The Five Essential Ingredients in Natural Mineral Makeup
- Iron Oxides
- Titanium Oxides
- Zinc Oxide
- (Kaolin Clay)
If you read any mineral makeup review they will say that there are five essential ingredients used in the majority of mineral makeup brands, including Eco Minerals. These form, to a greater and lesser degree as appropriate, the naturally safe and healthy base ingredients in our natural mineral makeup. They are used because these mineral foundations are considered safe for virtually every skin type and together can generate a vast range of colours and tones to match our ever changing moods and your unique and sometimes very sensitive complexion. Kaolin is an additional ingredient worthy of mention because it has special qualities that make it ideal in some situations.
If you research any of the many mineral makeup reviews you will find these organic mineral makeup ingredients mentioned time and time again because of their many beneficial and non-harmful properties, as well as their excellent performance as economical and long-lasting products; to put it simply they are the best mineral makeup compounds in use in today's fast moving and active makeup market. This market is increasingly driven by the demands of consumers, especially in Australia, for "eco makeup" that neither harms people or the environment and which are not made with chemicals.
So what is it about mineral makeup Australia finds so appealing? To answer that question let's have a look in more detail at these mineral makeup key ingredients.
Iron oxides are found in almost all mineral foundation makeup, as well as in conventional makeup brands. There are many important reasons for this: it has superb colouring properties, producing an ideal range of intense and striking colours from black to browns to reds and oranges. It can also be used in a wide range of cosmetic products such as eye shadow, talcum powders, blush, face powders and lipstick. Iron oxide is resistant to water it and so proves to be very stable and does not easily smear or bleed; it is also known for its long-lasting effect, and therefore requires fewer applications. Perhaps of key interest to many women is its reputation for being very gentle, hypoallergenic and non-toxic when applied to their skin.
You might find some people arguing that iron oxides are not completely "natural". They base this argument on the fact that raw Iron Oxides go through a synthetic cleaning process. This does not alter the basic oxide, but is a process required because iron oxides, in their raw form may be mixed together with heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury and arsenic and therefore the oxides are "washed" with water to remove these. Iron oxides are then graded for use in cosmetics after going through an essential and carefully controlled laboratory process of oxidation and purification.
Iron oxides are used in organic mineral makeup primarily for the fantastic, bright and earthy colours they produce when mixed with titanium dioxide (browns), Ferric Oxide Hydrate (yellows), Colcothar (bright reds) and ferric ferrous oxide for black. Further mixing of these colours will then produce a wide range of bright colours that are long-lasting and have good light stability.
Iron oxides are the crystals that form on volcanic magma (lava), so it is indeed a natural product from the depths of our planet. Some of the sources for iron oxide are magnetite, loadstone, iron stone (tiger iron). Other sources are bloodstone, feldspar, olivine, and even meteorites (shergottites, chassigny, anchondrites, nakhites and chodrites). Mineral makeup is also sourced from healing stones like tigers-eye, carnelian, amethyst, ocean and red jaspers, moss and serpentine agate, green tourmaline, tangerine quartz, champagne aura quartz, coloured obsidians and the mineral gem chrysoberyl.
Titanium dioxide was first identified in 1791 by an Englishman born in Cornwall, William Gregor. He was a mineralogist who studied chemistry in Cambridge in the 1700s. While walking around his home county he noticed a sandy, black substance which he then studied and identified as a mineral which he named menachanite. The dear man died in 1817 but his legacy still lives on today, in the now increasingly popular mineral makeup, mineral foundation and eco makeup cosmetics. In 1795 Martin Klaproth, a German chemist, was the man who gave titanium oxide the name we use today after he also identified this new element. He renamed it Titanium, after the mythological Greek giants.
Titanium is corrosion resistant, strong yet light and has a wonderful burnished sheen finish. As with Iron Oxide, Titanium occurs naturally and undergoes a similar and strictly controlled purification process. It is now used extensively in sunscreens to protect us from ultraviolet radiation. In mineral foundation makeup it is used because of its attractive opacity, transparency and intense white colour. It protects products from deterioration because of the way it absorbs, scatters and reflects light.
Titanium Dioxide is one of the best mineral makeups because it is kind and gentle to all skin types. It also allows the skin to breath, acts as a good concealer and helps to get rid of blemishes, spots and rosacea. It is also renowned for inducing a fresh, young-looking complexion.
It is also used as a colouring ingredient, as mentioned above, particularly when mixed with Iron Oxide and produces a pearly sheen.
The oxide is a natural crystal and found in such delightful things as sapphires, rubies and obsidian. It also contains other natural chemicals that are good for your skin. It does not block your pores because it "floats" on the surface of your skin. Many liquid foundations use colourants, oils and other chemicals that can irritant a delicate skin and women around the world have found Titanium based products to be much safer and gentler on their skins and the remarkable colouring properties provide an ideal base for applying additional colours. It is also known for effectively concealing lines, wrinkles, and those horrid black circles that can appear under the eyes. If you are looking for a fresh, young looking, pearly complexion this is an excellent choice.
Zinc Oxide is also known for its gentle and harmless effect on most skin-types. It can be used as a binder, a colourant and as a preservative. Zinc Stearate is used as an anti-caking agent because of its ability to coat other particles and make them water repellent. This is especially useful in foundation products because there is no need to use liquid and it allows a smooth and problem-free application. It is often added to other powders to generate extra adhesion which in turn aids in building up layers, either for aesthetic effect or to act as a sun-block. It is used across the range of cosmetic products in eye-liners and shadows, blush and facial powders, bronzers, body powders and lotions, concealers, oil controllers and, of course, foundations.
Famous for it calming effect on irritated skins it is also used to relieve sun-burn, windburn and nappy-rash. Indeed the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have certified its use as a skin protectant. It is particularly effective in cosmetics acting as a sun-screen and for its gentle and healing effect on all skin types.
For many years Zinc Oxide has replaced many of the harmful ingredients that used to be used in makeup and all of the leading brands use it in their products because of its non-reactive and safe properties on human skin. It is particularly good for people suffering from rosacea, spots and blemishes.
Zinc Oxide comes with a selection of names you might find when you check a products labelling: tephorite, willmite, rhodonite, franklinite, fowlerite and finally, zincite. When it comes to sourcing zinc mineral makeup Australia is a major producer with an active zinc mining industry.
Zinc has a pretty amazing history. It was first used by the Romans for making brass. In the 1300s in India it was first identified as a metal and zinc powder was a common remedy for sore and blistered eyes and was also used to treat open wounds. The Chinese joined in during the 1600s and 1700s, again to produce brass. Later on Europeans started to import zinc from them. It is used in electronics, in healing creams and is probably the most widely used topical medicine around today. Zinc Oxide has a long and distinguished history of helping and healing all of us.
It is the magic of Mica that gives modern mineral makeup brands a shimmering matte sheen. It is a transparent mineral that loves to play with light and shade in tones of grey, green and blue. It is formed in metamorphic rock formations and is therefore a very ancient mineral indeed.
Mica is a primary ingredient in all modern makeup products. This silky powder is the base for shadows, foundations and almost all coloured products and gives to them that attractive sheen we all adore. The group of Mica minerals offer a range of shimmering sheens from complete matte to a highly glistening and luminous sheen. When used as a filler Mica gives a smooth and creamy feel when applied to your skin. Because Mica is so translucent it is not, on its own, a good cover for blemishes, but when it is mixed with Titanium and Zinc Oxides it will produce a colourful and effective covering. Modern mineral foundations may contain up to 50% Mica in their preparations.
Mica is considered safe to use on most skins and, like the other mineral ingredients, it has hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic properties. It is also well known to calm skins suffering from erythema (redness and soreness of the skin, such as sunburn).
Another name for silica is sand or you could call it crushed quartz. But the silica used in mineral makeup is a rather special kind of sand. It is Silicon Dioxide (SiO2) which aids in collagen production and has anti-aging properties. Because it can easily bond with other mineral ingredients silica can be combined with other minerals to provide extra protection. It is used as a suspending agent, an oil absorbent, an anti-caking agent, for skin conditioning, bulking, and for increasing both opacity and viscosity (stickiness).
For people with oily skins Silica is particularly useful and it is used in many oil control products and finishing powders. In addition to absorbing excess skin oil this absorbency allows the makeup to look freshly applied even hours after the initial application. This ability to stay longer on the skin saves you money because fewer applications are necessary.
Silica will lighten and blur lines because of its light-scattering properties and is therefore used as a base filler. Mixed with powders and foundations Silica helps the makeup to be more easily applied and produces a luxurious and silky feel.
Silica is white, almost invisible when applied and is soft to the touch. It works extremely well as a filler and easily bonds with other ingredients. In powders and foundations Silica is a very good at covering imperfections in the skin and making them disappear.
It is an ideal additive to powders because of its excellent anti-caking properties and it will help to prevent lumps and caking problems.
China Clay or Kaolin clay is used in particular types of cosmetic products designed for oily skin. Kaolin will lessen shine and gives the skin a flawless finish. Like Silica, Kaolin is very good at hiding skin imperfections and it is used in many products to heal and repair skin.
Kaolin has excellent absorption, binding and concealing properties making it an ideal additive to many cosmetic products. It has a very fine texture which aids in makeup application and produces a very opaque base for colours to shine upon. Even with a medium application a Kaolin based product will be ideal for hiding lines and other unwanted features.
Kaolin, like the other five main ingredients, also offers healing, caring and nurturing benefits for your skin. It is ideal for people trying to control rosacea, acne and other skin problems. It also offers protection from the sun and it does not pull your skin's natural oils out of your pores, which helps to maintain a long-lasting and smooth effect, especially in hot and humid conditions or in the wet. Tests have shown that Kaolin stimulates circulation and it is therefore an excellent choice to use with exfoliates and cleansers.
Ingredients to avoid in your makeup
Having extolled the benefits of these six all natural mineral products, here is a quick guide of what to avoid:
- Bismuth Oxychloride: This compound is synthetically manufactured, although it does contain some natural elements. It has been known to make rosacea and acne worse by clogging pores. It can also permanently enlarge pores.
- FDC Lakes and Dyes: Research has shown that the dyes and lakes found in conventional makeup can cause toxic effects on your brain. Scary? Definitely. Dyes are water soluble, but do not dissolve in oils. Lakes are made by combining dyes with salts to make insoluble compounds.
- Parabens: Methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben are chemical preservatives. They are described as being estrogenic, meaning they mimic the functions of the hormone estrogen. They are therefore disruptive of normal hormone function. Exposure to external sources of estrogen hormone has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Propylene Glycol: Propylene Glycol (PG) and ethylene glycol (EG) are both petroleum derivatives that act as solvents and wetting agents. They can easily penetrate the skin and will weaken cell structure. PG can get into your blood stream so fast that factory workers are advised to avoid direct contact which can cause kidney, brain and liver problems.
Dermatitis, nausea, gastro-intestinal disturbances and vomiting are among the dreadful side effects of chronic exposure to these compounds. Skin dehydration as well as chronic surface damage are more side effects that you will want to avoid if you are trying to maintain healthy looking skin.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: SLS is a harsh detergent which breaks down the surface tension of water. It damages the skin, causing dryness, scaliness, loss of elasticity and roughness. It acts by reducing the ability of the skin cells to retain moisture, resulting in severe water loss and loss of water binding ability.
- Talc: This mineral is similar to the carcinogen asbestos. Talc particles have been found in the lungs and ovaries of cancer victims. The frequent use of talc poses a strong risk of respiratory defects and lung cancer. In fact, studies in the 1990s showed that cosmetic-grade talc caused tumours in animal subjects.