Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Lady Doctor Weighs In On Mineral Makeup

Do you use mineral makeup?  Following Bare Essentuals' great infomercial success, dozens of new brands were created, and now even mainstream drugstore brands have "mineral" products.  I'm sure you've read that mineral makeup had been around since the 1970s, favored by hippies and by people with unusually sensitive skin.  It was also used by plastic surgery patients because of its reputation for not causing irritation.  The B.E. site has this to say about their product:
"This extraordinary beauty innovation is composed of 100% pure bareMinerals with no additives and zero irritants whatsoever."

But mineral makeup is nothing new.  Powdered minerals like zinc oxide and bismuth have been used to powder faces for hundreds of years.  The Lady Doctor I introduced you to yesterday recommends face powders that are not very different at all from modern mineral makeup:



She points out that bismuth can be irritating when overused.  That is a current point of controversy in the mineral makeup world.  Some brands do include it and some users enjoy the subtle pink, iridescent glow it gives to powdered skin.  Other brands make a point to come out against it's use.  Talc is another iffy ingredient.  It is used in almost all face powders, but most mineral brands differentiate their product by the absence of talc.  The explanation I've found is that talc particles are extra-tiny, thus they can sink deeper into skin and irritate.  This makes sense, especially in light of recent studies  showing women who use talc-based body powders daily, on private regions, are more prone to ovarian cancer.  The particles get in!  
But some mineral brands pride themselves on micronizing their minerals into extra fine particles.   I wonder if other minerals, made tiny, could also irritate.
The Beauty Brains are putting together a report on mineral makeup.  I expect they'll be able to clear up the confusion I've caused in the above paragraph.

The picture above is an ad for a "cocktail shaker" set, made so that ladies could mix vials of colored powder to create a custom blend.  Looks fun.  Actress Kirsten Dunst was so impressed with the innovative product that she agreed to travel back in time to act as spokesperson.