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Mineral Makeup--Good Health or Good Hype?

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Why is it that health writers so frequently answer a straightforward question with, “It all depends?”

Because individuals vary so much physically and emotionally, and because products differ in the ingredients and science behind them, not to mention the way they are marketed, the answer to many health questions truly is, unfortunately, “It all depends.”

This can be frustrating for readers and writers both. So, though we may be headed for that inevitable answer in examining mineral makeup, let’s see if we can uncover some information to provide food for thought along the way. Here’s some of the popular lore surrounding mineral makeup and some observations that may be of value.

Mineral Makeup is More Pure

The loose powder foundations and blushes that most people think of as mineral makeup contain finely ground natural substances such as zinc oxide, mica and titanium oxide. Many brands have few or no ingredients found in other cosmetics that can irritate skin—such as dyes, fragrances and preservatives. Dermatologists generally do believe mineral makeup is gentler on the skin and sometimes recommend it to sensitive patients.

On the other hand, noted Dr. Omeed Memar in a 2006 article in the Chicago Tribune, there’s no standard definition for what makes a mineral makeup. And because the cosmetic industry regulates itself, you may not get a lot of information about which minerals, in what percentage, a particular product contains. Any company can claim its products are mineral-based, even if they contain just a small amount of minerals. And there’s no stopping a manufacturer from adding any ingredients they want and still calling the product a mineral makeup.

Mineral Makeup Feels Light and Looks Natural

Investigating the advantages of mineral makeup last year, the Good Housekeeping Research Institute reported that mineral makeup sits lightly on top of the skin and is not absorbed. Therefore, a good product will feel lighter than many traditional liquid-based cosmetics. The researchers did note that it can take a little longer to apply mineral makeup.

Add a Comment3 Comments

Thanks for both these comments!

From the research I've done, it seems to me that if your skin is prone to irritation of any kind, if you like lighter coverage and if you can be patient in finding the right brand and learning to apply it properly, mineral makeup can be a good choice.

You are the kinds of readers that make researching and writing worthwhile. Thanks again for taking the time to leave your thoughts.

October 4, 2009 - 11:07am

I started using mineral make-up about 10 years ago when I had horrific acne after the birth of my second child. My hormones and skin went crazy! Mineral make-up was the only product that didn't make my skin worse and actually made the appearance of my skin better. It gave me confidence to leave the house.

I have noticed that mineral makeups are sold everywhere and by every brand. I still stick the the more expensive brand that I orginally used. I think you are right that even a bit of mineral means they can claim it to be mineral makeup. My skin is 99% gorgeous these days due to a bit of daily hormones, but I still use the mineral makeup as its so easy to put on and I know it's OK on my skin.
Thanks for shedding light in that topic!

October 2, 2009 - 2:43pm
HERWriter Guide


Thank you so much for breaking this down for us.

I've been wondering about mineral makeup for a long time. The infomercials and commercials make it sound like it's a miracle and many women love it but I also know some women who don't like it at all.

I think I will give it a shot, bearing in mind the tips you have given us. Thanks!

October 2, 2009 - 1:22pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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