I’m often asked my opinion about mineral makeup, and in general, they’re well received by consumers, tend to be very light in nature, and are much less likely to cause a reaction or problem in women with sensitive skin.
Mineral makeup usually refers to a foundation in a loose powder format. While mineral makeup’s not a new concept, it’s become much more popular in the past five years, particularly for foundations and blushes. The main ingredients, titanium dioxide, mica, zinc oxide and bismuth oxychloride are not new ingredients and have been used in makeup for decades. So for that reason, many traditional makeups call themselves mineral makeups… and consumers need to read the label on a makeup labeled as mineral makeup… to ensure that the minerals are in fact at the beginning of the ingredient deck… which tells you that the makeup is composed mostly of minerals.
Real mineral makeup has several advantages. It can be reapplied without removing the residuals of your previous makeup application. Because there are fewer cosmetic emollients, perfumes and fragrances, they tend to be much less irritating for sensitive skin. The minerals tend to have light-reflective properties, or confer an appearance of translucency, which adds a brightness to the skin and decreases the appearance of fine lines and enlarged pores… provided your skin has been regularly exfoliated… but paradoxically, it actually exaggerates those lines and pores in some wearers who don’t exfoliate.
While two of the ingredients in mineral makeup, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are the main ingredients used in highly effective chem-free sunscreens, there isn’t enough of those ingredients in mineral makeups to confer any effective sun protection, and accordingly sunscreen still has to be used when wearing mineral makeup… unless of course that makeup is labeled with an appropriate SPF rating and broad-spectrum protection. But since zinc oxide and titanium dioxide have anti-inflammatory properties, certain mineral makeups can also have a calming effect on the skin, which is helpful for people with sensitive skin or rosacea.
Another advantage to mineral makeups is that, in addition to being appropriate for sensitive skin, they're usually compatible with all oil and water skin types since they’re non comedogenic.
The bottom line is that mineral makeup is another option that, like all makeup, is a favorite of many consumers, but certainly not all.