Mineral products have been at the forefront of the cosmetics industry for quite some time. They are now being sold everywhere from drugstores to department stores, health food stores, spas, home shopping networks and infomercials, but what is all the hoopla about? The emergence of mineral cosmetics can most certainly be attributed to a growing consciousness toward greener and healthier living. Plus, everyone can benefit from having at least a mineral powder: the sun protective factor is unbeatable and mineral powders are a lot more convenient to re-apply throughout the day than traditional sunscreens—and a lot less sticky. The right mineral product should in fact look and feel like there is nothing on your skin at all, but, as is the case with all cosmetics, there are a lot of things to know about using and choosing the right mineral product.
The biggest claim behind mineral cosmetics is that minerals are naturally derived and therefore better for your skin. This is true for the most part, but unfortunately not all mineral products exclusively contain the best natural ingredients and, like traditional cosmetics, fillers are often added to the product. Mineral items do provide a natural sunscreen, which is largely due to the fact that titanium dioxide, the main ingredient in all mineral products, provides natural SPF and is used in most traditional cosmetics for its shiny, reflective properties. If the ratio is imbalanced with mineral products—and more specifically with mineral foundations—the use of titanium dioxide can create an ashy or grey appearance. This is more commonly the case for ethnic skin-tones and can also be attributed to the industry standard “buffing” techniques taught to consumers by many mineral product lines. A quality mineral product should be balanced with the right amount of pigments to counteract this. Below are our the top recommendations for mineral products.
Iredale cosmetics were originally available exclusively through plastic surgeons and medi-spas. But, as treatments in cosmetic surgery and dermatology advanced, so did the demand for a product that could be used on the skin immediately following procedures such as chemical facial peels, dermabrasion, etc. In 1994, Jane Iredale created the perfect product for this growing need and has since expanded the concept into what is now a full range of cosmetics: lip-liners, lip-gloss and cream blush. Maintaining a philosophy that cosmetics should be good for your skin and sold in an environment where buyers may consult with highly trained specialists, Iredale cosmetics are sold in the finest spas and salons as well as medi-spas, dermatologists and plastic surgeons offices in more than 45 countries throughout the world. Iredale’s mineral foundations offer a unique anti-inflammatory combination of titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and concentrated pigments that are superior to any mineral product on the market. The line also offers the best selection of foundation shades—24 in total, including an amazing selection of global shades—as well as a texture that yields the most natural, realistic appearance for any complexion.
Laura Mercier is the first “artistry” brand to successfully tap into the mineral category while still maintaining the brand philosophy of obtainable beauty and user-friendly formulations. Mercier has cleverly combined pearl powder and mica to yield a warm, natural glowing finish, and the ultra-fine texture is beautiful and extremely easy to use. Although there are currently only seven shades of the mineral foundation available, Laura Mercier’s mineral foundations, mineral finishing powders and mineral primer are all excellent choices.
Freeze 24/7 first introduced a hugely successful line of skincare products to focus on anti-aging with patented scientific technology. The company has recently introduced a small line of mineral cosmetics with its Freeze and Glow Basics Kits, which contain two mineral foundations, a bronzer, a blush and two brushes. Although limited to only three shades of foundation, the minerals utilize the exclusive Freeze 24/7 technologies is that are hydrating and deliver a soft and very realistic natural finish.
Final Tips: As with any foundation it is important to prep the skin before applying—thoroughly exfoliated and hydrated skin is crucial for a smooth application—and this is particularly true with mineral products. Using a foundation should never replace skincare and constantly reapplying cosmetics can exacerbate the problem. If you have excessively dry, flakey skin it may be more challenging to create a natural finish with a mineral product, so it is particularly important to focus on exfoliating and hydrating. Mineral cosmetics work extremely well for oily skin and many people with acne and other skin conditions claim that the use of mineral cosmetics has actually improved their skin.
A dense brush is ideal for the best application of a mineral product, but once again try to avoid any excessive buffing. Short, gentle, feathery brushstrokes work best for more concentrated applications or to achieve maximum coverage, while longer, broader strokes work best for lighter and sheer applications. Sponges work particularly well with pressed minerals. Lastly, when combining a mineral foundation with a cream concealer you may have better results using the cream concealer before applying the mineral powder.
Editor’s Note: Geoffrey Rodriguez is a celebrity makeup artist and is not paid to endorse any of the aforementioned products. All products reviewed are done so objectively and have been thoroughly tried and used by Rodriguez.