What is Pure Mineral Makeup?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Natural makeup is often more attractive than caked-on makeup.
Natural makeup is often more attractive than caked-on makeup.

Pure mineral makeup is a mineral makeup product which contains only minerals, with no added ingredients used as filler or designed to improve the texture of the makeup. Consumers should be aware that labeling of mineral makeup is not governed by law, which means that even if a label says that a product is “pure mineral makeup,” it may not be. The only way to determine whether or not mineral makeup has ingredients other than minerals is to read the ingredient list, or to purchase makeup from a highly reputable manufacturer which has a reputation for producing pure products and providing very clear labels.

Pure mineral makeup is usually only available in foundation or blush form.
Pure mineral makeup is usually only available in foundation or blush form.

As one might imagine from the name, mineral makeup is made from minerals which are ground up to create a fine powder. While the craze for mineral makeup is often dated to the 1970s, when these products began to be marketed on a major scale, the use of minerals in makeup is actually quite old. In fact, many ancient cosmetics were mineral based, and many of the same minerals used in mineral makeup are also found in conventional cosmetics.

Foundation, which covers up perceived skin blemishes, is the first step to applying makeup.
Foundation, which covers up perceived skin blemishes, is the first step to applying makeup.

Pure mineral makeup is usually only available in the form of a foundation or blush, because it is not possible to achieve the proper texture for things like eyeshadow, lipstick, and so forth with minerals alone. However, some manufacturers of mineral makeup also produce “natural” makeup products which are not possible to make in pure mineral form, with a focus on using natural, non-reactive ingredients rather than synthetics, with some minerals added to coordinate with a mineral makeup line.

Mica has long been used in cosmetics.
Mica has long been used in cosmetics.

Some minerals commonly used in pure mineral makeup include: kaolin clay, iron oxide, titanium dioxide, mica, zinc oxide, and mineral-based pigments such as ultramarine. Fans of pure mineral makeup claim that it is less hard on the skin than other makeup products, because it does not block the pores, although it can act as an irritant and some consumers claim that it dries their skin. Mineral makeup also sometimes lacks the sun protection of other makeup products.

When evaluating makeup products for purchase, consumers may want to know that mineral makeup can be difficult to apply to dark skin tones. Depending on the tone of a user's skin and the brand, mineral makeup can look sallow, ashy, or highly artificial. It's a good idea to test several products at a makeup counter to see if a particular brand is an especially good fit. People who are concerned about irritants can apply mineral makeup to the inside of the elbow, a very sensitive area of skin, to see if they develop blotchy skin or any other signs of skin irritation.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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    • Natural makeup is often more attractive than caked-on makeup.
      By: Lvnel
      Natural makeup is often more attractive than caked-on makeup.
    • Pure mineral makeup is usually only available in foundation or blush form.
      By: armina
      Pure mineral makeup is usually only available in foundation or blush form.
    • Foundation, which covers up perceived skin blemishes, is the first step to applying makeup.
      By: geargodz
      Foundation, which covers up perceived skin blemishes, is the first step to applying makeup.
    • Mica has long been used in cosmetics.
      By: vvoe
      Mica has long been used in cosmetics.