What’s in Your Mineral Make-up?

There are about a zillion ‘mineral’ make-up lines out there, but they’re a far cry from all the same. The beautiful thing about good mineral make-up is its ability to create a smooth, flawless canvas and add vibrant color while calming irritation and providing some measure of sun protection due to the natural reflective qualities of the minerals used. While many can claim to be mineral based, most actually can include a variety of fillers and additives that simply don’t need to be there.

If you look at a few labels, you’ll quickly realize that many brands have ingredient lists nearly a mile long. A clean mineral makeup also takes a long list of potentially harmful ingredients out of the equation, providing a simple product with a short ingredient list from readily identifiable sources. According to Alima Pure, one of my favorite mineral makeup lines–and one of the cleanest, best performing brands out there, “being a true mineral product is more about what is left out of the product than what’s in it.”

Eve Organics, another company that has a lovely line of clean, mineral makeup among other cosmetics and natural skin care products, points out that while mineral makeup has become very popular over the past few years, many companies add a variety of fillers to cut costs and make their product go further. Adding unnecessary fillers can cause skin irritations and increase the appearance of fine lines and imperfections in your skin, clog and enlarge pores, and at their worst, can increase cancer risks common in women.

Just as all mineral makeup lines are not equal, neither are all minerals. Of greatest concern is talc, a mineral, yes, but one closely related to asbestos, which has been linked to ovarian, endometrial and lung cancer.

There has been some discussion about titanium dioxide inhalation and absorption, and overall, the verdict is still out as experts tend to disagree, but the key here is the size of the particles used. To be on the safe side, steer clear of products that use “micronized” or “nano-particle” sized titanium dioxide, which is absorbed by the skin and if inhaled, may be problematic. It also can’t hurt to shake off excess product and hold your breath before applying, if you’re concerned. Taken a step further, you can also mix your mineral makeup with a little of your favorite moisturizer to create a creamy, dust free option. Taken as a whole, with the myriad toxic ingredients that litter the formulas of most conventional makeup, I’ll take a little titanium dioxide any day.

Other bad actors to look out for are preservatives such as parabens, and the commonly used filler bismuth oxychloride, which is used to cuts costs by adding bulk to the product and may cause sensitivity in some individuals. For those concerned with animal derived ingredients, be sure to look for magnesium stearate, carmine, silk powder, gelatin, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin A, all of which can be animal derived. In Eve Organics case, where some of these ingredients are used, they are all botanically sourced.

Both Eve Organics and Alima Pure have clean, high pigment, nano-particle free formulas that range from a sheer hint of color to full coverage and great depth of color as the product is layered. Alima Pure has gone one step further to communicate their commitment to a truly natural product by having their line certified by the BDIH in Germany, a highly respected natural products standard and certification in Europe where ingredients standards are so much higher than in the US.

So, the next time a vibrant shade of pumpkin, evergreen or cobalt calls your name, or you feel compelled to even out a blotchy complexion with a quick pass of powder, read the label and opt for a true mineral product.

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Image: Idhren