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Mineral Makeup: The Beast in the Beauty

Remember when mineral makeup was all the rage? Is your makeup bag still stuffed with a variety of powders and a myriad of expensive brushes?

Big Cosmo deceivingly uses “mineral makeup” as a marketing term to grab your attention and gain your trust. “Mineral makeup” is similar to “organic” — they’re broad terms, so you need to investigate exactly what your makeup contains.

There’s no legal or real definition of mineral makeup. Bare Escentuals began the “mineral makeup revolution” in the 1990s when they brought the term to the forefront. Since the financial payoff was a huge success, Big Cosmo jumped on the mineral train.

We usually apply makeup in the morning and don’t wash it off until we’re ready to fall asleep. Depending on the brand you are using, your skin could be smothered with toxic ingredients for 16 hours each day. If you’re using mineral makeup, and feel it’s a “safe” alternative to conventional makeup… think again.

A key selling point for these products is that they consist of natural, from-the-earth minerals, such as zinc and titanium. But that doesn’t mean they don’t contain chemicals. Minerals sound harmless. In fact, they’re not really the problem. All minerals must be processed, and that treatment uses chemicals. These chemicals can remain on the mineral and wind up in your makeup.

The Beauty in the Beast

The premise of mineral makeup is that it uses earth-derived pigments like titanium dioxide, iron oxide and mica instead of artificial colors like aluminum lake and FD&C colors. However, there are no laws governing how mineral makeups are to be labeled. So Big Cosmo unfortunately uses both synthetic and mineral compound.

Mineral makeup ingredients aren’t simply mined, pulverized and poured into glass jars and compacts. Most “minerals” are not pure. They need to be purified and decontaminated before being added to skincare formulations.

For example, titanium dioxide is a popular mineral makeup ingredient. It starts out with natural titanium that undergoes an extraction and purification process in the lab. Unfortunately, the purification process is done using toxic chemicals that are known to cause cancer, skin disorders and organ dysfunction. What is left is a purified ingredient contaminated with toxic chemicals.

Let’s look at some more examples.

Bismuth Oxychloride

Bismuth oxychloride is manufactured by combining bismuth — a non-toxic byproduct of lead and copper metal refining — with chloride and water. It is used in cosmetics because of its shimmery, pearlescent appearance. Its fine, white powder texture adheres well to skin.

The biggest concern with bismuth oxychloride is that it frequently causes skin irritation, redness, itching, rashes and inflammation. The fact that most mineral makeups use large quantities of bismuth oxychloride means the possibility of irritation is very high. If you have sensitive skin, it can worsen acne to a cystic level and cause rosacea to flare.

Bismuth oxychloride has a crystalline molecular shape. This can cause your skin to itch, which can worsen when you sweat.


Mica gives makeup products such as eyeshadow, nail polish and lipstick their shimmer. It can also make concealer appear more natural. By covering flecks of mica in titanium dioxide, it can reflect all the colors of the rainbow. Adding in iron dioxide can help create earthier and more golden hues.

Most concerns regarding mica are related to inhalation during application. Mica is known to damage lung tissue, which can lead to fibrosis and cancer. It’s also a skin irritant that can aggravate or cause skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and perioral dermatitis.


Hydrous magnesium silicate — which also goes by French chalk, asbestine, beaver white and agalite – possesses anti-caking properties. This allows cosmetics to be applied to the skin very smoothly. This naturally occurring, widely used mineral has been a staple of infant care for centuries. However, it has been deemed potentially carcinogenic, particularly in regards to the lungs and ovaries.

The Environmental Working Group rates talc a toxicity level of 3. They report that talc can be contaminated with asbestos fibers, which increases the risk for respiratory toxicity and cancer. Studies by the National Toxicology Panel demonstrated that cosmetic-grade talc that is free of asbestos is a form of magnesium silicate that also can be toxic and carcinogenic.


Is truly all-natural makeup a fairy tale?

After reading about the dangers of mineral makeup and its ingredients, you might think all-natural products don’t exist. But they do!

When I switched to all-natural skincare, I had a hard time giving up my makeup. So I created a makeup collection made with organic foods, flowers, herbs and clay. These ingredients provide naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids and contain natural pigments. You get coverage, color and beauty.

Makeup can be good for your skin. We never use bismuth oxychloride, mica, talc or anything else that could cause harm. We only use food for your skin. For example, our rainbow of colors comes from foods such as cranberries, beets, hibiscus, spirulina and cocoa.

Clays help detoxify the skin. Makeup made with clays can help those suffering from skin conditions such as acne and rosacea. Clay also balances oil production and over dryness. Many women who use our makeup feel just as fresh at the end of the day as they did when they first applied their makeup.

Be the belle of the ball

Our makeup collection features four shades of Cheek Stain, eight shades of Lid Stain, three Concealers, a range of cool and warm Foundation, and a variety of professional makeup brushes.

Our Foundation, Cheek Stain and Lid Stain come in powder form. You can apply them using a dry or wet technique. Try both to discover your favorite. It will take about three applications for you to feel comfortable with the process. Once you have it down, it won’t take any longer than your traditional makeup routine.

Try our all-natural makeup collection to enhance your all-natural beauty.

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