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What is Mineral Makeup?

If you've never used it before you may be asking "What is Mineral Makeup"?

Although it has been growing in popularity for about the last 15 years, it's beginnings go back to the mid-1970s. It started out as a small "boutique item" in a very small company that had a few boutiques across the US. The focus of the boutiques was bath and body products. The company is Bare Escentuals, perhaps you've heard of them?

Mineral Makeup

In 1998 the CEO of Bare Escentuals contacted QVC about her company's mineral makeup. Being a QVC shopper herself, she felt the makeup would do well on the shopping channel.

On her first appearance, Bare Escentuals Foundation sold out and continued to do so on many other appearances. Bare Escentuals went on to become the top beauty line on QVC. The increased exposure allowed Bare Escentuals to greatly expand their number of boutiques and they eventually went public. Eventually it was purchased and is now owned by the Asian based cosmetics giant Shiseido, although Bare Escentuals is run separately and remains based in the US.

Other small companies also had mineral makeup lines and many more started selling minerals over the last decade. Finally the "drugstore" cosmetic companies came out with their own versions. In perhaps the biggest beauty trend ever, mineral makeup is now fully mainstream.

But what is it?
It is made from pure crushed minerals. The "true" versions only have 4 or 5 ingredients. (The 2nd generation minerals from manufacturers such as Mary Kay, Neutrogena and Loreal have a lot more ingredients, which lead some to declare that it isn't "true mineral makeup", but rather mineral based makeup. (See Mineral Makeup vs. Mineral Based Makeup for more on that.)

Mineral Makeup generally refers to the foundation, but there are many other mineral makeup products - finishing powder, face color, blush, eye shadow, eyeliner, etc. The minerals generally come in a loose powered form (although some come in pressed or liquid - but they have added ingredients as well). You apply them unlike traditional powders - you buff them on. The warmth of your skin causes the minerals to slightly liquefy and form a beautiful, natural finish on your face.

The minerals used have beneficial properties for the skin and when you have the correct color for your skin and it is applied properly (which can take some practice) can make your skin look natural, glowing and beautiful.

Some users are drawn to minerals because they are all natural, others because of the way it makes them look, many love both. Another benefit is that 2 of the minerals are natural sunscreens, so the makeup has built in non-chemical sun protection. And because it only takes a small amount of powder, a container of lasts much longer than traditional foundation, making it much cheaper in the long run. (You can read more about the benefits here.)

So, should you try it? After using minerals for almost 15 years, I can't imagine ever going back to non-mineral makeup. Not only does it look better, it has done wonders for the appearance of my skin and the adult acne I had battled for so long disappeared when I switched. There is a learning curve - you will use A LOT less than you think you should in the beginning. You may have to try several different shades and/or brands before you find the one that is perfect for you. All of the major brands are listed on this site along with reviews from website visitors.

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