The history of makeup dates back nearly 6,000 years when the Egyptians wore henna and khol; the Chinese used beeswax and other natural ingredients to stain their nails; and the Persians wore makeup of natural origins to prevent harming their skin. Makeup has undergone tremendous change throughout the centuries; however, what has remained the same is the need for healthy, natural cosmetics.
One of the most popular cosmetics solutions to heavy, caked-on makeup, clogged pores and inadequate coverage is mineral foundation. Mineral foundation has virtually taken over the market as demand for healthy, natural beauty products continue to grow.
The most common type of mineral foundation is in powder form; however, some of the top mineral brands offer cream-to-powder, liquid and tinted formulations. Crushed minerals and light-reflecting pigments are mixed together to help create the illusion of flawless skin.
Mineral foundations are a healthy, gentle alternative to traditional makeup because they are usually free of mineral oil, artificial dyes, irritants, preservatives and chemicals. Mineral products have a number of benefits including:
- Natural sunscreen – Many mineral foundations contain titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. These natural sun protectants physically filter damaging sun rays from skin.
- Non-clogging – These products will not clog pores or cause blemishes.
- Less allergic reactions – Without the presence of chemicals, skin is less likely to have a reaction. If skin experiences bumps, rashes, itchiness, redness or swelling, switching to mineral makeup will help.
- Buildable coverage – A small amount goes a long way. Despite the degree of coverage, mineral foundation maintains a natural look and feel. It is especially ideal for sun damaged, discolored or aging skin, or rosacea conditions.
- Water resistant – It holds up to high humidity, heat and perspiration.
Despite all of these benefits, shoppers should still be wary of brands touting minerals, as not all products are created equally. Most well respected brands will have high-quality pharmaceutical grade ingredients, which will lead to less irritation and a better feel when applied to the face. Depending on your skin type or condition, the following ingredients are best avoided:
- Mineral oil – This is probably one of the most familiar ingredients. It is used primarily to lock in moisture; however, it can potentially clog pores. While there are a number of different grades of mineral oil (some good and others bad), if you cannot determine what type of grade was used in your product, it is not worth the risk.
- Talc – Commonly found in cosmetics, talc is used for its ability to absorb oil and moisture on the skin. Once again, it can also clog pores. There is quite a bit of evidence pointing to talc as an irritant to skin and lungs, and as a carcinogen.
- Parabens – These manmade preservatives are typically used in liquid, gel and cream-based products, and have been receiving a lot of attention over the past few years. For most people with normal skin, parabens are non-irritating, while those with sensitive skin may experience contact dermatitis. Additionally, reports have shown links between parabens and breast cancer.
- Petroleum – This ingredient is very similar to mineral oil and can prevent skin from "breathing" properly.
- Synthetic fragrance – Mostly made from petrochemicals that are produced to mimic a scent of something, this ingredient can trigger sneezing, coughing or itchy hives.
But it is not all bad! The following ingredients are kind to skin:
- Titanium dioxide – Used in products as a pigment or UV blocker, titanium dioxide has high UV-absorbing abilities as well as resistance to discoloration under UV light. This makes it perfect to wear when out in the sun, especially for those with sensitive skin (including children).
- Mica – This ingredient is used to keep cosmetics non-irritating and non-comedogenic, while providing a smoother application with a radiant glow.
- Iron oxides – These natural pigments give cosmetics color (like in foundations, shadows and lipsticks).
- Natural fragrance – Derived from natural sources, natural fragrance is made up of essential oils; is nontoxic on the skin; and offer healing elements that benefit your total well-being. Natural fragrances can be found in anything from perfumes, foundations and lipsticks.
- Natural preservatives – These come in a few different forms including Japanese honeysuckle (or its technical name Lonicera Japonica flower extract), tea tree oil, or grapefruit seed extract. Each has antimicrobial properties to help prevent makeup and skin care products from spoiling, extending products' shelf life once opened. They also can help maximize the performance of other ingredients (including antioxidants such as vitamins A and E).
Choosing synthetic or natural cosmetics is a personal choice. Inform yourself with the facts to make the best selections for your needs.
Philip Luque is the director of education and artistry for Youngblood® Mineral Cosmetics. He has been bringing out the beauty in people for 15 years. Luque's diverse background includes work for top designers such as Carolina Herrera and Diesel, in the pages of Italian Vogue and W, at the Emmy and ESPY award shows, and on the faces of Danica Patrick, Peyton Manning, Paris Hilton and others. A licensed cosmetologist, Luque displays his skills and creates his beautiful effects using Youngblood® Mineral Cosmetic; enthusiastically demonstrating Youngblood's versatility and quality at every educational session.