Since I first began writing a health and beauty column for Low Carb Luxury, the questions I've
received have really run the gamut. But over the last several months, the most often asked
questions by far are about Mineral Makeup.
Well, I hate to admit that I was a little behind the curve (some of us get so set in our ways!),
but the truth is, I didn't know a lot about them... So I decided to do a little research on them
and, of course, take them out for a spin. On my first few "test drives," I remained a little
unsure of why they were enjoying such popularity, but as I became more adept at using them,
things got a bit more clear.
First off, there are thirty or more brands available on the market today. And it appears,
that more are being developed every day. When something takes off in this way, I figure there has to be
As it happens, there are a lot of reasons. Mineral makeup is winning women over with
its ability to simultaneously provide the benefits of both makeup and skin care.
What are mineral makeups?
Natural mineral makeups are mineral pigments derived from rock, micro-pulverized and jet milled
for an incredibly smooth consistency. Mineral pigments are a natural alternative to chemical
makeups, and most do not contain any FD&C dyes, oils, talc, alcohol or fragrance.
What are the benefits to wearing mineral makeup? Here are just some of the reasons to make the
- Minerals are natural.
- The makeup is ideal for all ages and skin types.
- They're lightweight — you don't feel like you're wearing makeup.
- Their natural light–refractive quality diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- They allow your skin to breathe.
- Mineral makeup is composed of inert (inorganic) minerals that cannot support bacteria (therefore, they
can't "spoil," and they can't cause acne.)
- They don't clog pores.
- They're great for sensitive, acne, post-surgical, or problem skin.
- Mineral makeup is soothing, and does not irritate.
- They offer natural sun protection.
So how do they manage the last one? Micronized titanium dioxide is the key. It is found naturally
in minerals and does not clog pores or dry out the skin. It works quite remarkably. Basically, it
allows light to pass through the visible ray region (light that is needed for healthy development
of skin) while intercepting the ultraviolet rays. Micronized titanium dioxide guards against the
damaging effects of ultraviolet rays, yet gives the skin a natural looking finish. Research shows
that micronized titanium dioxide provides a natural barrier to UVA and UVB radiation without irritation,
burning or stinging.
What sort of makeup is available in mineral form?
Virtually everything. There are some brands that offer pressed minerals, some that offer conventional
lipsticks, and some that offer eyeliners and pencils. But the basics are (usually in loose form):
- Blush (and/or Bronzer)
- Eye Colors
- Concealers and Treatments
What brands did I try, and how did they fare?
I would have liked to have tried as many as possible, but in the list below, I've rated by stars, the ones
To be fair, I want to disclose that the only company that was local to me (Columbus, Ohio — about an hour's drive)
was Larenim. I arranged an in-person visit, asked questions about the products, and received
a demonstration. I was able to do this because Lora and Neil, the owners of Low Carb Luxury know the owners,
have done design work for them, and do their product photography. Larenim is also an advertiser in this
magazine. Because of this, Lora and Neil had no part in the evaluations, or my conclusions, and the (high)
rating Larenim received was due to product merit alone.
What caused some brands to rate higher than others?
It didn't take long to see that not all mineral makeups are alike. Some got a few extra points for
convenient packaging, application tips, and extensive color selection. But the bulk of the ratings were
about three things:
The two that felt the best and offered the most natural coverage were Bare Minerals and Larenim. Bare Minerals
offered more formulations and better application instructions, but Larenim gained extra points for not containing
bismuth oxychloride that can cause pores to look larger, and can even create a "greasy, oily" look. Both offered
a large range of colors.
- How did they feel on my skin?
- How did they look on my skin?
- How "clean" were the ingredients?
Innovative color selection for eyes is one area where Larenim really shines. From deep
to pale, from rich to demure, they offer an intoxicating line. With "Gilded Goddess," "Scale of Dragon," and "Crystal
Mirage," you can create a seductive Cleoptra look. And with "Cupid's Curse" and "Ice Princess" you can be the drama
queen. Plus, they offer a "Goth Line" with colors like "Ashes to Ashes," "Purple Reign," and "Type O."
What about the application learning curve?
I expected Jane Iredale to rank at the top, and though it did well, it simply didn't feel as good on my skin
while I was wearing it, nor did it leave my skin feeling as good after removal. On the plus side, the
colors from Jane Iredale are simply lovely, and they offer varieties with 24-Karat food grade gold flakes for a
metalic shimmer I haven't seen elsewhere.
Key to remember: Less is more.
It's true that applying mineral makeup is a bit different from what you may be used to. For example,
to apply loose powder foundation, simply open the jar, remove the seal from the sifter (or puncture a number of holes
in the seal) to control flow. Replace the lid, turn the jar upside down and tap the bottom of the jar. Using the top of
the lid as your palette, work the minerals into the brush with a swirl, tapping off excess. Use a kabuki-style brush
(or a chisel powder brush), and apply minerals in thin
layers using downward strokes. Remember that several light applications are more effective than one heavy application.
If you prefer a cream foundation, mix a small amount of powder into your favorite moisturizer, and you'll have it!
Always remember to cleanse the face and moisturize before applying makeup. Allow the moisturizer to fully absorb into
the skin before beginning.
Mineral makeup is more expensive than its traditional (chemical) counterpart, but not so pricey that most of
us can't afford to try it. Most brands offer sample sizes at very reasonable prices so you can see if it's
right for you. Personally, I may never go back to "drugstore" makeup and my skin is sure to thank me for it!
Copyright © June 2005 Lori Markham and Low Carb Luxury