What is mineral makeup?

Mineral makeup consists of crushed mineral colour pigments, in a powder form that can be used as foundation (or eye/cheek colour). Imagine a liquid foundation with all the liquid taken out – that’s mineral foundation. The key ingredients usually include zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, bismuth oxychloride, mica, and iron oxides.

Most pure mineral foundations are loose powders, however there are some hybrids such as Ultraceuticals that add a couple of ingredients (such as dimethicone) to allow them to press it into a compact.

What’s so great about it?

  • It’s ideal for sensitive or acne-prone skin as it contains very few ingredients, and no preservatives (as it contains no water).
  • It allows you to create a coverage anything between very sheer to full – you can even use it as concealer.
  • It tends to be long-wearing in comparison to liquid foundations: liquid foundations contain emollients (moisturisers) that allow you to spread it easily, but can also make the foundation slide around on your face in warm/humid weather.
  • It contains natural sunscreens (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) that will offer you some sun protection. BUT make sure you still wear your regular SPF30+ underneath – better safe than sun-damaged!

  1. First, you’ll need a mineral foundation brush – these are designed with domed, dense bristles that allow you to buff the powder into your skin. Without the right brush you’ll find it difficult to get an even coverage. I like Laura Mercier’s Blending Brush .
  2. Tip a SMALL amount of powder into the lid. Swirl your brush around the lid to pick up the powder, then get rid of the excess by tapping the handle of the brush on your arm. The brush should look like it has hardly anything on it.
  3. Using quick small polishing circular motions, buff the powder into your skin with the brush, one section at a time (e.g. left cheek first, then right cheek, then forehead, then nose etc). What you are trying to do here is create a very thin layer of colour that melds into your skin. If you get streaks or heavy blobs of colour, you’ve got too much powder on the brush.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have covered your whole face. If you want more coverage, keep adding more layers until you’re happy.
  5. Use a small flat brush (such as Bloom’s Concealer Brush ) to gently pat more powder onto areas that require concealer coverage.

Some more hints:

  • Mineral makeup is easiest to apply on a dry surface, so allow your moisturiser to absorb for as long as possible before applying your minerals. If you’re in a hurry, or your sunscreen has a sticky finish, dust a layer of fine translucent powder over the skin before applying minerals. You can also use a silicone-based primer such as Modelco Face Base or Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch .
  • Mineral bronzers can be used all over the body as well as on the face, as they will also give some coverage on blotchy or uneven-toned skin. Use a big brush.
  • Mineral foundations don’t absorb oil the way regular powders do (as they don’t contain talc), which makes them ideal for dry skins; however you may need some blotting papers throughout the day if you have oily skin.

Products to check out

  • Ultraceuticals Ultra Active Mineral Colour – pressed foundation and bronzer
  • i.d. BareEscentuals – the original mineral makeup brand. Foundation, bronzers, blush, eye colour, lipsticks, brushes.
  • Bloom has mineral foundation, blush, bronzer, and applicator brushes.
  • Laura Mercier has mineral foundation, bronzer , eye colour , and an excellent foundation brush .