I'm wary of even mentioning the word 'mineral' now, as I know just how aggressively consumers are being bombarded with new launches - and yes, it is all a bit much. Particularly when you actually break down what's going on. Mineral make-up is being lauded as the answer to women's prayers - a sheer, flattering veil of cover that simultaneously heals and protects skin - pure enough to sleep in! (Multiple exclamation marks punctuated with rolling of eyes and yawns from the Beauty Ed's desk). Fact is, it ain't that sheer, it doesn't really protect (unless you wear potloads) and you don't EVER want to sleep in it.
OK, so most of it certainly isn't any worse than what we're already putting on our skin - and most of it doesn't contain preservatives, artificial dyes and animal byproducts etc - BUT it's still not pure or beneficial enough to warrant the fanfare. At best, it's full of metal oxides and mica - but as the acne-prone will vouch for - zinc, aluminium and iron oxides are occlusive - we're talking about the same stuff that is found in mineral sunblocks after all. They do not let 'skin breathe' - another mineral make-up myth - they're heavy metals and all they really do is just sit there, reflecting away the sun's light. On the upside, they're stable compounds which are unlikely to cause allergic reactions - hence why mineral make-up is often recommended to sensitive and rosacea-prone skin types AND there is a smattering of research that suggest zinc oxide can help damaged skin heal itself - but only in so far as it provides a barrier that sits atop the wound, thereby keeping out foreign bodies. Not particularly miraculous.
Then there's Bismuth Oxychloride - a few other beauty editors have clocked onto this recently, and it's about time, because this compound is actually a man-made one, formed from an industrial chemical process and is the byproduct of lead and copper refining. It's found in lots of different mineral make-up brands and new research suggests that it might also cause sensitivity reactions. So... you start to get the scary picture...
But it gets even worse. Quite apart from the mineral make-up that is in fact 100% mineral make-up (and can therefore only contain a combination of metal oxides and mica - a naturally occuring mineral, that gives products 'shimmer') - there are now the new breed of products that proclaim amazing skin benefits - 'good enough to sleep in, promotes skin health, great for acne-prone complexions as it lets skin 'breathe'' - and are simply lying. Glance at the label of any of the new big brand launches and you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be a long list of unidentifiable, and often chemical, components in there too - hardly the pure as air formula being spouted by the marketing material.
- Read every label. The fewer ingredients the better.
- Don't automatically assume that mineral is better. Drier skins often experience a chalky finish as the powder is prone to settling on flake-prone areas.
- If you love your mineral make-up, remember that although the formula may not harbour bacteria (being physically inert and unable to degrade) the brush used to deposit it will not be exempt. Wash it regularly!
- Don't rely on mineral make-up to give you your sun protection. It's immensely difficult to get a handle on how much needs to be applied in order to obtain the protection given on the packet. You're far better off applying a moisturiser with built-in sunscreen, before applying make-up.
- And, never go to sleep in it. Skin detoxes and repairs itself at night and a mineral coating sitting within and atop pores will not do your face any favours.
It would seem that when it comes to mineral make-up, the only thing that does seem clear is that nothing should be taken at face value...
2 hours ago