Buyer Beware: Mineral Makeup

©Alima Pure (one of the good guys in the mineral makeup world)

I have never used mineral makeup before but I have plenty of friends and family members who do.

Since I’m curios like a cat–and no my friends do not call me whiskers even though I secretly wish they did–I figured what the “h”, I’ll put my lady detective hat on and find out some deets about this über popular stuff.

I was surprised to find out that mineral makeup is quite controversial. Apparently a lot of “mineral”  makeup products might look like they fit the bill but they’re anything but extraordinary according to some WebMD sources:

“I think mineral makeup is marketing hype,” says Ni’Kita Wilson, a cosmetic chemist at Englewood Lab in New Jersey. Perry Romanowsksi, author of Can You Get Hooked on Lip Balm? Top Cosmetic Scientists Answer Your Questions About the Lotions, Potions and Other Beauty Products You Use Every Day, agrees. “All makeup is mineral makeup,” he says. “You’ll find the same mineral ingredients — titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, mica and iron oxides — in conventional products.

Hmmm…okay. So what makes “true” mineral makeup so extraordinary? Apparently it has to do with what it should be formulated WITHOUT:

What makes mineral makeup different from traditional makeup isn’t the ingredients it contains, but what’s left out. That list, for many leading brands, includes preservatives, parabens, mineral oil, chemical dyes, and fragrance. These are all possible causes of irritation, one reason many dermatologists recommend mineral makeup.

Moreover, mineral makeup is often intended for people with rosacea, eczema, or sensitive skin since it isn’t supposed to contain those nasty ingredients.

But this is BIG problem if you check out the ingredients of a lot of mineral makeup’s top brands. If you have mineral makeup and heart it big time, check to see if it has the following nasty ingredients courtesy of

  • Parabens. Parabens are the most common preservatives used in cosmetics today. Parabens not only irritate the skin, they can affect your hormonal balance. You’ll see them listed as methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben.
  • Bismuth oxychloride. This ingredient is made in a chemistry lab by combining water, chloride (from chlorine) and a by-product of lead smelting. It’s used by many brands as a cheap filler and has been found to be slightly radioactive. When you put it on, it can cause itching and irritation… especially if you have sensitive skin.
  • Talc. Talc is considered to cause lung problems – even cancer – when inhaled. For cosmetic purposes, it’s made through a crushing and milling process from a mineral called hydrous magnesium silicate, which has similar properties to asbestos.

Now some dermatologists believe that the Bismuth oxychloride is perfectly safe for most people and that…

…only a very small minority of people with highly sensitive skin will find themselves irritated by the ingredient.

Fine, but I think it just sounds gross and weird. And the fact that it can cause these reactions–no matter how rare–is reason enough for Femilady to steer the “f” clear.

Still love mineral makeup though and its awesome coverage? Don’t fret, there are some good brands out there. Here are some that I found that are formulated without bismuth oxychloride, parabens, and a lot of the chemical/preservative crap:

Personally, I am only a stickler for clean skincare products not necessarily clean cosmetics since I rarely wear makeup and don’t have sensitive or problematic skin. But I am vexed that there are people out there who may be using products from a sham “mineral line” under the false pretense that they’re suitable and even beneficial for their particular skin type.

In sum, it’s important to be really ingredient aware on this one and to not fall victim to all the lies marketing hype.

And if you did not click on the “whiskers” link above you’re missing out on one of the most glorious comedy bits of all time (IFHO–in femilady’s humble opinion).