At the LA Makeup Show last weekend, one thing was clear: mineral makeup is more than a fad. It’s already taken over a significant share of the market, and all signs indicate that it will keep growing. So what’s the big deal? Well, traditionally makeup contains some type of petroleum dye, which is what gives it color. As unappealing as that sounds, we’ve all worn it- me, you, your mom, your grandmother- everyone who’s worn makeup has worn some pretty unnatural substances.
But a lot of people want a more natural alternative, which is where mineral makeup comes in. It replaces petroleum dye with natural pigments, aka minerals. As an added bonus, the minerals are naturally reflective and give skin a radiant boost. Some people claim they also act as a natural sunscreen, but the jury’s still out on that one.
Of course, mineral makeup has its problems, too. The standard complaint is that it’s heavy and cakey and has a tendency to settle into fine lines. People with darker complexions also complain about ashy undertones. Recent innovations in manufacturing have gone a long way towards correcting these issues, which is why we’ve seen such a huge explosion of new brands. However, it’s important to be aware that there are no regulated guidelines for mineral makeup. Although a lot of the new mineral makeup brands are manufactured without chemicals, any product that contains a certain amount of minerals can be marketed as “mineral makeup,” even if it also contains chemical fillers and preservatives. So if you’re attracted to mineral makeup because of its organic aura, read the label and make sure you know what you’re getting.
A couple of products that caught my eye:
Favorite Powder Foundation = Youngblood Natural Mineral Foundation
If your complexion tends to be oily, or if you generally prefer powder formulations, this is a good option thanks to its smooth application and excellent coverage. I watched a makeup artist apply this on a woman with an oily complexion, and it made an immediate difference. ($38)
Favorite Concealer = Mineral Essence Cover ME Duo
An innovative double-sided pencil- one end with darker concealer for covering flaws, one end lighter for tackling under eye circles. It provides amazing coverage and is easy to use (either with your fingers or with a concealer brush). My only criticism is that it’s a tad bit dry- especially for those who have dry skin or just favor a lighter, dewier look. I think that could be easily resolved, though, by mixing in a little primer or even a light moisturizer. ($25)
Favorite Tinted Moisturizer = Youngblood Mineral Radiance Tints
This was my favorite foundation product from the entire show. It has a very dewy finish, so if you tend to be oily, you probably won’t like it. Since my complexion is a little dry, I loved it. I definitely noticed a radiant sheen that is a welcome boost for tired skin. The price is about 60% higher than the tinted moisturizer I currently use, but the finish is so pretty that I’m strongly considering making the switch. ($39.50)
If mineral makeup intrigues you and you want to try it without making a huge commitment, I recommend checking out the Mineral Essence line- particularly the eye shadows. They’re accessibly priced with lovely color options (similar to Stila with lots of pretty pastels). Because Mineral Essence uses a unique, triple-milled process, the shadows apply very evenly. That eliminates the weird caking factor of mineral makeup and should make it easy to mix in with whatever you’re currently using.