The turn of our cultural attention onto the amazing properties of mineral makeup hasn’t come without its price. Having been touted for some time now as the leader of the natural makeup revolution, mineral makeup is now drawing some criticism from health and beauty experts who say this organic stuff might have some dangerous pitfalls. Navigating this field of information may be tricky, but learning some basic facts and arguments will help you wrap your head around the current debate.
On one hand, mineral makeup appeals to the increasingly “green” sensibilities of our society. As we turn away from processed foods, non-biodegradable materials and energy-sapping materials and practices, we’re that much more likely to see the appeal in a new variety of cosmetics that promises to come directly from the Earth, sans dyes, preservatives and chemicals. Mineral makeup touts itself as being better for the skin, with the ability to actually improve one’s complexion over time. It blends more seamlessly into the skin than most standard liquid foundations, producing a healthier, more natural-looking glow unrivalled by the makeup of the past.
While all of this may indeed be true, health experts are concerned that these so-called Earth-friendly products aren’t necessarily human-friendly. Not every natural compound necessarily agrees with our bodies, and the same goes for mineral makeup, which can contain trace amounts of harmful substances. The loose powder composition of most mineral makeup means that we musn’t merely be concerned with the effects these products may have on our skin when absorbed through topical application, but the trace amounts of minerals we can inhale when bringing this product so close to our faces.
“The little particles, fibers, get into the peripheral, the small parts of the lungs, and irritate cells,” pulmonary specialist Dr. Hugo Montenegro told ABC News.
According to the news source, the two substances of concern to the Environmental Working Group are bismuth oxycholoride and mica. The former is actually a by-product of lead and the latter is dangerous when inhaled in large quantities, hence why miners and construction workers wear masks when they work.
Some beauty experts suggest sticking to liquid mineral makeup formulas if these potential respiratory complications are of concern, but the debate continues to rage on where effectiveness is concerned.
“Those who love it rave about the light, natural, long-lasting glow that simply can’t be duplicated by other types of makeup,” Web MD observes. “Others, however, complain it’s drying, irritating, and accentuates wrinkles and adds years to your appearance. Some say the colors have an ashy undertone that is a particular problem for ethnic skin types.”
Even health experts are divided regarding the supposed “purity” of such formulas, with some maintaining that the absence of irritants makes it kinder to the skin, while others claim that mineral makeup is hardly different than the makeup women have been using for years, the news soruce reports. Experts maintain that mineral makeup is especially advantageous for those with sensitive skin conditions such as acne and rosacea, which encounter a calming effect thanks to the non-comedongenic properties of the natural ingredients. Plus, for those with skin conditions, mineral makeup is undeniably desirable for its ability to provide near-perfect-looking coverage.
So what’s the verdict?
According to Web MD, you should take care to read the label, as with any beauty or food product. Not all mineral makeup companies actually steer clear from using fillers and preservatives. If you can find a brand that stays true to its promise withoutthe use of mica or bismuth oxycholoride, what’s not to love?