What's in Mineral Makeup? continued...
"Different products micronize to different levels," Ranger says. "A product micronized to six times leaves minerals larger so they go on the skin with light to medium coverage. Products micronized 12 times create fine-sized particles that sit closer together and offer more coverage."
A key difference from conventional makeup is what's not in mineral makeup.
"It generally does not contain the emollient oils and waxes, fragrance, and preservative ingredients found in conventional formulations," Hammer says. "Mineral products are usually preservative-free, and since they have very low odor, they are often also fragrance-free," he says, noting that preservatives and fragrance are often what cause irritation.
To ensure you're buying a quality mineral makeup product, read the label. If it says "mineral-enriched" or if the formulation is liquid or mousse, these products may contain ingredients such as paraben preservatives or dimethicone added for a smooth texture. Items that aren't powders might also contain moisturizers, antioxidant vitamins, or other ingredients for your skin. It's your choice.
The Benefits of Mineral Makeup
The benefits of mineral makeup have many women flocking to try it -- and it isn't just all hype.
One popular claim is that it can clear up acne. Fusco says it's unlikely that mineral makeup will clear up pimples, which can be caused by many factors, including changes in hormone levels. The anti-irritating ingredients like zinc can be soothing to inflammation, but it's not likely a cure-all, she says.
The lack of the filler ingredients found in conventional makeup, however, can lead to less pore clogging. That can mean fewer breakouts, Fusco says.
"There are no studies," she says. "But if you are putting on moisturizer followed by sunscreen and then, on top of that, [putting] foundation topped with powder, you are more likely to have clogs."
"Mineral makeup doesn't make my acne worse, but it doesn't make it better," Hitzfeld says.
Fusco agrees. Despite the calming effects of zinc, she does not think mineral makeup is clearly better for acne than any other kind of cosmetics. If you have acne, she recommends using skin care products targeted to pimples.