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The 4 Best Mineral Makeup Brands to Check Out
If you've been following the natural makeup trends, you've definitely come across some mineral makeup options. Mineral makeup is made of processed minerals like iron oxides, talc, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide, which are ground down into tiny particles that can be used as the base for a number of makeup products. It’s touted as a pure, non-pore-clogging option without preservatives, fillers, or binders, and is often recommended for acne-prone skin.
While this category of makeup has been around for a long time (actually, since the ancient Egyptians!) there have been some major improvements over the last 10 years, allowing for a more diverse array of colors and types of products.
Initially, mineral makeup was only available in loose powders (remember the bareMinerals infomercials from the 1990s?), but as the movement toward safer, cleaner cosmetics has grown, so too have the options in the mineral makeup category. Today, you can find just about anything, from pressed powders and liquid foundations to loose and pressed eye shadows to mascaras and eyeliners.
The supposed benefits of mineral makeup are that it's better for your skin, safer for your health, and even works as sun protection due to its zinc and titanium dioxide content. But how true are those claims? Are some brands better than others? We've done the research to unpack the truth and share the best mineral makeup companies on the market.
The Facts vs Fiction in Mineral Makeup Marketing
Most of the marketing around mineral makeup is actually more about what's not in the box or bottle than what's in it. There are also SPF claims, in addition to claims that it could help clear up your problem skin. So what's true?
Claim #1: It's Pure
This claim is true! Authentic mineral makeup is simply a combination of natural mineral substances broken down into tiny particles and mixed in various proportions to create differences in shade and consistency. Therefore, most pure mineral makeup comes in powder form.
Anything that isn't a powder requires a bit more digging if you're looking for chemical-free, clean makeup. That doesn't mean that liquid mineral products are bad, just that you need to do your homework on their ingredients.
Pure powdered mineral makeup products have nothing extra in the INCI to clog your pores, irritate, or damage your skin. You won’t see any synthetics or animal products. Some companies even advertise that it's so clean, you can sleep in it.
The idea behind this claim is that the particles are too big to clog your pores, and are therefore safe. This claim has never been backed up by science, so we don't recommend going to sleep before washing the makeup off your face, especially if you have acne-prone skin.
Claim #2: Mineral Makeup Doubles as Your Sunscreen
This is not true for powders, but may be true for liquids.
A quick walk through the aisle of Sephora or Ulta will reveal that not very many mineral powder foundations make a specific SPF claim on the box or compress, even if the marketing says otherwise.
The FDA regulates SPF claims, and these powders don't quite make the cut. For the most part, truly pure mineral powders offer light coverage and don't provide a solid barrier between the sun and your skin. Liquid mineral foundations, however, might offer a real sunscreen solution. If you choose a full-coverage liquid mineral foundation that skips other harmful additives, then you could be having your cake and eating it too.
Zinc oxide, a common ingredient in mineral sunscreens, is the same protective ingredient in the tube of thick, white paste you see on the cheeks of lifeguards at the beach. But who wants white makeup? Full-coverage mineral foundations combine the protection of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (both recognized as broad spectrum SPF by the FDA) with other mineral pigments like iron dioxide to give you a shade much closer to your natural skin tone.
Claim #3: It’s an All-in-One Makeup and Acne Treatment
The final claim is that, due to mineral makeup's zinc content, it can double as makeup and an acne treatment ingredient at the same time.
This is false.
Zinc is a naturally anti-inflammatory ingredient, and while it's true that some topical anti-inflammatory creams do contain zinc (think diaper cream and calamine lotion), there's no evidence that wearing mineral makeup will treat your acne. At best, mineral makeup is a neutral solution that won't irritate the skin, and therefore won't make matters worse.
Top 4 Best Mineral Makeup Brands
The best mineral makeup brands are talc-free, use nontoxic additives (if any), and go on smoothly. A major complaint about some of the first brands that hit the market is that they're not great for dry skin, as the powdery finish can really settle into the cracks. Those with oily skin might find the loose powders to be perfect for them, giving them a matte finish that will cover up the shine.
Coverage (or lack thereof) is another concern with minerals. Depending on your skin type, you might seek out products marketed as buildable, which means you can layer it to improve coverage in problem areas. We've chosen brands that offer a variety of coverage options, solutions for various skin types, and use the cleanest ingredients.
This is the brand that's marketed as so clean you can sleep in it. Again, we don't recommend this as a daily practice, but bareMinerals has been around since the 1970s and truly pioneered beautiful, clean mineral makeup.
They've expanded their line from strictly loose powders into more versatile products, including Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Sticks (SPF 25), which are a lot less messy at your vanity table or bathroom sink than their original line of loose powders.
That being said, their loose powder original foundations offer incredible, talc-free coverage. Start with a moisturizer if you tend toward drier skin.
2. Jane Iredale
Jane Iredale offers high-end, clean makeup and skincare products featuring mineral pigments that go on smooth with a natural finish. Vegan and cruelty free, these products offer makeup options for every skin type, including sensitive skin. They have a variety of coverage options and a number of SPF options as well.
Jane Iredale Liquid Minerals, a serum-like foundation, comes in 13 different shades. It moisturizes and soothes with anti-inflammatory ingredients like aloe vera, willow bark, calendula, and white tea. All products are talc free, gluten free, hypoallergenic, and won't clog pores.
Pür's tagline is "The Complexion Authority," and that's because they offer unique solutions to common problems. They feature primers that address various skin tone challenges, including redness, dry patches, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation, each with its own formula to go under the perfect pressed powder foundation. Compacts are a great solution for on-the-go touch ups and buildable coverage.
All Pür ingredients are gluten free, paraben free, talc free, vegan, and cruelty free. Some even feature a Farm to Jar™ label, and every product is formulated to improve the condition of your skin over time.
4. Cover FX
Cover FX is dedicated to quality, featuring their values on the bottom of every page of their website: vegan, cruelty free, gluten free, paraben free, phthalate free, mineral oil free, talc free, and fragrance free.
They offer 40 shades in their signature Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation, along with six different primer options so you can get an exact match to your skin tone that will last all day and night. You can shop by category, skin type, or collection, to get a tailored experience as you peruse their website.
A Holistic Approach to Skincare
No matter your skin type, the right skincare regimen will make all the difference. Just like in the makeup you choose, your face wash, toner, and moisturizers should fit your values for clean beauty.
Feel offers a variety of clean, nourishing skincare products for every skin type, including a number of facial masks that will leave your skin at its best before you begin applying your favorite mineral makeup.