Guest Blogger: How to Look for Quality Mineral Makeup

Originally posted on The Painted Ladies blog Phyrra has graciously given me permission to repost this wonderful article here.  It’s well written and very concise. Thanks Phyrra!!

When I got into mineral makeup in April 2008, I didn’t know much about it, so I started to try and read everything I could find. Surprisingly, I didn’t find a lot of reviews (there were some) about mineral makeup companies. So I decided that I would start a blog and review everything I’ve tried. Through my trials, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve also learned a lot by emailing company owners and asking questions. They’ve shared many tips for me for discerning quality products, which I’m going to now share with you.

When there’s a company that you’re just dying to order from, before you hit that buy button, there are some things you should do.

1. Look at the products the company makes. Do they just make eye shadow? Or do they make other products? Unfortunately, a lot of companies that only make eye shadow may not have quality products or they may sell just repackaged products. Most companies that make quality mineral makeup sell at least eye shadow and blush. Normally they sell eye shadow, foundation and blush. Lipsticks and lip glosses are pretty much a labor of love for small, indie companies, so not everyone does them.

2. Look to see what they list for ingredients. If a company lists ingredients such as ‘shimmer, pigment, frost,’ that’s not right. Shimmer, pigment, frost, are not FDA approved ingredients. You can see what is approved here.

Now, you can give the company the benefit of the doubt and email the owner. They may not know that they’re listing ingredients improperly. I know I’ve contacted a few companies who didn’t realize it. Once I spoke to them, they corrected their listings. So there’s no harm in asking.

If however, the owner gets defensive or hostile, you’ve got an answer right there, and I would avoid that company.

3. Learning about what sort of ingredients are acceptable in mineral makeup helps, too.

Eye Shadows
For eye shadows, you’ll want to see an ingredients list like the following:

Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), May contain: Iron Oxides (CI 77499, CI 77491, CI 77492), Ferric Ferrocyanide (CI 77510), Ferric Oxide (CI 77491), Tin Oxide (CI 77861), Tin Dioxide (CI 778161), Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Silica
(From Aromaleigh’s Gothic Lolita collection.)

Mica, Titanium Dioxide. May contain Tin Oxide, Silica, UltraMarine Blue, Hydrated Chromium Oxide Green, Iron Oxides, Chromium Green Oxide, ferric ferrocyanide, Ultramarines, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Boron Nitride, Bronze Powder, Copper Powder, Silicon Dioxide, Cetyl Dimethicone, Zinc, and Calcium Sodium Borosilicate.
(From Dreamworld Minerals.)

Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide, Tin Oxide, Zinc Oxide.
(From Glamour Doll Eyes.)

Ingredients like zinc oxide, magnesium myristate, kaolin clay, coated mica, zinc stearatae, carnauba coated mica, silica etc should be in the list of ingredients because that helps an eye shadow to have lasting power and to blend.

It’s also possible to use some eye shadows as blushes if you want. Most mineral makeup eye colors are multipurpose for use on the cheeks. Some can be used on the lips but others are not lip safe.

Mineral makeup blushes usually are very pigmented, so you can apply them sparingly to get a beautiful flush.
Blushes tend to look like the following:

Sericite Mica, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Magnesium Stearate.  May contain:  Manganese Violet.
(From Beautiful Girl Minerals.)

mica, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, iron oxides, ultramarines
(From Buff’d Cosmetics.)

titanium dioxide, iron oxides, ultra marine pigments.
(From Cory Cosmetics, mica-free blend.)

For foundations, you’ll want to see an ingredients list like the following:

Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Iron Oxides
(This is from Meow’s Pampered Puss formula.)

Zinc Oxide, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Kaolin, Magnesium Stearate, Silica
(From Fyrinnae’s Superpower Mineral Foundation.)

Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Zinc Oxide, Pure Silk Powder, Boron, Silica, Iron Oxides, Jojoba Oil (vegetable derived), Magnesium Myristate. May contain ultramarine blue.
(From Purely Cosmetic’s Skin Smoothing foundation.)

If you’re looking at lip products, you want to see ingredients like the following:

Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Kernel Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil (and) Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil(soybean), Ozokerite, Microcrystalline Wax, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E).

May contain(depending on the shade): Tin Oxide, Tin Dioxide, Silica, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Palmitic Acid, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Iron Oxides, Manganese Violet, Carbon Black, Polyester-3, Blue 1, Yellow 5, Red 7, Red 21, Red 27, Red 28, Red 33, Red 40, Copper, Bronze, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate(mineral glitter), Polyethylene Terephthalate(glitter), Flavor
(From Morgana Minerals.)

Certified Organic Castor and Jojoba Oils, Avocado Oil, Organic Candelilla Wax, Cranberry Oil, Raspberry Oil, Passionfruit Oil, Carnuaba Wax.  Also contains:  Mica, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, FD&C color
(From Silk Naturals.)

Cocoa Butter, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Sesame Oil, Castor Oil, Castor Wax, Candelilla Wax, Macadamia Nut Oil, Vitamin E. Pigment Ingredients: Mica; may contain Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Tin Oxide and Manganese Violet.
(From GeoGrafx Cosmetics.)

Ingredients I suggest avoiding:
Talc, Bismuth Oxychloride, pthalates and parahydroxybenzoate.

To me, talc is often a filler. Bismuth can cause itching, especially for sensitive skin. Pthalates are being phased out of most products in the USA.

Parahydroxybenzoate is also known as Ethylparaben, and it’s often used as a preservative. I’m somewhat on the fence about this one.

Ingredients that I suggest looking at to decide if you want them in your makeup or not:
parabens like butylparaben, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, and Propylparaben.
Some sites you can look at for more information are:

4. If the company makes a claim that their foundation has an SPF, see how they word it. If they say ‘this offers great SPF protection,’ be leery. If they say that their product does have titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which offers barrier protection, but that they can’t indicate a specific level of SPF, that is fine. Companies cannot actually claim a specific SPF rating with the FDA without doing expensive testing. As of right now, the only mineral makeup company that I know of that can make a specific claim is Bare Escentuals. They paid a huge amount of money to get every single shade and every single formula that they offer tested. This is why only a very large company can do such testing. A small, indie company is just not likely to be able to afford it. So if you see one claiming the same thing as Bare Escentuals, be very wary.

5. Google the company name with the word reviews after it. See what people have to say. Now google with repackage after it. If it comes up, read what people have to say, and weigh this with the other information you find on that company. You can also google the name of the eye shadows, as some companies keep the same names for colors if they’re just selling repackaged colors. Sometimes, these companies even use the same stock photos for the colors along with the stock names. There’s a set of pretty colors called Pops/Gumballs that fall in this category.

6. Just because a color is repackaged doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad. Many companies will list a repackaged color honestly and explain why they have it. Some companies have these colors due to customer request. Other companies like these unblended eye shadows because they’re pretty the way they are. If a company is honest about it, and you like it, definitely try it.

7. You can always check the Mineral Makeup Mutiny list. While they don’t list companies to avoid, they do list companies that are artisan and make their own products and honestly label their products. Some of the companies listed sell unblended or repackaged shades. However, all of the companies listed on this site you can buy from with confidence. You can also check out the list of companies that I’ve reviewed here.

3 Responses to “Guest Blogger: How to Look for Quality Mineral Makeup”

  1. Great post, this one. It helps a lot.

  2. Good read. You really went into some depth with this. It can be hard for girls to find mineral eye makeup in shops today. Some makeup collections can be open about it though are an example.