Mineral makeup is surrounded by a lot of simple misconceptions. Because this specific cosmetics category contains no perfumes, talc, alcohol, dyes, mineral oil, or preservatives, it can certainly serve as a great alternative to more traditional products (especially for those who have experienced adverse reactions to the above ingredients). But in my experience as a makeup artist, and now as the creator of my own line, Surratt Beauty, I've learned that each person's skin needs are uniquely different. That means there's no such thing as a miracle foundation for everyone with acne or everyone with dry skin—it all depends on the individual. Below, I've outlined a few myths (as well as the truths!) surrounding mineral makeup, so your next foundation purchase will be your absolute best.
1. Mineral makeup is great for sensitive skin.
False. Every person's complexion concerns and needs are different, so it's impossible to say that mineral makeup—because it's billed as an "all-natural" product—works on all sensitive skin types. In fact, there's a decidedly inorganic chemical compound in most mineral makeup called bismuth oxychloride, which creates a glowing quality on the skin. This ingredient is crystalline, so it can actually get stuck in pores and cause further irritation. Those with rosacea or acne are best sticking with a balmy, nurturing formula like a BB cream, which will soothe the skin while providing coverage.
2. Acne sufferers should only use mineral makeup because it's oil-free.
False. Many people who struggle with acne tend to avoid products containing oil because they don't want to "add fuel to the fire," but that's not necessarily the best way to go. The thing is, most mineral makeup creates a dry, powdery finish, which can cause the skin to produce more oil in compensation. The result? The oils mix with your powdered mineral makeup, causing it to cake and look heavy, which in turn draws more attention to acne and imperfections. At the end of the day, oils and silicones aren't always bad for acne-prone skin. In fact, they can sometimes have balancing, nourishing, and calming properties.
3. Because mineral makeup is "all-natural" and "hypoallergenic," it's better for you.
False. There are a lot of "natural" things out there that aren't good for your skin, so it would be a mistake to assume that every natural product is good for you. Generally, mineral makeup is touted as being free of fragrance, dyes, and preservatives, but not all of those things are bad (depending on your skin type). Preservatives can actually be good because they keep makeup from spoiling, and obviously expired product can lead to a breakout or bad reaction. In addition, while it's true that a product labeled "hypoallergenic" won't contain the most common allergens, it doesn't mean it's free of all allergens. If you're concerned that you may be allergic to an ingredient in a beauty product, whether it's mineral makeup or not, you should get tested by a doctor.
4. Applying mineral makeup is a faster and easier process than applying "regular" makeup.
False. Mineral makeup is typically applied via a "swirling and buffing" method using a Kabuki style brush. This technique is marketed as faster and easier than applying "normal" (i.e. liquid or cream) foundations. For one, I find that you have to be really careful when it comes to applying a powdery foundation with a large brush and a "swirling" method because the powder attaches to the tiny hairs on the face and can create the illusion of peach fuzz. This can be avoided by buffing the product on first, then sweeping the brush downward so the hairs settle in one direction. And of course, there are so many great application tools on the market today—namely theBeautyblender, a soft sponge applicator that takes the guesswork out of applying foundation. In reality, both types of makeup are fairly easy to apply once you have the right tools.
5. Mineral makeup looks more natural than alternative formulas.
False. Here's a good rule for any foundation ever: It only looks natural if it's applied correctly. But mineral makeup is based on an opaque white compound, so it can actually flash out in photography and cause skin to appear whiter in photos. (Not great news for the selfie lover!) Over the years, I've seen many red carpet photos where a celebrity's face appears whiter than her neck and décolletage, which is commonly attributed to mineral powders. Finally, mineral makeup can also end up looking dry on the skin. An easy solution is to "bounce" or stipple a moist Beautyblender on top of the areas where you have applied powder foundation or mist the face with Evian finishing spray.
6. Mineral makeup doubles as sunscreen.
False. This is a myth that could apply to really any type of foundation. Essentially, because makeup is based in pigments that refract light, there's a general belief that most foundations provide an SPF of 8. This could be true, but you would have to apply an extremely thick layer of product from your hairline to the neck in order to get a sufficient amount of protection. This isn't ideal, considering the whole point of mineral makeup is to create a sheer, natural finish—if it's applied correctly, theres no way it's going to adequately protect you from the sun. The best way to get your daily dose of sun defense with makeup is to use a BB cream with SPF and apply it as you would your moisturizer.