Most mineral makeup provides opaque coverage—you still look like you, but with better skin. There are two types of powder: foundation and “finishing veil.” Foundation gives you more coverage and is usually tinted to match your skin color. The finishing veil is translucent and sets your foundation. Both will give your face an airbrushed look that will make your skin look radiant, youthful, and glowing. Mineral makeup is best used on normal to oily skin; its powdery finish soaks up excess oil and eliminates shine. For those with dry skin, mineral powder can exacerbate flakiness, so liquid-based foundation is best for adding much-needed moisture to your skin. Since mineral powder also allows your skin to breathe, it can have beneficial long-term effects for healthier skin. Luckily for your wallet, drugstore and department store brands are equally effective because they contain the same basic ingredients.
Mineral powders work especially well in summer, when liquid foundation feels heavy and you run the risk of it melting off your face. Best of all, applying mineral makeup is a cinch: start by buffing the outside of your clean, moisturized face with a kabuki brush, slowly blending toward the chin, nose, and forehead. As you apply, the minerals will warm and blend with the oils in your skin, giving you an ethereal glow. The satin finish also photographs well; it won’t be necessary to detag photos on Facebook anymore.
While mineral makeup provides a flawless finish, it can also help repair skin. Two major ingredients in mineral foundation are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, more commonly found in sunscreen. While mineral makeup has a built-in SPF, it’s best to layer it over sunscreen for assured protection. Zinc oxide has the added bonus of being an anti-inflammatory, so if you suffer from facial redness, your foundation can help calm your skin. In addition to zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, silica, talc, boron nitride, and iron oxide are also commonly found in mineral powder. Because most of these ingredients are found in nature, mineral powder tends to be nontoxic and much better for your skin than other cosmetics are.
Is mineral powder a miracle product? Hardly. Oprah-sanctioned health guru Dr. Oz recently ran a special about the dangers of mineral makeup. When you apply loose powder mineral makeup, you inhale nanoparticles, especially mica, that can settle in the lungs and lead to irritation, inflammation, and long-term problems such as lung disease. Also, titanium dioxide and bismuth oxychloride (the shimmery ingredient found in many mineral powders) can clog pores, so if you have sensitive skin or are prone to breakouts, choose brands wisely.
But before you toss out your mineral makeup, do some research. Maybelline, Fyrinnae, and Jane Iredale all make mica- and bismuth-free cosmetics, and while Dr. Oz might be fearmongering just a bit, trust your skin to tell you what it can and cannot handle.