and foundations. The amount of mica used in the product depends on how much brightening the product must offer.
Iron oxides used in cosmetics are made from a naturally-occurring mineral deposit. In cosmetics and personal care products, iron oxide is used in formulating a wide variety of product types, including makeup. It gives color to cosmetics. Depending on the specific iron oxide mixture used, the color will vary from yellow, orange, red to black.
Zinc oxide is powdered, oxidized zinc derived from zincite, a naturally-occurring mineral. Zinc oxide is known as a critical sunscreen ingredient and vital in providing protection against harmful UV rays. It’s also used as a colorant and a bulking agent, and that’s why it’s widely used in cosmetics. It imparts opacity to powder-based makeup like foundations.
Titanium dioxide is an inert earth mineral that is used as a thickening, lubricating, whitening, and sunscreen ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products. It is used to make products white in color, and it increases the opaqueness of a product. It poses no risk of skin sensitivity, making it a friendly ingredient for sensitive, redness-prone skin. Even micronized titanium dioxide is stable and won’t penetrate the skin, so it poses no risk of being absorbed by the body.
Ingredients to Look Out For
Mineral makeup is generally safe and friendly to the skin, but for people with sensitive skin, acne, rosacea, and redness, some products may not be as safe as you want it to be. Here are the ingredients to look out for if you want to stay safe:
On your makeup ingredient list, silicone will be listed as dimethicone or cyclomethicone. Silicones are added to skin products to make it smooth and silky. It helps powders and liquids to glide on smoothly and creates a barrier over the skin, protecting the pores from dirt and pollutants. The negative side of this is that if used too often or left on for too long, it can also seal sebum, bacteria, and impurities in your skin. This can leave the skin prone to breakouts.
Bismuth oxychloride is a controversial ingredient in mineral makeup. While it’s a naturally-occurring metal, it’s usually synthetically produced to meet demands, because natural bismuth is rare. It gives makeup a matte or shimmery finish, but because it’s made of heavy metal, it can cause itching, breakouts, and irritation in people with sensitive skin and prone to acne breakouts.
For a long time, lead has been recognized as a toxic metal that should not be in cosmetics, as it messes with the brain functions, inhibits fertility, and triggers joint and muscle pains. However, in 2009, the FDA found that there are still varying degrees of lead that is more than the acceptable limit in some best-selling crimson-tinted lipsticks. Avoid lead at all costs.
Talc is a staple for infant care for centuries, and it’s an ever-present ingredient in powder-based cosmetics. It has been deemed as particularly carcinogenic, particularly to the lungs and ovaries. The good news is you can find many talc-free mineral makeups.
Parabens are included in cosmetics and personal care products in these forms: butylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben, benzyl paraben, and ethylparaben. These major paraben esters discourage the growth of bacteria and fungus in cosmetics by giving them a two to three-year shelf life. However, these chemicals are found to cause alterations in the endocrine functions. It’s also responsible for adding risk for breast and ovarian cancer in women.
Phthalates make cosmetics flow more easily and keeps nail polish less likely to chip. It makes Studies have found a direct correlation between a high phthalate exposure in humans and a compromised reproductive function and development in both males and females.
Ingredients of Popular Mineral Makeup Available
Below is a list of ingredients found in popular mineral-based cosmetics in the market.
Loose Powder Mineral Foundation
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide
Inactive Ingredients: Mica, Boron Nitrate, Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Alumina, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Methylparaben
May Contain: Bismuth Oxychloride, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide
Inactive Ingredients: Iron Oxides, Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride, Nylon-12, Methylparaben, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Kaolin, Lauryl Pca, Zinc Pca, Phenyl Trimethicone, Sodium Pca, Lecithin, Urea, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Trehalose, Polyquaternium-51, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Atelocollagen, Beta-Carotene, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Tocopherol
Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Bismuth Oxychloride, Mica, Iron Oxides
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide
Inactive Ingredients: Lauroyl Lysine, Silica, Calcium Silicate, Soil Minerals
May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides
Ingredients: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Bismuth Oxychloride, Phytonadione (vitamin K), Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (Green Tea), Tocopherol Acetate (vitamin E), Retinyl Palmate (vitamin A), Ascorbyl Palmate (vitamin C), Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Methylparaben
May Contain: Iron Oxides
Ingredients: Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide
Other Ingredients: Mica (CI 77019), Boron Nitride, Zinc Stearate, Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Plankton Extract, Algae Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract
May contain: Iron Oxides, Ultramarines
Ingredients: Talc, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Zinc Stearate, Dimethicone, Boron Nitride, Zeolite, Methylparaben, Sorbic Acid, Ethylene/Methacrylate Copolymer, Propylparaben, Tetrasodium EDTA, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, BHT, Iron Oxides, Mica
Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Mica, and Zinc Oxide.
Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Bismuth Oxychloride, Mica, Iron Oxides
Pressed Mineral Foundation
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide
Other Ingredients: Mica, Boron Nitride, Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Plankton Extract, Algae Extract, Pine Bark Extract, Pomegranate Extract
May Contain: Iron Oxides, Ultramarines
Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Zinc Stearate Zinc Oxide, Bismuth Oxychloride, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmate (vitamin C), Phytonadione (vitamin K), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Methylparaben, Propylparaben
May contain Iron Oxides, CI 77499, Carmine. Vitamin C, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Vitamin E
Active Ingredient: Titanium Dioxide
Inactive Ingredients: Mica, Boron Nitride, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Bismuth Oxychloride, Zinc Stearate, Magnesium Silicate, Magnesium Carbonate, Silica, Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii), Tocopheryl Acetate, Iron Oxides
Ingredients: Mica, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Zinc Stearate, Bismuth Oxychloride, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Carthamas Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Methylparaben, Propylparaben
May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides
Liquid Mineral Foundation
Ingredients: Water, Propylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Cyclomethicone, Phytonadione, Panthenol, Allantoin, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Ginko Biloba Leaf Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract (Chamomile), Aloe Barbadenisis Leaf Extract, Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract (Cucumber), Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Cetyl Alcohol, Lecithin, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Xanthan Gum, Simethicone, Sorbitan Stearate, Triethanolamine, Cellulose Gum, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Tetrasodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Zinc Oxide (CI 77947)
May contain: Iron oxides (CI 77489, CI 77491, CI 77491, CI 77499), Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide
Ingredients: Deionized Water, C-12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Iron Oxides, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Glycerin, Cetyl Dimethicone, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Panthenol, Magnesium Sulfate, Phenoxyethanol, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Alumina, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Silica, Potassium Sorbate
Ingredients: At the center of the visible spheres lie minerals (mica, titanium dioxide, boron nitride, and iron oxides), L-sodium hyaluronate acid (hyaluronic acid) and Olive Squalene all encapsulated by seaweed lipids
Floating around these larger spheres, like planets around the sun, are microscopic liposomes that individually encapsulate Coenzyme Q 10, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamins C), Vitamin K, Willow Bark Extract, Chamomile, Calendula, and Seaweeds (Algin, Agar, and Carrageenan)
The spheres are then suspended in a gel of aloe vera, lavender flower water, and vegetable glycerin.
Ingredients: D.I-Water, Cyclomethicone, Titanium Dioxide, Hexyl Laurate, Glycerin, Polyoxyethylene Methylpolysiloxan, Dimethicone, Dimethicone (and) Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone, 1.3 Butylene Glycol, Reduced Salt Deep Sea Water, Sodium Chloride, Iron Oxides, LauryImethiconecopolyol, Squalane, Cereus Grandiflorus (Cactus) Flower Extract, Water (and) Butylene Glycol (and) Natto Gum, Green Tea Extract, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Propylparaben, Allantoin, Water (and) Butylene Glycol (and) Cucumi Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA