Face-Off! Mineral Foundation


Whenever I wake up with a few red marks on my cheek or a fresh pimple, I usually feel much better after putting on a dab of mineral concealer. From a psychological point of view, it helps a lot to “mitigate“ acne and other skin rushes. However, as much as I like covering up my flaws, I also had to learn (and it took me quite a while), that it’s even more important to let my skin breathe as much and as often as I can, especially while I’m at home and don‘t have to see anybody. Exaggeration is never a great idea.

Although mineral makeup is often suggested for acne prone skin, it can still cause pimples. Many manufacturers add titanium dioxide to their mixture, and in most cases it is coated with silicone (=dimethicone), which may clog your pores. TiO2 might also be coated with aluminum hydroxide or be uncoated. Since the manufacturer usually does not specify the coating material (especially if the minerals are coated with silicones), the search for the right makeup can take a LONG while and become extremely frustrating.

So: Where? When? Why? Which one?

Usually, it is the safest bet to choose a mineral foundation with plenty of zinc oxide as a basic ingredient. It has anti-inflammatory, mild antimicrobial and healing properties, is considered to be non-comedogenic – and has (at least in my opinion) a slightly more professional finish. This makes it a pretty good ingredient for acne prone and sensitive skin. It provides a little sun protection (usually at about SPF 15, depending on the product), but please be careful: it is NO sunscreen replacement for the beach. Powder doesn’t form an even all-over-protection.

A good mineral foundation should contain only very few and minimal ingredients. Make sure it doesn’t contain any nanoparticles, coated particles or bismuth (many people are allergic to it). That‘s why you‘ll want to avoid the most regular drugstore brands. These usually contain silicones, mineral oils or other film building agents, artificial fragrances or fillers that can easily clog your pores or irritate your skin.

Most mineral foundations contain mica. This is a completely harmless substance that diffuses the light on top of your skin and thus distracts from imperfections. There are only very, very few people (thank goodness!) that react to this substance with redness or even get pimples. However, it’s considered an extremely safe ingredient and the great majority of people won’t ever experience any such reaction. I just want you to know that an intollerance can never be completely excluded, even if you‘re using a minimalist product. So before you conquer the world with your new mineral makeup, make a patch test under your chin for a few days, to see if your skin likes it or not!

If you can, order some samples to test different shades from different companies: a slightly lighter shade than your skin tone is ideal to conceal imperfections, an exactly matching shade for the overall finish. Apply the mineral foundation you‘re going to choose in VERY thin layers (less is more!) and/or try to cover your blemishes only. With mineral foundation you can achieve excellent coverage which is breathable – but only if you apply it the RIGHT way (and not too much of it)!

Which brand?

Just have a look at the ingredients. A mineral foundation shouldn’t contain more than 3-5 different ingredients. A few safe and natural brands I know of are: Lily Lolo (UK), EDM (U.S.) or Chrimaluxe (DE – quite similar to Lily Lolo). Personally, I won‘t get any pimples using Geografx (U.S.) either – but the powder is not as delicate as the ones produced by Lily Lolo or EDM. Uglogirl (U.S.) is a great choice as well, but expensive. Anyway, I’m sure there are many more great brands out there!!!

Personally, I‘m using Lily Lolo. On their website titanium dioxide is listed as a possible ingredient of their mineral foundation, but it is not included in the actual product. I have a few different shades of it at home, and the only ingredients are: mica, zinc oxide and some coloring iron oxides. The concealer gives a slightly better coverage, but it contains titanium dioxide. Anyway, it‘s rutile TiO2 (i.e. harmless), not nano and not coated. I’m using it to cover up red marks or a pimple every now and then. There is also a concealer with a greenish undertone to reduce redness.

Which kind of brush should I use?

I don’t want to suggest you any specific brand. I think, it doesn’t matter that much. It’s mainly important to choose a very soft brush. Try it before buying! It can also be a simple paint brush (if you want to save some money), but it definitely should feel soft and tender on your skin. It‘s no fun “massaging” the pigments into your face with prickly bristles: these could aggravate your skin condition even more and lead to further inflammation.

Clean the brush you‘re using every day (or change it). The best way to wash it is using a mild soap (something like Dr. Bronner‘s ) or a mild baby shampoo (Weleda produces a nice one). To avoid that any residues (which could possibly be comedogenic) remain attached to the bristles of your brush, rinse it very well! Always.

What about you? Is there any mineral foundation you swear by?

Lots of love,

© image by Svea

  1. Zee said:

    i’m glad you’re back! 🙂 have you ever tried the one from Benecos? i love it. it’s got quite an unusual formulation, so it’s probably not exactly what you’d call a mineral foundation, but it’s natural, cheap and effective, good coverage and kind on my irritable skin. oh, it comes in a very limited range of colours 😀
    cheers! 🙂

    • Svea said:

      Hi Zee! 😉

      No, I haven’t tried it yet. I see that it contains a few moisturizing elements like glyceryl caprilate and glycerin, plus some stabilising and acid-balancing plant extracts. Anyway, there is no gunk in it. 🙂

      I still prefer the minimal version, but it’s great to know that it works that well for you. 😀

      Lots of love!

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