Mineral makeup hasn't always had the best rep. In the past, you may have associated it with a chalky, grainy texture and a full-on mask-like effect. And that's a sentiment makeup artist Aimee Adams agrees with. "I never used to carry mineral-based makeup in my kit, " she says. "It was quite heavy on the skin and not as easy to work with. But now that the textures have gotten lighter and you can get mineral makeup in liquid form, I have a couple of varieties on me at all times." Plus, it's fair to say that mineral brands of 10 years ago didn't have the variety and luxe feeling of "regular" makeup.
But times have changed. A lot. Mineral makeup has never been more innovative, creative and sought-after, and for good reason. Not only are the formulations some of the most desirable, but the skin-boosting side effects are better than ever. So how is it made? Well, minerals such as mica, zinc and titanium oxide are milled to a super-fine consistency, and this is then combined with pigment. However, it's often what's not contained in mineral makeup that makes it more beneficial. You won't find any oils, waxes, preservatives, synthetic fragrances or bulking agents that are used by conventional makeup brands, so they can use less pigment, and therefore you need to use more it to get the coverage you want. Mineral makeup really does go a lot further, and the more you wear it, the better your skin gets. So why wouldn't you want to switch up?
Read on to discover all the reasons you need to know for converting to mineral makeup.
1. It's non-comedogenic
In simple terms, that means that mineral makeup, unlike a lot of other makeup, won't clog up your pores. This is because mineral makeup doesn't contain talc, which stays on the surface of the skin, sinking into pores and getting them nice and dirty. Therefore, if you suffer with enlarged pores or breakouts, mineral makeup is ideal for you.
2. It's got SPF built in
"Many mineral makeup products contain zinc oxide, which, as well as being a great skin healer, is a natural, nontoxic sunscreen to prevent burning, signs of photo-ageing and irritation," explains Kerrie Smyth, skincare specialist for Glo Minerals.
3. it's ideal for sensitive skin
"I always ask a client what their skin is like, and if they say it's sensitive and reactive, I immediately reach for a mineral foundation instead of a regular one," says Aimee Adams. Unlike other foundations, mineral bases don't contain chemical dyes. Rather, they use the natural dyes from the minerals, and by excluding chemicals, the formulation allows the skin to breathe more naturally, which is key for sensitive and reactive skin.
4. It's Not all about foundation
When you think of mineral makeup, you probably think it's all about the base, but there's so much more. The advancement of mineral pigment technology in textures other than powders now means you can prettify your entire face using just mineral makeup.
5. It Stays Put
Due to its lack of oils and waxes, mineral makeup doesn't slide off the skin like regular makeup does. "I've used mineral makeup on shoots in really hot locations, and it just doesn't budge, which is amazing," says Aimee. This is all down to a special nylon that mineral makeup contains and makes the makeup heat-, water- and wear-resistant.
6. It's good for your skin
"Mineral makeup acts like skincare. That's why it's recommended by dermatologists and skin specialists all over the world," says SJ Froom, international makeup artist for BareMinerals. "Women wear makeup to feel beautiful and confident, but heavy formulas can cause skin problems, such as breakouts and irritation. This leaves us in a vicious cycle of using more makeup to cover up skin concerns, never giving our skin a chance to be healthy. Mineral makeup contains natural skin-improving ingredients and incredible technology, which means brands don't need to sacrifice health for performance."
7. It contains all kinds of other goodness too
Mineral makeup is pure and contains no nasties. But as well as the minerals, it often can contain lots of skin-boosting goodies too.
"Our new liquid foundation contains bamboo-stem extract to provide a blurring soft focus and papaya enzymes, which promote cell turnover and will leave you with softer, smoother and brighter skin," says SJ.
Also look out for mineral makeup containing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory green-tea extract and soothing chamomile.
Now you're hooked onto mineral makeup, here are the best brands you need to know about.
With a mineral makeup history that spans over 35 years, BareMinerals is probably the most recognisable mineral brand here in the UK. It all began with the iconic mineral powder foundation (which has just had a shade extension to now offer 30 different tones), but it also caters to everything else your makeup bag could need. Not only that, but the brand also offers up impressive skincare products too.
Its latest and most exciting launch is its new liquid foundation, BarePro. This light and easy-to-blend foundation also comes in 30 shades and offers all the skin-soothing benefits of a mineral foundation with the ease and comfort of a liquid one.
Frequently found in dermatologist offices or on cosmeceutical skincare websites, Glo Minerals is designed for skin that needs extra care and attention. All the products have been designed to be used post-procedures and contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial ingredients. The best seller is the pressed foundation, which you can sweep over your face with a large foundation or kabuki brush. It contains a very clever ingredient called octyldodecyl stearoyl stearate, which decreases water loss from the skin by forming a barrier on the skin’s surface without clogging and feeling heavy.
Launched in 2013, PÜR Cosmetics (it was originally known as PÜR Minerals back then) wanted to shake things up in the mineral makeup world by creating innovative products that hadn't been seen or done before. Case in point: their eye polish, the first-ever gel-based mineral eye shadow that was brought to the market. You can apply it with a brush or your finger, and it preps and primes the eyelid so the colour stays in place. It comes in six shades and unsurprisingly has become one of the brand's best sellers.
Founder of Lily Lolo, Vikki, began by making mineral makeup products at home. Fast-forward 10 years and Lily Lolo is a fully fledged successful makeup brand stocked around the globe. Not only do all the products contain absolutely no nasties, as you would expect, but they are totally cruelty-free too. As well as makeup, there are also skincare products (check out the makeup mist), but our absolute favourite product has to be the cheek duos that create a flush of colour. They are available in two shades, a pink duo and then an orange-coral shade that looks fab on darker skins.
Jane's background was originally in TV and film. There she witnessed the effects that heavy makeup had on actresses' skin and knew that an alternative had to be found. That was back in 1994, and Jane Iredale mineral makeup has been growing and growing ever since. You can find it online, but it is more often stocked in dermatologist offices, as it is prescribed for use after procedures. That is how gentle and skin-enhancing the products are. As well as a full makeup range, including her best-selling lip glosses that come in 18 shades, the line also includes skincare and even fake tan products.