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Makeup application in a skin care clinic using Colorescience healthy makeup

What are the benefits of mineral makeup, and why is it so popular?

Editorial note: an earlier version of this post first appeared on Dec 4, 2012. It was updated on October 20, 2020.

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We’ve noticed that people love to look their best. To do that, they aim to hide their flaws. People also seem to enjoy self-expression through creativity. So, it’s no wonder that makeup is so popular, especially among women.

Face painting is nothing new, of course; cultures around the world have been applying colourants to their skin for ages. The earth is full of pigments that can be found in nature – civilizations made body art without laboratories for a long time!

With the advent of the industrial age, synthetic makeup formulations began to take off. But, these days, there’s a lot of buzz around “mineral makeup.” Surely, it seems like a brilliant way to go ‘back to our roots.’ Why not ditch all the ‘bad stuff,’ and switch to nature’s purest ingredients for colouring our skin?

Whether or not mineral makeup fits that ideal is hard to determine. But we discuss it in detail at the following blog post, so you can decide for yourself:

If you’re new to the concept, you may be wondering: what are the benefits of mineral makeup? Why is it so popular? Should I switch all my makeup to mineral alternatives?

We’ll attempt to answer those questions in this article! Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of mineral makeup.

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Colorescience pressed foundation compacts showing shades

Let’s take a trip down memory lane (for those of us who are old enough!). Our scene is in Northern California (near San Francisco, in Los Gatos), during the mid-1970s. Diane Richardson Ranger, a former school teacher, has opened a shop to sell chemical-free, natural body care products. During the hippie era, going natural was all the rage (and it still influences our mainstream culture today).

Among her selection of toiletries and sundries, Diane particularly fell in love with this new, pigmented powder she started experimenting with: mineral makeup. It was a totally new way to hide skin imperfections. That was its goal back then: mostly as a natural covering for issues like rosacea and uneven pigmentation. For Diane, mineral makeup wasn’t meant to replace colour palettes for the face. Though, it was colourful, and beautiful.

In 1976, Diane created a company called Bare Escentuals. If you’re thinking that sounds oddly similar to “Bare Minerals,” you’re right. Bare Escentuals makes bareMinerals makeup.

In 1994, Diane put up Bare Escentuals for sale. Guess who bought it? A TV-ready personality named Leslie Blodgett. Leslie had a background in developing makeup products for big brands. She saw Diane’s non-irritating, chemical-free, creamy makeup powder, which was unlike anything she’d ever come across in the industry before. She thought: I can sell this! And, she did. She called it bareMinerals.

Leslie started appearing on infomercials, and became wildly successful. Consumers loved that this makeup wouldn’t cause problems for sensitive skin, nor cause breakouts.

But what happened to Diane? She kept going! Diane bought a lab (Body Chemistry Manufacturing) where she started creating and consulting with other brands that were jumping on the mineral makeup ‘bandwagon.’ She kept innovating to create better, and better natural makeup products.

By the year 2000, Diane started Colorescience® (formerly Colorescience Pro). Her LinkedIn profile describes it as “the most innovative mineral makeup company in the business.”

While acting as the President and CEO of Colorescience®, Diane launched a mineral-based, powder sunscreen.

Why was this special? Well, of course, it’s well-known that zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are both the main ingredients in mineral makeup, and the active ingredients in physical SPF. But mineral makeup isn’t always protective enough to be a true SPF. A graded and tested powder sunscreen, however, can go on over makeup. This way, women can diligently reapply their sunscreen every 2 hours, as recommended by doctors.

Diane stepped down from her CEO and presidency role at Colorescience® in 2009.

Today, Colorescience® continues to create and innovate. The company has released liquid body sunscreen, foundations, makeup colour palettes and even daytime skincare treatments for redness, hyperpigmentation, aging skin and dark eye circles.

Their mantra is all about sun protection; most of their products have some sort of SPF rating in them. They are also gentle enough to be used on post-procedure skin. For that reason, they are sold in many skin clinics and doctor’s offices.

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What are the benefits of mineral makeup?

Above, we explained how Leslie Blodgett ‘struck gold’ when she presented the world with a chemical-free, irritant-free makeup line. It was perfect for sensitive skin or those who wanted to cover up uneven skin tone, without acne breakouts.

But, what about everyone else? Are there benefits to using mineral makeup over conventional makeup for the average user? Yes! We’ll explain 5 key benefits of mineral makeup below:

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1) Mineral makeup has built-in sun protection

While it’s definitely not meant to replace your underlayer of high-SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen, mineral makeup provides added protection from UV rays.

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the main sunblockers in mineral makeup. They are commonly used in mineral sunscreen products.

In fact, it is now believed that iron oxides, used as colourants in makeup, can protect from blue light skin damage, too. This is why tinted sunscreens are becoming popular.

High-quality, mineral makeup will have a confirmed SPF rating. For this rating, it must create enough of a ‘block’ from the sun to actually protect the skin from harmful, solar radiation.

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2) Mineral makeup is non-comedogenic, and breathable

woman applying Colorescience mineral sunscreen powder over makeup during daytime

If it’s made with pure minerals and avoids ‘problem ingredients,’ mineral makeup should be non-comedogenic. This means it won’t clog pores, which would lead to acne. The main pore clogger in other types of cosmetics would be talc. However, most quality-made mineral makeup brands will boast being talc-free.

Of course, there are other cosmetic ingredients that can clog pores. So, to be safe, look for “non-comedogenic” and “oil-free” on product labels.

The cool thing about talc-free mineral makeup is that it ‘sits’ on top of water, instead of mixing with it. This is believed to be the way it behaves on skin. It forms a layer of coverage only on the surface of skin, while allowing pores to continue breathing.

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3) Mineral makeup contains anti-inflammatory ingredients, to calm irritated skin

All Calm redness skin care by Colorescience with mineral tinted SPF

For those who suffer from rosacea, eczema, acne, or otherwise sensitive skin, mineral makeup can provide some relief. Zinc oxide, one of its main ingredients, is also used in calamine lotion and diaper cream, to soothe skin rashes and itching.

Titanium dioxide, another major ingredient in mineral makeup, is also antimicrobial (which includes being antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, etc.). This non-toxic ingredient can thus help with skin that is inflamed due to excess bacteria (such as acne and rosacea).

Plus, mineral makeup is popular for not including chemical-based dyes, synthetic fragrances and petroleum-based ingredients (such as phthalates, mineral oil, paraffin wax or petroleum jelly). They also don’t include preservatives like parabens, nor chemical-based sunscreens like avobenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone or others.

While the above ingredients are not necessarily bad (when used responsibly), they can present potential issues on people with sensitive skin. They can also create ‘random’ allergic reactions on people who don’t have sensitive skin. They create an ‘unknown,’ which is why mineral makeup is so great; it just doesn’t include any of those questionable ingredients, even if their risks are low.

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4) Mineral makeup is light-weight with dense coverage that stays put

woman applying Colorescience Total Eye mineral Makeup eye cream in car mirror

As if the ‘pros’ listed above are not enough, mineral makeup takes the win by also giving great coverage without being ‘cakey.’ Most makeup-wearers can testify that the feeling of ‘heavy,’ oily, ‘goo’ on your skin, especially on a hot day, is just awful.

With traditional makeup, ‘gooey’ thickness in a product is the only way to get adequate coverage. But that’s not the case with quality mineral makeup. When manufactured using modern methods, its fine particles provide enough pigment with only a thin application layer. So, mineral makeup feels light, stays put and doesn’t ‘melt’ in the heat.

Some mineral makeup formulas are also water-resistant! So, you can wear them to the pool!

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5) Mineral makeup brands can add skin-boosting ingredients to their formulas

Colorescience powder and foundation tester products at our medical laser clinic in surrey

These days, high-quality mineral makeup brands are not just popular for what they don’t contain; they’re building a reputation for what they do contain. Now that they’ve taken out the ‘bad stuff,’ they’re adding antioxidants, conditioners and other skin-boosters to their ingredients lists.

In some cases, you can get healthy, skin pampering while you flaunt your flawless face all day! Bottles of goodness, like the Colorescience® All Calm™ Clinical Redness Corrector, can offer a trio of benefits: liquid mineral makeup coverage, high SPF and a skin redness treatment, all in one.

Even mineral powder foundations can contain extra beneficial ingredients these days. Take, for example, the Colorescience® Natural Finish Pressed Mineral Foundation. It contains antioxidants like carrot seed oil and vitamin E, along with an SPF rating of 20.

The list goes on, and, as time goes by, the formulas get more and more exciting for skincare enthusiasts.

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To conclude: quality mineral makeup deserves the clout it’s getting in the beauty world!

Colorescience mineral pressed powder foundation compact for hydrating coverage

While mineral makeup may have started off as a relatively-unknown, barefoot hippie concept, it grew in popularity when it landed in the hands of a skilled publicist. Surely, it had a lot of credibility to its substance and research. It just needed the right kind of consumer education, which we have today.

We can thank Diane Ranger for inventing mineral makeup, and Leslie Blodgett for turning it into an item we find in every makeup bag. As for its latest innovations, we can continue to thank Diane for her continual creations, which she spearheaded with Body Chemistry Manufacturing and eventually, Colorescience®.

Now, we have a healthy makeup alternative to chemical-laden colourants. If we have sensitive skin, rosacea, acne or just hate the ‘heavy’ feeling of liquid foundation, we can wear mineral makeup as a solution.

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