Mineral Make-up – What’s in a Name?

When “mineral make-up” first appeared on the market, that phrase meant 100%  mineral and water-free foundation, blusher or eye-shadow. Mineral make-up products were innovative in leaving out potentially harmful conventional ingredients like preservatives, mineral oils, chemical dyes and perfumes, thus offering consumers a genuine healthy alternative.

Sadly, as the term “mineral make-up” has become more popular, manufacturers have started to apply it to more conventional products, many of them containing the less-desirable ingredients that mineral make-up originally left out.  These days, simply buying an item labelled “mineral make-up” doesn’t guarantee you will get the kind of new generation product you might expect. The good news is  that there are ways to tell a genuine new generation product from a re-labelled old one. Here’s what to look out for:

  • 100% mineral make up is a a loose powder, not a liquid or a compact powder.
  • The ingredient list of 100% mineral make-up tends to be short. For example: “Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Iron Oxides, Ultramarine Blue” might be the full ingredient list of a 100% mineral foundation. When the ingredient list runs into ten or more items, then you’re probably looking at a re-labelled conventional product.

You can also look for particular tell-tale words in the ingredient list:

  • If you see “Aqua” or “Aloe Barbadensis” (i.e. Aloe Vera, which has a high water content), this means the product contains water, and therefore also preservatives
  • If you find words ending in “paraben” (like methylparaben or propylparaben) – these are all names of preservatives
  • You might see ”Mineral Oil” listed as an ingredient, or you might also see the same additive listed as ”Paraffinum Liquidum”
  • You may see perfume additives listed as “Fragrance” or “Parfum”

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