What Is the Best Mineral Makeup?

by Lea WhiteFeather

While it might be presumptuous to outright label one particular brand of mineral makeup as "the best," the many varieties out on the market make shopping more effortless for any discerning customer. Everyday Minerals, Bare Escentuals, MAD Minerals, Jane Iredale, TKB Trading, Avon, e.l.f. and even the drugstore brands Maybelline, Milani, L'Oreal, Neutrogena and Almay are only a few of the companies that offer mineral makeup. If you haven't explored what all the fuss is about, you could be missing out on a find that might change your beauty regimen and perhaps garner compliments from friends and family who notice the difference in your look. Find your ideal match by weighing the factors involved.

History

What is being marketed and packaged as mineral makeup may only have experienced a boom in sales in the 21st century, but the early inhabitants of the planet used natural substances from the Earth as face and body paint before conventional makeup came into being. As time passed and such additives as synthetic preservatives, fillers, binders and dyes were added to cosmetics for mass market production, so too have consumers grown more aware of the potentially harmful chemicals contained in makeup and other personal care products. Apparently, the modern-day version of mineral makeup was developed in the 1970s after the San Francisco Haight-Ashbury love-ins (see Resources). The fact that mineral makeup can be purchased not only from specialized sources but from drugstore beauty brands and home businesses attests to its popularity.

Types

Everything from foundations, blushes, eyeshadows, eyeliners, lip liners, lipsticks and lip glosses are available in mineral makeup form. While there have been reactions from buyers who claim to be pleased at how flawlessly mineral makeup blends on the skin as compared to old-fashioned makeup, there has also been feedback about the skin feeling drier and itchier instead of smoother after applying mineral makeup. If you have experienced the latter, maybe you simply have to find a different texture of foundation. After all, powder formulations make already dry skin even drier. There are liquid mineral makeup finishes that could be more suitable for those with dry skin. Also, make sure that you search for bismuth-free products, since the bismuth found in some mineral makeup brands is what causes the itching and irritation.

Misconceptions

As mineral makeup is chosen by consumers for its supposedly purer edge over traditional makeup, perhaps the clearest differentiation from one type of mineral makeup to the next can be found in the ingredients. Just because it is labeled "mineral" does not mean it is completely free of parabens, which are unnatural preservatives that help cosmetics acquire a longer shelf life. If you are particular about what is absorbed into your pores, make sure to read the labels on all the cosmetics you are about to purchase. Commonly avoided on the list are isopropylparaben, isobutylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben. Phthalates, which are chemicals used in the manufacture of products all around the home--including cosmetics--have been the focus of safety debates, since there is speculation that these may be responsible for birth defects. Look for mineral makeup that is both paraben-free and phthalate-free if you pride yourself on being an informed consumer who purchases the healthiest options on the market.

Warning

Make it a point to remove your makeup thoroughly before going to bed. Even if you have switched to mineral makeup, which you may have heard from advertisements as being pure enough to sleep in, you still do not want to take the day's grime to bed with you. If you experience irritations of any sort after trying mineral makeup, it may be that you have not eliminated all the possible allergy-causing ingredients from your list. For instance, other than bismuth, you should also look for carmine on the labels of the cosmetics you purchase, as carmine is known to induce reactions in many makeup wearers with sensitive skin. Also keep in mind that, for all its helpful properties--such as deflecting light so that wrinkles and fine lines are less visible--mineral makeup does not treat any conditions, such as rosacea, which it only covers up.

Considerations

When all is said and done, the best mineral makeup remains a subjective choice. If you are not particularly allergic to any ingredients and a lower price is more of a priority, try the cosmetic aisles at your grocery or drugstores, where you can find such options as L'Oreal Bare Naturale, Maybelline Mineral Power, IsaDora Mineral Makeup and Physician's Formula Mineral Wear. Along these same lines, you can also order Avon's Smooth Mineral cosmetics online or from a representative. If the opportunity to play with mineral colors, on the other hand, is more of what you are searching for, look into MAD Minerals, TKB Trading, and the mineral lines from e.l.f. and Coastal Scents. In terms of reputation, Bare Escentuals' Bare Minerals is famous for its long-wearing foundation and impressive finish that lasts through a sweaty session at the gym or a humid summer's day. However, those who are not so pleased with its price tag--which is heftier than most--and the itch resulting from the bismuth have discovered Everyday Minerals, which only has four ingredients in its powder foundations and a texture that has been compared to the smoothness of Bare Escentuals' Bare Minerals. Everyday Minerals' price has also earned raves, as its full-size items only cost about as much as higher-end drugstore products. Wary customers might also be pleased to know that the company offers samples and that there are smaller sizes available for those who want to try an assortment of eyeshadows, blushes, concealers and finishing powders. Perhaps you will have to try a handful of brands before deciding on the final one or two that you most prefer. In any case, the process is one that a curious makeup maven can approach in the spirit of experimentation.

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About the Author

Lea WhiteFeather writes to share her colorful experiences with all who can benefit. She enjoys traveling as well, and has worked and resided in New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Philippines, where she received her undergraduate education in art history.