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02-25-10 | Posted by

Mineral Makeup Lines Abound with Claims of Health and Beauty Benefits

We’re in the midst of a mineral revolution, mineral makeup that is, and it appears there is no end in sight. What started as a small trend in counter culture San Francisco in the mid-1970s has turned into a mega-money maker. To wit, Bare Escentuals, the category’s market leader with its BareMinerals brand, is being purchased by Shiseido, Japan’s BIGGEST cosmetics company, for a whopping $1.7 million. And believe you me, the success of Bare Escentuals has not gone unnoticed, from the feting of Leslie Blodgett, the company’s guiding CEO, by the cosmetics industry and Wall Street, to the provocation of a gaggle of new lines and products boasting natural, healing and protective claims.

There is even a battle of the founding mothers. Diane Ranger, founder of Colorescience, calls herself “the mother of mineral makeup,” having created Bare Escentuals in 1976, but leaving the company before Leslie Blodgett joined in 1994 and changed the course of makeup history.

So what’s the fuss all about, I wondered, as I began to investigate mineral-based cosmetics? At its best, the mineral lines infuse natural ingredients from the earth like zinc, iron oxides, mica, liquid crystal and pearl powder with beneficial actives like hyaluronic and salicylic acid, peptides and antioxidants. At its worse, the term “mineral” is nothing but a marketing ploy whereby companies add a few minerals to conventional formulas that contain red flag ingredients like paraben, mineral oil, talc, alcohol and preservatives. (For an analysis of mineral makeup’s health benefit claims, visit www.webmd.com.)

In the meantime, let’s take a look at what’s happening with the leading and forward thinking mineral makeup brands.




Not merely a commercial success, BareMinerals from Bare Escentuals has garnered more than a dozen magazine awards in the last four years, including the Allure Reader’s Choice Award for Best Foundation each year from 2006 to 2009. That’s best overall foundation, not just mineral. It’s BareMinerals SPF 15 Foundation ($25) continues to be a bestseller as does BareMinerals Matte SPF 15 Foundation ($28). Furthermore, the company claims its product is so pure, you can sleep in it. Available at Sephora, Ulta and specialty stores, additional retailers can be found at www.barescentuals.com.





Diane Ranger revisited her original first love, loose mineral makeup, and established Colorescience Pro in 2000. Her healthy makeup approach gets a heads up from the dermatologists and plastic surgeons who carry the brand in addition to day spas, resorts and makeup artists’ studios. The range encompasses face, eye, lip and sun protection products. Sunforgettable ($57), a brush on clear, powder sunscreen with SPF 30 is the cornerstone of the company’s larger campaign against skin cancer. Colorescience’s commitment to the medial esthetic market continues with the Colorescience All Calm Corrective Kit for Redness Corrector Kit ($139), a camouflage system for skin discoloration and scars.




Using the tagline, “skin nurturing makeup for beauty with a higher purpose,” GlōMinerals was formulated for skin-care professionals, including dermatologists and plastic surgeons. The products combine pharmaceutical grade, triple-milled, high pigment minerals, and vitamins A, C and E in formulations that provide broad spectrum UV protection. New spring launches include GlōMetallic Smoky Eye Kit ($32), GlōWater Resistant Mascara ($19.50) and GlōRedness Relief Powder ($25). GlōMinerals products are available at salons, spas and doctor offices as well as www.gloskincare.com.

Susan Posnick



After perfecting the appearance of models and celebrities during her 20-year career, makeup artist Susan Posnick faced her own challenge—skin cancer. Switching focus in 1999, Susan developed Colorflo ($64) mineral makeup, a foundation with substantial sun protection—SPF 26—that has a light feel and does not melt off in the heat. The sun protection comes from micronized titanium dioxide and micronized zinc oxide. The range now includes lip color, mascara, correcting pencils, eye color and cheek color. Visit www.susanposnick.com for retail information.




Minerals have been used in a variety of Clinique products since the brand’s inception. In fact, Blended Face Powder ($19), which launched the very same year the brand debuted, contains minerals. This past September, responding to the growing popularity of loose powders, Clinique Superbalanced Powder Makeup SPF 15 Mineral Rich Formula ($32.50) was introduced. Formulated to retain moisture balance but also absorb oil, the powder starts out in a compressed form, but via a compact “shaver” it is transformed into loose powder for application. Available at department stores and clinique.com.

Jane Iredale



As a film, theater and television casting director and producer, Jane Iredale worked intimately with women whose careers depended on clear complexions. In 2004, she formed her cosmetics company to provide makeup that would aid the health of the skin by being talc and paraben free, anti-inflammatory and suitable for use with acne or rosacea. New launches include The Starter Kit ($79), which features five products and three brushes in a two layered jewel box, and Artists’ Eyes II ($96), a palette of six eye-color shades. Visit www.janeiredale.com for spas, pharmacies and doctors that sell the brand.

Mining for Minerals

We live in explosive times, and that includes an explosion of mineral-based makeup lines. The above is just a sampling. Other lines to check out are Pür Minerals, Monavé, Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics and Sheer Cover as well as introductions from L’Oréal and Neutrogena. You decide if the madness is fact or fiction.


Note: Select products were complimentary sent for this story.

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