Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

What exactly is mineral makeup?

Mineral makeup are products that contain all natural minerals found in the earth. It lacks certain ingredients like preservatives, chemicals, and dyes that are prevelant in the typical cosmetic market. With the push for eco-friendly makeup, green makeup, and simply trying to go more natural with our beauty routines, mineral makeup has really taken off.

Is it better for you?

This is still a debatable subject. It really depends just how natural or organic your makeup is, and whether or not is has been qualified by an organization to have met certain, rigorous standards. Some say that the ingredients found in mineral makeup have been used for decades in traditional makeup. Others point out the fact that there are simply less ingredients, especially known irritants and comedogenics, which make it better for the skin.

Who might like it?

  • Those with sensitive skin may find this a great alternative because many mineral makeup lines that are available have significantly less potentially irritating ingredients.
  • Those with acne-prone skin may find the lack of comedogenic ingredients a huge plus, because they don’t have to think about which of the many comedogenic ingredients are causing their breakouts. Instead, they make the switch to mineral. Of course, it will depend on the cause, type, prevalence, and an assortment of factors, on whether or not mineral makeup solves your acne issues or if it is only part of the solution.
  • Those with oilier skin may find that the wide range of mineral powders appealing. Of course, many mineral powders are milled so finely that dry skin can get away with it, and with the popularity of natural makeup, companies have started producing liquid and cream versions.
  • Those who hate the feel of foundation or powders. Mineral makeup does tend to be lighter, especially because it is such a finely milled powder product.

You’re going to have to do your homework.

If you really want it to be natural or organic or truly mineral, you have to pay attention to ingredient lists, company philosophies, and have a keen eye to see whether brands are touting themselves as approved or guaranteed or some sort of message that conveys their ingredients have undergone inspection or verification.

Watch for questionable ingredients like bismuth, which many people have skin issues with, and it is technically considered a mineral ingredient. Bismuth is a skin irritant for some, and it has been known to contribute to acne. Many products use bismuth to help add bulk to them. Like most potentially irritating ingredients, if it is listed towards the end of the ingredient list, it is likely to be a non-issue.

How do you feel about mineral makeup? Do you think it’s better for your skin as its often touted?

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

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58 thoughts on “Mineral Makeup aka ESCA Makeup aka Natural Makeup – What is it? What does it do?

  1. mineral makeup always makes me break out… or not actually break out but definitely have an allergic reaction. i was so excited to try mac mineral makeup when it came out but i had to return it after it caused the same reaction as bare minerals. :[

    • Eva

      Brandi, both MAC and BE aren´t the purest of mineral make up.
      Both contain, among other things, Bismuth Oxychloride, which causes itchiness and breakous in many people.
      If you want to try “real” mineral make up, try MAD minerals, Aromaleigh, Meow Cosmetics, Everydayminerals, Lumiere Cosmetics, Buff´d, LauRess…the list is long…and those are much cheaper than MAC, too!

      • Kat

        Good recommendation for truely pure makeup – I went to Everydayminerals and got a pile of free sample shades sent over to me and then when I’d tested and picked my colours got a kit sent out to me too. It’s wonderful, goes on easily and doesn’t both my spot prone skine nearly as much as other minerals have like Laura Mercier. And even with the shipping to England it worked out really good value. quick delievry and nice brushes too.

        So Thank You very much Eva for the suggestion, my skin and wallet also say Thanks.

    • Oh no! It might be bismuth, because it is in both MAC & Bare Minerals!

    • Liv

      Bare Minerals worked for me for a little bit then all of a sudden im getting a reaction to it, its not like im breaking out with pimples but bumps all over the place, as well as the mac minerals. thats crazy

  2. Shefali

    I use MAC’s MSFN everyday and love the coverage. I also like that it’s packed instead of loose – I feel that gives me more control over how much I’m putting. I have acne-prone skin but I’ve not had any issues while using MSFN. I also feel that my skin looks much better since I started using it and stopped using liquid or stick foundation.

    I tried BE and did not like it at all. I didn’t feel it gave me any coverage. Not sure if it would make me breakout…probably not.

  3. Carolyn

    I don’t know that it’s better, but I do prefer it.

    When I first started wearing mineral make-up, I bought the whole starter kit. As time went on, I started to really realize that I didn’t like the fact that the concealer was a powder. Now I simply use my regular concealer (well, it’s actually a foundation I use as a concealer) in trouble spots and then dust my face with mineral powder.

    I think that one of the things people find tricky about switching is the coverage issue. BE is really meant to be buildable, so that it can be layered to achieve proper coverage. I personally use the larger brush and just sweep it on, but if there’s a day my skin is looking particularly rough, I’m more than happy to really buff it on with the kabuki.

  4. Cristina

    I use mineral foundation regularly because it doesn’t cake and feels light on my skin. Not too fond of mineral blushes because they don’t last.

  5. Tracy

    I’ve been trying to use makeup and skincare products that don’t have harsh chemicals in them for a while now. More skincare than makeup though.. it’s hard to find eyeshadow without talc in it, which is considered an irritant.

    Here is a really good reference for ingredients to avoid (and suki is an amazing skin care line as well. they now have makeup too)

    http://sukipure.com/quality_toxic.php

    • Hey Tracy! I have a few Suki items, actually, but I haven’t gotten a chance to really try them completely. I’m happy to know you enjoy their line!

  6. Tonee

    I must confess I haven’t tried out every single mineral make up brand out there and probably never will. I like the make up products I currently use (primarily MAC, Laura Mercier, Urban Decay, Revlon and Smashbox), and since I am not allergic to any products, will continue to use them.

    The only mineral make up brand I currently use is Alima and I love it. The color selection is great, the customer service is outstanding and they ship to just about anywhere in the world. Since I have combination-to-oily skin, I find that mineral makeup provides a better finish with minimal application and does not require touch ups during the day. Even mineral eye shadows work better than most regular products and hardly crease – even when a primer is not used.

    Revlon and MAC have launched mineral make up products recently and I hope to try them out soon.

  7. Jules

    Has anybody tried the L’oreal or Maybeline lines?

    • claudia m.

      I tried L’oreal and had a reaction to it. My sister in law was raving about Ulta’s mineral makeup and I tried it and loooove it. Been wearing it for a week straight and I’m finally clearing up and it looks gorgeous, lasts all day, I’m totally happy with it. Hope you find one you like =)

  8. Lingping

    I use a BE foundation, and I totally love it. Don’t know if it is better for the skin, becuause it is the first one I found that matched my skin and din’t feel icky on, so I’ve stuck with it :)

    I also like the eye shadows from BE, and yesterday I got my first eyeshadow from GloMinerals – a trio in the color coffee. I say “my first” because I like it a lot. No need for touch ups after a full, hot and stressful work day, even with no primer, and good, blendable and well pigmented shades.

    But I have to agree with you, Carolyn, I don’t like the powder consealer, so I’ve gone back to my normal concealers. I also use “regular” mascaras, lip- and cheek products. I have a few mineral blushes, and they are ok, but I’m using my nice and shiny The Body Shop pretty blush with daisies in and my Mac MSF now, and I can’t be without those a single day :)

    wow, that was a long comment, sorry about that :)

  9. Denise

    Yes I definitely believe that mineral make up is better for the skin. Since I’ve been using Bare Minerals makeup (about 2 months) I have not had one acne breakout. Prior to using the mineral make up and using liquid foundation I was getting breakouts at least three times a month. I thought it was hormonal, but when I switched makeup and they stopped I realized it was the makeup. I will never go back to liquid foundation. I am so happy I made the switch and I get compliments all the time about how beautiful and natural my make up looks.

  10. Eva

    I am using mineral make up for about a year now..and my skin has never looked better.
    I get compliments now on how good and smooth my skin looks.. :o)
    I still use traditional eyeshadows (MAC, Bobbi Brown, TooFaced), but my face only gets the purest minerals.
    Since I have rather dry skin, it takes a little testing to see which brands work, but I don´t have problems with mineral blushes fading on me.
    I really like the fact that it is much cheaper than other make up ( I now own about 30 blushes, mostly samples – the last forever!), that there are *way* more colours to choose from than with traditional brands and that “Casper”-skinned girls like me can finally find a match!!
    What´s not to like?

  11. Jill

    I use bare minerals face products, and I have to say that I absoloutley love it. The first time I tried it, I remember thinking how well it covered my skin and how natural it looked. I purchased the starter kit which comes with 2 foundations, 1 bare radiance (bronzer) and 1 mineral veil (setting/translucent powder to minimize shine during the day). It also comes with 3 brushes. 1 concealer brush, 1 flawless face brush (foundation brush) and 1 kabuki brush (my favorite). The kit also includes bareVitamins which is like a moisturizer.

    I’ve been using bare minerals for about seven months now, and I’ve noticed how much smoother my skin is. The only time I break out is around that time of the month, but other than that, it makes your skin smoother, and it improves its appearance.

  12. Avatar of Carrie Carrie

    For those looking for a “natural” concealer, I’ve just been using the new Physician’s Formula Organic Wear concealer for about a week and OMG — love it. I’ve always had problems with cream/stick concealers caking and flaking but this stuff is great.

    Too bad the blush from that line kind of sucks — it’s pretty light and chalky on me, and I’m chalky and pale to begin with, so I can’t imagine how it works on folks with more pigmented skin.

    Overall I love MMU and am using it more and more as time goes on.

  13. Leigh

    I use Bare Minerals and LOVE it. I have to mix two shades to get my skin color, but that’s really no trouble. It covers everything (especially redness and acne scars) like there’s no tomorrow, and is really quick to put on. The first week I started using it, a complete stranger told me I had “gorgeous skin,” so I was sold, and have been using it for the past two years with no complaints :] (Jeese, I sound like a commercial! Haha) I’m curious about other brands of mineral makeup and want to try them, but I really see no point *shrugs*

    I personally don’t like the BE blushes though- they tend to be too glittery for my taste. Their eyeshadows are alright, but I just stick to MAC for that.

  14. Julieah

    I just got the Bare Minerals about three weeks ago, and I’m falling in love with it. It’s really airy on my skin. I had been on a four month long search for the perfect foundation — I literally tried eight different foundations, including 2 from MAC, 2 from Lancome, Shisheido, Estee Lauder, Prescriptives, and Clinique, and nothing matched me completely. But the Bare Minerals totally matched perfectly and it looks gorgeous on my skin.

  15. lina

    I use everyday minerals and I love it! It’s a very good price and works well for me

  16. claudia m.

    I tried BM at Sephora and was itching on my way home, immediately washed it off. L’oreal? same thing, I broke out. Tried Ulta and I’m so obsessed with their mineral collection, they have absolutely gorgeous eyeshadows. I’m happy and have gotten so many compliments. Most importantly from my hubby who this morning, lifted his head from his pillow and said I was having a good make up day. What more can you ask for? =)

  17. Dals

    I’ve been using Bare Minerals and it works great, but I have to say- it is SO easy to spill the stuff! When I have to travel and put it in my cosmetics bag, a lot of the foundation comes up to the top of the container, and it is difficult to keep it from spilling when you open the lid.

    I heard that Jane Iredale makes a great mineral makeup foundation- and it’s pressed. I’m thinking of making the purchase, but the hefty price tag is making me delay my decision.

    Does anyone know of a less expensive pressed mineral foundation that works like Bare Minerals?

    • I’m really glad that BM has been working for you, Dals! :)

      IMO, pressed mineral foundation isn’t as good as loose, just because it doesn’t go on as smoothly, but it’s not bad.

  18. toni

    i love Bare Minerals. I got a little starter kit for xmas 3years ago and use it 90% of the time. i have mac studio fix and I just feel ‘cleaner’ with my mineral makeup. just my personal preference though

  19. Lindsay

    I use Illuminare, a liquid mineral foundation, and I love it. SPF 21, great coverage, helps control oil and doesn’t make me break out- what’s not to love? I’ve tried traditional powder mineral foundations, but I don’t feel that they give me enough coverage. None of the ones I’ve tried can stand up to my incredibly oily face without pooling and/or oxidizing.

  20. Rubi

    I tried bare minerals and while I thought it felt good on my skin (I had terrible acne then) I couldn’t get over all the sparkle in it for day. I have a couple of “tiny” lines starting here and there and it caked into them and made me look almost my real age, OUCH! I use Stila Illuminating foundation and I think the price is reasonable and it is sheer and feels good. I blot it with a clean and clear blotting sheet about a minute after I apply.

    • If you buff it in more, Rubi, the sparkle should go away (it’s the mica), just as an FYI :)

      I’m glad you like Stila’s Illuminating Foundation!

  21. dottie

    Pur Minerals worked good for me, but I’m getting into even more with the mineral eye makeup with aromaleigh and pure luxe cosmetics. At least you can order samples from both websites.

  22. Laura

    I swore off liquid makeup a few years ago, and I figured since I was going to go with powder foundation anyway I might as well make it natural. I buy from online e-tailers like Aromaleigh and Everday Minerals. Great stuff at great prices.

  23. Melody

    Give Mary Kay mineral based foundations a try. The brush is fabulous!!

  24. ivy

    Mineral makeups are really good for the skin. I don’t experience breakouts and the finish can be equal to a studio fix.

    Several brands are there like Lauress, Buff’d, Aromaleigh, Joppa, Lumiere, Pure Anada and the like. They provide medium-heavy coverage for foundations that with the right tools, will give you an airbrushed look.:)

    The blushes and eyeshadows provide a whole range of colors beyond your imagination.

    And get this, you need a little amount, like less than a grain to achieve the look you want! How cool is that?:)

  25. Hillary

    You know, I just came across this site, and I thought to put in my two cents as an artist and cosmetic hound. I work for BE and I know that after working for three other lines with mineral make ups (philosophy, Clinique and Trish McEvoy) I truly enjoy the way that BE looks and feels on my skin. The way the shadows wear is fantastic and they never crease!
    I used to love the MAC but studio fix always separated when I got oily throughout the day. Now I rarely touch up!
    The itching is common is almost all mineral make ups though, it the minerals being active on your skin. If you wear a primer, it is not as bad and your skin adapts.
    I love this stuff. My skin has never looked better and I am 37!