Brush with nature

All-natural mineral make-up enjoys a legion of devoted fans but it does not suit every skin type.

I HAD a minor disaster with mineral make-up about eight years ago. I lashed on an unhealthy amount of BareMinerals Original Foundation with a stubby brush, in an effort to be part of the, ahem, “mineral revolution”.

There was no revolution: my skin looked patchy, dry and my pores looked like massive bulging holes. I wanted to take it off immediately. I was convinced I was doing something wrong. And I was.

There are some rules with mineral make-up:

¦ You don’t layer it on – a small amount is perfectly sufficient.

¦ You probably should avoid if you have dry skin (like I do).

¦ You need a very big brush to apply it with any kind of success.

These days, minerals are part of our make-up lexicon. Everyone takes them for granted, but their fans tend to have a messianic zeal about them. But do they live up to the hype? For a start mineral make-up is supposed to be the most natural form of make-up there is, or, as BareMinerals puts it, it’s “Make-up so pure you can sleep in it.”

And that’s not all, the powders are filled with ground down minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, giving you a make-up finish that is water-resistant, suitable for sensitive skin and with a natural sun block to boot.

These days, you can get mineral eyeshadow and mineral liquid foundations, but it all started out with the original powder formulations from small niche make-up brands, now most big beauty companies are selling similar products.

Of course, one of the biggest draws of mineral make-up is the natural element. A report in 2011 by Environmental Defence Canada showed that of 49 different make-up items on the Canadian market, only one (Annabelle Mineral Pigment Dust) was shown “not to contain a single metal of most concern”.

Other make-up products, by contrast, were found to contain lead, arsenic and mercury. You can also be assured that in a mineral make-up product you’re not going to find fragrance, synthetic colours, parabens, preservatives or chemical SPFs (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide generally found in mineral make-up are natural sun blocks).

Mineral make-up doesn’t suit everyone, and for women used to very light, dewy and translucent foundations, some of the products can be a bit of a shock, as they can appear a little heavy and cakey. Whether they suit you can also depend on your skin type.

While minerals are great for women with oily skin, they can be much harder to match to dry skin types and can almost sit on top of the skin, making them look slightly unnatural.

Brand-wise, there’s a mind-boggling amount to choose from.

BareMinerals is still the bestselling mineral powder foundation, but nearly all the major make-up companies have jumped on the bandwagon, too, with some surprisingly good results.

Mineralize Foundation/ Loose, €35.50 from MAC landed on my desk about six months ago, and I’ve been using it quite a lot.

A tiny amount over a beauty balm gives a really natural look, and you can build it up slightly if you want something with a little more coverage for evening. It lasts very well and doesn’t look cakey, making it a great choice for drier skin.

Becca Cosmetics does a great Skin Mineral Powder Foundation, €32, and LilyLolo Foundation, €15.34, is also a great choice at a more affordable price range.

For my money, smaller more niche companies still produce better mineral foundations than many mainstream brands, but you need to look around to find the right one for you, and for your skin.

STUFF WE LIKE

Mineral make-up that’s magical

Product and price Mac Mineralize Foundation Loose, €35.50

This is a great mineral foundation option, regardless of skin type. You don’t need to apply very much to get a great effect and it doesn’t clump to skin the way some other formulations can. Nor does it gather in your pores. It comes in nine shades and one pot really does last a long time.

BareMinerals Original Foundation, €26.

The original and some would argue the best – BareMinerals is a multi-award winner and is the best selling mineral powder in the world. It comes in 20 shades to cover most skin colours, and has a legion of devoted, loyal fans. My advice? If you’ve dry or dehydrated skin, this one may not be a great choice for you.

Becca Skin Mineral Powder Foundation, €32.

Becca cosmetics don’t get a lot of attention in Ireland, but it’s a great make-up brand withexcellent products such as blush (their Cream Blush in Turkish Rose is really lovely) and eyeshadow. They’ve done well with this mineral powder, too, and it’s compact for carrying around during the day.

LilyLolo Mineral Foundation, €15.34.

A great range of shades and a more competitive price tag has made LilyLolo a good choice — no wonder it’s a cult favourite. It is a loose powder, but there’s a lockable sifter lid which means you get a little dispensed at a time. Nifty.

Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Mineral Powder Foundation, €33.

A big soft brush is the best way to apply this light and flattering powder from Elizabeth Arden. It has a very handy tool, too – the compact actually grinds the powder for you, which means that there’s very little waste. It feels lovely and light on the skin, and looks translucent.

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