mineral makeup reviews

Top makeup artists and skincare specialists sound off on whether mineral makeup deserves its kudos.

“I it,” Kerry Herta says. And on hot humid summer days it wears better than traditional liquid makeup.”


Tasha Reiko Brown of the Style Network’s How Do I Look is not as big a fan. “If you’re a woman of color, it can be very difficult to find a shade that’s a good match for your skin.”

Women often differ over their choice of makeup products. Then competing brands came out with new products, claiming that mineral makeup was more “natural” than conventional makeup.

Perry Romanowsksi, author of Can You Get Hooked on Lip Balm? “You’ll find the same mineral ingredients — titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, mica, and iron oxides — in conventional products.”

Mineral makeup ingredients aren’t simply mined, pulverized, and poured into compacts.

This pressed-powder foundation is still sold today and represents one of the few strong points of a line that, overall, is a mixed bag with far more negatives than positives.

In terms of success, a coup for the company was introducing their products on Canada’s The Shopping Channel, which led to the brand being picked up by Ulta, which now stocks Pürminerals in most of its 250 locations. The brand also is sold in select Dillard’s department stores in the United States and is available in Australia and Japan too.

Despite the company’s impressive track record for sales, let me say (actually we want to climb up on my roof and scream it) that the concept of mineral makeup is marketing hype, nothing more. Suffice it to say, none of these ingredients are unique: mica just makes powder shiny, titanium dioxide is known for its ability as a sunscreen along with adding color and opacity to makeup, and bismuth oxychloride is about as natural as polyester—none of that is revolutionary, better for skin, or in this case, a beauty breakthrough.

Of course, as Pürminerals enjoyed continued success the line’s selection of products expanded. That’s where Pürminerals falls short, and in some cases, drastically so.

Pürminerals chose the pure and natural angle, and as a result, most of the skin-care products ignore what is important for skin, throwing in just about everything that grows in the ground whether or not the research says it is helpful for skin. This line could have launched some brilliant skin-care products by including only helpful plant ingredients along with beneficial synthetic ingredients (after all, their products contain plenty of synthetic ingredients), but they opted to go the fragrant route, which is to your skin’s detriment.

Makeup is the most exciting aspect of this line, but even then only a handful of products are extraordinary enough to deserve a look.

The biggest difference is that it usually contains finely crushed, naturally occurring minerals, and most come in loose powder form to be applied using a special brush.

It’s a radical departure from the usual quick application of liquid, sticks or pressed powder bases with fingertips or a sponge. Although a little more complicated and messy, the claims you’ll be improving your skin and appearance make the extra effort seem worth it – who wouldn’t want to use make-up that’s good for your skin?

But is it really natural?

Even though it’s claimed mineral foundation has many good qualities, including being great for improving acne, moisturising skin and not clogging pores, dermatologist Philip Artemi says none of these claims are true. Currently, any product can be labelled mineral make-up if it contains any mineral as a primary ingredient, even if it contains a whole host of synthetic ingredients as well.

Generally, most mineral foundations contain the same core ingredients:

titanium dioxidezinc oxidemicairon oxides

Some will contain bismuth oxychloride and talc as well.

It’s a personal choice

For consumers who wish to avoid all these added extras, cosmetic chemist and pharmacist Tina Aspres recommends checking the ingredients on the package. It all comes down to personal preference.”

If you have problem skin

While they can’t work the magic on your skin that the marketers would have us believe, some mineral foundations may appeal to people with skin conditions such as rosacea, acne and eczema. Artemi says that simpler mineral make-ups – those that contain only a handful of ingredients, as well as being fragrance- and preservative-free – are likely to be less irritating.

However, using mineral foundation isn’t a guarantee your skin won’t be irritated. On the downside, it’s a totally synthetic ingredient, a by-product of lead, tin and copper refining, which is further refined and combined with water and chloride.

Don’t believe the hype

Despite the marketing hype, mineral make-up doesn’t improve your skin, nor can it be considered a “natural” alternative to other types of foundations – it’s simply an alternative.

In order for a mineral makeup product to make the Best Products list, it must:

Feature a smooth, lightweight textureBlend easily without streaking or cakingNot make skin look unnaturally dry or powderedContain minimal to no fragranceBe packaged to minimize mess (for loose powders)

Clearly, many women enjoy this type of makeup, though it definitely has its limitations and isn’t nearly as awe-inspiring as companies selling it want you to believe.

Do your research before hitting the counter for mineral make up.

A buyer's guide to mineral make up

Celebrities are wearing it, glossy ads are promoting it and many people are buying it. Just about every beauty company has jumped on the bandwagon to ensure they get a slice of the action.AC Nielsen reports that in 2005, the total sales of mineral make-up in the US was only $US5.4 million ($A6 million), but it jumped to $US149 million ($A168 million) in 2007.

In Australia, although there are no statistics available, anecdotal evidence suggests the situation is similar. “Demand has risen exponentially from people seeking more natural skincare, people with problem skin and people who want a natural-looking complexion,” says Mandy Gray, owner of True Solutions, which imports BareMinerals.

What’s in mineral make-up

Minerals are naturally occurring substances, generally mined from the earth’s crust. Mineral make-up generally contains less chemical-based ingredients such as parabens, fragrances, binders and synthetic dyes, which can help eliminate some of these problems.

The mineral trend started out as the preserve of small brands, but the surge in popularity saw a flurry of new players enter the market, including major cosmetics brands. Dr Lee-Mei Yap, from the Dermatology Institute of Victoria, says: “To date, there is no strong scientific evidence that bismuth oxychloride, a by-product of copper and lead processing, causes skin allergies and irritation.”

Tips for buying

So what should you be looking for when buying mineral make-up?

Check reputable websites and magazines and talk to friends who use mineral make-up.If you have problem skin, talk to a clinical dermatologist.Explore a few brands and ask for samples.Check the ingredients list. Products should be fragrance and preservative free and should contain titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, mica and iron oxides as “star” ingredients.If you’re not sure of an ingredient, look it up on the Cosmetic Safety Databasewebsite, www.cosmeticsdatabase.com   
Products should not contain parabens, fragrances, binders or synthetic dyes.Compare the net weight of products.

They are not supported by published research, nor is there any research proving regular liquid (or other types of) foundations are inferior to mineral makeup.

For detailed reviews of mineral makeup from several different brands visit Beautypedia.

Application: Pore Perfect or Poor Performer?

Most mineral makeups are capable of providing opaque coverage (this can be blended to within light to medium coverage range), yet the claim is they do so while looking extremely natural, like a second skin or better than your own skin, which appears to be the case in pictures and on TV infomercials (and just like every other makeup application created for advertising).

In real life, that is not what you will actually see. These powders (most of which are tricky to blend because they tend to “grab” onto skin and don’t glide very well once they touch your skin) can be applied sheer, but the very nature of their ingredients results in a textured application that can look powdery and “made-up”. This is especially true if you have any dry patches on the skin because these mineral powders—many of which claim to be moisturizing which is just ludicrous given the properties of all powder materials, which are absorbent not moisturizing—exacerbate dryness and flaking.

For those with oily skin, mineral makeup can eventually pool in pores and look thick and layered just like any powder can. But zinc oxide is a standard ingredient in lots of sunscreens (and some liquid foundations or tinted moisturizers) and is not unique to mineral makeup.

While zinc oxide does have healing properties for skin (it is FDA-approved as a skin protectant, and a common active ingredient in diaper rash ointments), those healing properties have to do with skin whose barrier has been compromised, such as wounds, ulcers, or rashes. But those studies used pure zinc oxide, the test didn’t include products that also contain other ingredients, such as mica or bismuth oxychloride, or have anything to do with healthy, intact skin.

Mineral makeup is often recommended for those with rosacea but because rosacea is a fickle skin disorder that can be made worse by powders (the granular composition of any powder can be an irritant) it isn’t a slam dunk.

Mineral makeup can work well as a sunscreen as long as the product itself is rated with an SPF 25 or greater, and greater is better, and you can wear it over a moisturizer with sunscreen to get more protection. As is true for any product with an SPF rating, in order to get the right amount of thorough protection, liberal application is essential, which means a sheer light layer of mineral makeup won’t work for protecting your skin from the sun.

Love it or Leave It

If you’re currently using mineral makeup and love the results, that’s great. Without an SPF rating resulting from FDA-mandated sunscreen tests, you won’t know just how much protection you’re getting, and that’s dangerous for the health of your skin.

Although these two minerals are ideal sunscreen agents for those with sensitive skin or conditions such as rosacea, their occlusive nature can contribute to clogged pores. This isn’t new information, yet it doesn’t stop companies selling mineral makeup from advertising their product as being ideal for those suffering from acne or breakouts, with some companies actually stating their mineral makeup helps cure it (an absolute falsehood with no published research proving otherwise)!

Mineral makeup powders often contain a 25% concentration of titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. Liquid foundations or lotions with SPF 25 using only titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide as the sunscreen active ingredients tend to contain a much smaller concentration of these pigments. The amount of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in mineral makeups create the coverage and opaque quality of the powder, allowing more coverage than the usual talc-based powders. However, if you have determined that liquid foundations with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide exacerbate your breakouts, it is quite possible that a mineral makeup containing an even larger concentration of those ingredients will have the same, if not a more pronounced, effect.

What is true is when mineral makeup companies speak of the non-irritating nature of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. This is just a good example of how skewed a company’s definition of “natural” can be, and how they can twist factual information to make other cosmetic company ingredients sound harmful.

Unlike titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, bismuth oxychloride can cause slight skin irritation (Source: www.sciencelab.com/xMSDS-Bismuth_oxychloride-9923103). In the long run this is only an esthetic issue which makes mica a benign addition to any makeup, “mineral” or otherwise.

Talc: Many mineral makeups contain talc while others malign it as an evil, cancer-causing substance. Just because research hasn’t been done on those ingredients they don’t get a free pass.

Dismissing talc as a cheap, inelegant, less desirable, filler material is inaccurate because talc serves as the essential backbone for a number of the most luxurious-feeling powders from dozens of lines ranging from L’Oreal to Chanel.

The skin-care selection from Jane Iredale is limited to a few ancillary products, although a couple of them are definite options if you’re a fan of this line.

For more information about Jane Iredale, call (800) 869-9420 or visit the Web site at www.janeiredale.com.

Iredale’s color line is advertised as “The Skin Care Makeup,” but it isn’t skin-care-like at all, at least not in the way you may imagine. The ingredient lists are also relatively short, which is beneficial for those with sensitivities, but that’s about as skin-caring as this line gets.

You do need to be wary of some of Iredale’s questionable claims, such as “Because our bases are concentrated pigment, the coverage we can achieve is far superior to normal makeup with a minimum amount of product. That’s the nature of any powdered mineral – they are absorbent and as a result can be drying.

Iredale denigrates talc, dismissing it as cheap filler material and an irritant, but talc is the essential backbone for a number of the most luxurious-feeling powders you will find, some of which have a softness and virtually seamless finish on the skin that other lines (including Iredale’s) should envy. The most important element of her mineral makeup is the overall gentle, fragrance-free formula that provides outstanding sun protection.

If the concept of a powdered makeup different from the traditional talc-based powders you’ve seen at the cosmetics counters or drugstores appeals to you, then this line presents some fine choices.

1.0 out of 5 starsNot Good, 17 Feb. 2012

This review is from: JML Magic Minerals Make Up Set by Jerome Alexander (Misc.)

Not keen on this product , couldnt really tell when it had been applied.

5.0 out of 5 starsMagic Minerals Make up, 23 Oct. 2011

This review is from: JML Magic Minerals Make Up Gift Set by Jerome Alexander (Misc.)

Gives a very good finish and very natural whether your 16 or60 This is my second one i have bought

5.0 out of 5 starsvery good, very surprised!!!, 18 July 2011

This review is from: JML Magic Minerals Make Up Gift Set by Jerome Alexander (Misc.)

I’ve always had acne from the age of 12 (24 now) tried all sorts of make up, some worked some didn’t…

5.0 out of 5 starsface powder, 21 May 2013

This review is from: JML Magic Minerals Make Up Gift Set by Jerome Alexander (Misc.)

used this jml product before .
easy to use,not heavy looking .
gives a natural look which is great and blends in easily

1.0 out of 5 starsDisappointing Magic Minerals, 9 Mar. 2012

This review is from: JML Magic Minerals Make Up Gift Set by Jerome Alexander (Misc.)

I have quite a high colour, which when getting warm or having a drink gets very red. I was thrilled with it but after a couple of days of use my face had completly blown into a very severe case of roseaca (diagnosed by the doctor and medicated) swelling up and very uncomfortable and unsightly. I would say that this product does what it says and does cover and give a beautiful finish but beware as it can also cause skin reactions, I thought as it was said to be all natural minerals that there should be nothing in it to do any harm to my skin but sadly I was wrong.

1.0 out of 5 starsDon’t be fooled!, 9 Feb. 2012

This review is from: JML Magic Minerals Make Up Gift Set by Jerome Alexander (Misc.)

This product is awful to say the least. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!
If there are people with skin like mine I would suggest a liquid foundation instead for a guarenteed coverage ( i have spent hundreds of pounds on make up being a huge fanatic) I personally use and would heavily suggest revlon colour stay in ivory it is my absolute favourite! It is pale enough and provides excellent coverage but is a little pricey around 13 pounds but much more worth while then this product and a little goes a long way.

By all means buy this product if you have a good complexion but to be honest I don’t see what all the fuss is about even if I had flawless skin I would not buy this heavily overpriced product.

5.0 out of 5 starsmagic minerals, 6 Mar. 2014

This review is from: JML Magic Minerals Make Up Gift Set by Jerome Alexander (Misc.)

I have used this product before and found it excellent.

5.0 out of 5 starsBrilliant Magic Minerals!, 30 Jan. 2014

This review is from: JML Magic Minerals Make Up Gift Set by Jerome Alexander (Misc.)

Just literally received this product through the post, and wanted to use straight away. It has covered up all my broken capillaries (they are not too bad, but I can see them especially around nose and foundation does not cover them) and covered up a bit of acne that is in the healing stage, and evened out my skin tone overall, and I have to say, my complexion now looks great! All other foundations etc makes my skin dry (then I get shine in the afternoon!) as I use acne creams that dries the skin out, so had to use sparingly on just the areas that needed coverage, but this I can use all over my face without any itchiness or dryness. dark rings,red patches ect..
I normally buy mineral makeup and know that it is extremely kind to older skin (Im mid forties)and skin imperfections ie lines and wrinkles, so was eager to try out this product which said that it was a self correcting mineral powder . I would say it works just like a mineral powder foundation without applying skin correctors first.Resulting in slight overall tone coverage but impurfections still show through.
I will use this as I’v paid for it, but will have to apply an undercoat first on dark circles ect…

what i wore 5

You might have noticed if you follow me on Facebook and Instagram that a lot of people recently have been admiring my foundation and today I am here to tell you about my new found love!!

A couple of months ago I told you guys about my top 5 foundations and I still stick by them, but being a beauty blogger I am always trying out new products for you and believe me, very few make the cut! Of course Fuschia sent me some makeup to try out ahead of the event and I gave the mineral foundation a try, after all anyone I know who uses Mineral seems to love it, so I gave it another chance!

After I used it and fell in love with it, my skin looked glowy, I had full coverage, amazing coverage actually and it lasted….. She then went on to explain that the mineral foundation has NO talc in it – which is responsible for that chalky look powder foundation usually gives.

I did have a tiny amount of my liquid foundation on first to even my skin tone, but the Fuschia makeup artist said they all apply it over a small amount of the liquid for extra lasting benefits. Dabbing my Crown foundation round buffer brush into a 5 cent coin size amount of mineral foundation, I then turn the brush upwards and tap it off my makeup shelf so the powder falls down deep in the bristles (that way you’re not dabbing it directly onto the skin).

4. In circular motions, I blend the mineral foundation all over my face, building slightly for the perfect coverage. The coverage needs to be built up with thin layers and the product needs time to warm up to your skin and mix with your natural oils.

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