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How to Look for Quality Mineral Makeup

I wrote up this article for my friends over at Painted Ladies. But of course, I wanted to share it here as well. Please feel free to leave comments in both places and let me know what you think. 🙂
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When I got into mineral makeup in April 2008, I didn’t know much about it, so I started to try and read everything I could find. Surprisingly, I didn’t find a lot of reviews (there were some) about mineral makeup companies. So I decided that I would start a blog and review everything I’ve tried. Through my trials, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve also learned a lot by emailing company owners and asking questions. They’ve shared many tips for me for discerning quality products, which I’m going to now share with you.

When there’s a company that you’re just dying to order from, before you hit that buy button, there are some things you should do.

1. Look at the products the company makes. Do they just make eye shadow? Or do they make other products? Unfortunately, a lot of companies that only make eye shadow may not have quality products or they may sell just repackaged products. Most companies that make quality mineral makeup sell at least eye shadow and blush. Normally they sell eye shadow, foundation and blush. Lipsticks and lip glosses are pretty much a labor of love for small, indie companies, so not everyone does them.

2. Look to see what they list for ingredients. If a company lists ingredients such as ‘shimmer, pigment, frost,’ that’s not right. Shimmer, pigment, frost, are not FDA approved ingredients. You can see what is approved here.

Now, you can give the company the benefit of the doubt and email the owner. They may not know that they’re listing ingredients improperly. I know I’ve contacted a few companies who didn’t realize it. Once I spoke to them, they corrected their listings. So there’s no harm in asking.

If however, the owner gets defensive or hostile, you’ve got an answer right there, and I would avoid that company.

3. Learning about what sort of ingredients are acceptable in mineral makeup helps, too.

Eye Shadows
For eye shadows, you’ll want to see an ingredients list like the following:

Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), May contain: Iron Oxides (CI 77499, CI 77491, CI 77492), Ferric Ferrocyanide (CI 77510), Ferric Oxide (CI 77491), Tin Oxide (CI 77861), Tin Dioxide (CI 778161), Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Silica
(From Aromaleigh’s Gothic Lolita collection.)

Mica, Titanium Dioxide. May contain Tin Oxide, Silica, UltraMarine Blue, Hydrated Chromium Oxide Green, Iron Oxides, Chromium Green Oxide, ferric ferrocyanide, Ultramarines, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Boron Nitride, Bronze Powder, Copper Powder, Silicon Dioxide, Cetyl Dimethicone, Zinc, and Calcium Sodium Borosilicate.
(From Dreamworld Minerals.)

Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide, Tin Oxide, Zinc Oxide.
(From Glamour Doll Eyes.)

Ingredients like zinc oxide, magnesium myristate, kaolin clay, coated mica, zinc stearatae, carnauba coated mica, silica etc should be in the list of ingredients because that helps an eye shadow to have lasting power and to blend.

It’s also possible to use some eye shadows as blushes if you want. Most mineral makeup eye colors are multipurpose for use on the cheeks. Some can be used on the lips but others are not lip safe.

Blushes
Mineral makeup blushes usually are very pigmented, so you can apply them sparingly to get a beautiful flush.
Blushes tend to look like the following:

Sericite Mica, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Magnesium Stearate.  May contain:  Manganese Violet.
(From Beautiful Girl Minerals.)

mica, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, iron oxides, ultramarines
(From Buff’d Cosmetics.)

titanium dioxide, iron oxides, ultra marine pigments.
(From Cory Cosmetics, mica-free blend.)

Foundations
For foundations, you’ll want to see an ingredients list like the following:

Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Iron Oxides
(This is from Meow’s Pampered Puss formula.)

Zinc Oxide, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Kaolin, Magnesium Stearate, Silica
(From Fyrinnae’s Superpower Mineral Foundation.)

Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Zinc Oxide, Pure Silk Powder, Boron, Silica, Iron Oxides, Jojoba Oil (vegetable derived), Magnesium Myristate. May contain ultramarine blue.
(From Purely Cosmetic’s Skin Smoothing foundation.)

Lipsticks
If you’re looking at lip products, you want to see ingredients like the following:

Ingredients: Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil(soybean), Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Kernel Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Ozokerite, Microcrystalline Wax, Sunflower Wax, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E). May contain: Shore Robusta, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter., Garcinia Indica Seed Butter, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Coffee arabica (coffee) seed oil, Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil, Cucurbita Pepo {Pumpkin} Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Brassica Abyssinica (Abyssinian) Oil, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Polyethylene Terephthalate(glitter), Flavor, Tin Oxide, Tin Dioxide, Silica, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Palmitic Acid, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Iron Oxides, Manganese Violet, Black 2(Carbon Black), Blue 1, Yellow 5, Red 7, Red 21, Red 27, Red 28, Red 30, Red 33, Red 40, Copper, Bronze.

(From Morgana Minerals.)

Certified Organic Castor and Jojoba Oils, Avocado Oil, Organic Candelilla Wax, Cranberry Oil, Raspberry Oil, Passionfruit Oil, Carnuaba Wax.  Also contains:  Mica, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, FD&C color
(From Silk Naturals.)

Cocoa Butter, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Sesame Oil, Castor Oil, Castor Wax, Candelilla Wax, Macadamia Nut Oil, Vitamin E. Pigment Ingredients: Mica; may contain Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Tin Oxide and Manganese Violet.
(From GeoGrafx Cosmetics.)

Ingredients I suggest avoiding:
Talc, Bismuth Oxychloride, pthalates and parahydroxybenzoate.

To me, talc is often a filler. Bismuth can cause itching, especially for sensitive skin. Pthalates are being phased out of most products in the USA.

Parahydroxybenzoate is also known as Ethylparaben, and it’s often used as a preservative. I’m somewhat on the fence about this one.

Ingredients that I suggest looking at to decide if you want them in your makeup or not:
parabens like butylparaben, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, and Propylparaben.
Some sites you can look at for more information are:
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-methylparaben.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraben

4. If the company makes a claim that their foundation has an SPF, see how they word it. If they say ‘this offers great SPF protection,’ be leery. If they say that their product does have titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which offers barrier protection, but that they can’t indicate a specific level of SPF, that is fine. Companies cannot actually claim a specific SPF rating with the FDA without doing expensive testing. As of right now, the only mineral makeup company that I know of that can make a specific claim is Bare Escentuals. They paid a huge amount of money to get every single shade and every single formula that they offer tested. This is why only a very large company can do such testing. A small, indie company is just not likely to be able to afford it. So if you see one claiming the same thing as Bare Escentuals, be very wary.

5. Google the company name with the word reviews after it. See what people have to say. Now google with repackage after it. If it comes up, read what people have to say, and weigh this with the other information you find on that company. You can also google the name of the eye shadows, as some companies keep the same names for colors if they’re just selling repackaged colors. Sometimes, these companies even use the same stock photos for the colors along with the stock names. There’s a set of pretty colors called Pops/Gumballs that fall in this category.

6. Just because a color is repackaged doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad. Many companies will list a repackaged color honestly and explain why they have it. Some companies have these colors due to customer request. Other companies like these unblended eye shadows because they’re pretty the way they are. If a company is honest about it, and you like it, definitely try it. Most of these companies, if they’re good, will add a base to the shadow. Be wary if a company doesn’t have any base ingredients listed for their unblended shades.

7. You can always check my Nixed list. Here I list companies that I don’t purchase from, for one reason or another.

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8 Comments

  • Hi MermaidBird,
    Yay thank you!
    I was trying to make it easy to understand, yet informative. Please let me know if I can ever help you 🙂

  • This is well-written and very informative article. Thanks so much for putting this information in a comprehensive article.
    This will be very helpful when I find a new company to try.
    Thanks!

  • Hi Blix,
    What bothered me about Christina Kocher's statement is that she claims that Kristen of Aromaleigh has bad mouthed her, but I see no evidence! No where on the makeup mutiny blog has anyone said 'X company sucks! Y company repacks! Don't buy from Z company!'

    Instead I see 'these are things to watch out for from a company,' and 'This is a list of trusted companies to buy from.'

    If the mineral makeup mutiny was all about calling out companies and saying 'don't buy from them!' and 'they're bad!' I wouldn't be a part of it.

  • Wow… *sigh*. They make themselves look worse by threatening people rather than just stating the truth about their products. Whether they repackage or not. I don't get it. Oh well.

  • Hi Blix,
    I do not know if Pure Luxe repackages. However, Christine from Pure Luxe wrote something that made sure I will NEVER purchase from her again:
    http://mineralmakeupmutiny.wordpress.com/2009/11/14/rainbows-skittles-gumballs-brights-roygbiv/

    As owner of the above “bubblegum” photograph, I insist you remove my picture any any mention on myself or my company in your slanger campaign.
    Any further infractions will be handled by my lawyer, Leland Richie.
    Mr. Richie will also be contacted in regards to the possibility of slander, defamation of character, and loss of business, perhaps in a group suit, involving all the companies you list.
    If your company, Aromaleigh, is suffering, you have only your self to blame.
    If you happen to be some new official mineral makeup police, show me your official paperwork, If not take care of your business, and we will take care of our own.
    Christina Kocher
    Owner
    Pure Luxe Cosmetics

    ———————————–
    Because of that, I will never give her any money again.

  • Ah, thanks for posting this! Do you know if Pure Luxe Cosmetics repackages? I google it and can't find a thing…however, a lot of their eye colours look repackaged to me.
    Maybe I'm just paranoid… :-/
    They are having a sale right now so I think I will purchase some samples and see for myself…I hate how the mineral makeup world has become a scary place. I swear I have wasted hours if not days of my life comparing colours!
    If you know of anything regarding Pure Luxe, I'd appreciate it if you would share with us. 🙂

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