Could Your Mineral Makeup Be Bad for Your Skin?

October 6, 2008 by J. Dikes  
Published in Beauty Products

Is mineral makeup really better for your skin? Many women are finding that some of the top selling brands do more harm than good.

Instant radiance.   Quick and easy, you’ll glow!  Makeup that’s good for your skin.  So pure you can sleep in it!

The infomercials promise so much.  Flip through the channels at any given time and you’ll likely find brands like Bare Minerals and Sheer Cover have spent a pretty penny on advertising with astonishing before and after shots and emotional customer testimonials.  Makeup is a large part of many women’s lives.  I’m the first to admit that mineral makeups have revolutionized the way lots of women think about makeup.  There are plenty of women who are very happy with their new found mineral makeup, else companies like Bare Escentuals and Guther Renker (Sheer Cover), wouldn’t be so successful.  I know people who wear these brands, and admittedly, they look radiant, yet natural.

So I wanted to try it.  I’ve been using various liquid foundations since I first started wearing makeup.  I was not ready to spend a lot of money on one of the name brands, so I tried Ulta’s line of mineral makeup.  I bought their starter kit, which came with foundation, blush, finishing powder, and a retractable kabuki.  I caught it when they were running a promotion, so I got all of that for $25 or so.  The first few times I applied it, I was unsure of myself, used too much of the foundation, and to be honest, I looked a little funny.  But after I became more accustomed to it, it was so much faster and so much easier to apply than the liquid foundation I had been using.  I finally got some of my precious few minutes back in the morning!

It is worth noting that I have been using Olay Complete on my face for about ten years, and in the same time I changed makeup, I was persuaded to try Neutrogena Fresh Moisture.

So after a few weeks, when my face started itching, I thought it may have been the moisturizer.  So I switched back to Olay Complete, my old standby.  Still itching.  Maybe it was my face wash (I’ve never been loyal to one brand of face wash, so I’m always switching that up).  I switched out so many other things, trying to solve it.  The itching continued.  Maybe I was resisting the idea that it could be the mineral makeup because it was so easy to apply and gave every bit as much coverage as my liquid.  Maybe the infomercials had gotten to me, and a product so pure couldn’t possibly be the culprit.

The itching got worse, and my complexion began to suffer.  Acne started to appear, though my skin had been relatively clear for about five years.  One day the itching got so bad that I scrubbed my face clean of everything to make it stop.  That’s when I started to research all of the things I use on my face.  I researched every product that touched my face.  That’s when I found out I’m not alone, and there are others who have had even worse reactions.  The ingredient causing the discomfort is bismuth oxychloride.  Most women are not allergic, but for some, bismuth oxychloride can lead to itching, irritation, redness, and even cystic acne.  Discovering this, I immediately blamed the fact that I had purchased a “lesser” product.  Had I shelled out the money for one of the known brands, I would have been okay, right?  Not the case.  Ulta Minerals, Sheer Cover, Bare Minerals, and many other brands have bismuth oxychloride included in their “pure” formulas.

My easier makeup routine down the drain.  I’m currently back to my old liquid foundation, which I fortunately hadn’t thrown away yet.  It takes longer to apply and gives a slightly noticeable orange hue to my face.  I’m very fair and for some reason every liquid I’ve ever tried is either ghastly pale or has orange/pink undertones I don’t have.  But I’ll put up with it for the time being, at least my face doesn’t itch anymore.  I’m holding out for something better.  At least my money wasn’t totally wasted, the Ulta finishing powder doesn’t include bismuth oxychloride, so I use it in lieu of loose powder to set my liquid.

There is some good news however.  There are brands of mineral makeup available without bismuth oxychloride.  Jane Iredale, Mary Kay Mineral Makeup, Serious Skin Care ProMinerals, and Everyday Minerals are just a few.  I haven’t tried any of these yet, but I just ordered some foundation samples from Everyday Minerals, and I’ll definitely be updating with how it goes.  I would love to go back to the ease of the mineral routine without the itching and acne.  So stay tuned for an update on the Everyday minerals.  I’m hoping for the best, because despite poor choice of ingredient by many of the leading brands, mineral makeups are much faster to apply than liquid foundation and they blend more naturally without strange hues.

Also worth note to any of you who are not sensitive to bismuth oxychloride who are considering saving some money by switching to Ulta Minerals, the foundation and finishing powder combo give great natural coverage, but buy yourself a proper kabuki brush.  After using the ulta retractable brush for six months, the brush still sheds.

In conclusion, if you’re considering trying mineral makeup for the first time, even if you don’t have sensitive skin, try a sample first.  Don’t go all out and buy the full kit until you know how you’re going to react.  I’m lucky that I didn’t spend too much and that the finishing powder is still useable.  Here’s hoping the Everyday Mineral makeup is worthwhile, because I miss the ease of application.  Again, stay tuned for an update.

UPDATE: Check out my experience with Everyday Minerals here.

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2 Responses to “Could Your Mineral Makeup Be Bad for Your Skin?”
  1. Lisa Says:

    I had no idea! My friends all love bare minerals, and when I tried it, I broke out so bad, and everyone thought I was crazy! Thanks for the info, and definitely let me know about the everyday minerals, because I also liked how easy the bare minerals went on…I just didn’t like what it did to my complexion.

  2. Jena Dikes Says:

    You’re welcome, I’m glad the info was useful, and I’ll definitely let you know about the Everyday Minerals.

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