Mineral Foundation Buying Guide

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Mineral Foundation Buying Guide

Women engage in a never ending quest to find the perfect foundation for their skin. These products can be too light or dark, too heavy or nonexistent, or too difficult to use and not long lasting. Many women have found their perfect foundation in a mineral foundation powder.This product contains mostly mineral ingredients that are man-made or found naturally in the environment. It comes in light to dark shades and can be applied with a simple make-up brush. Mineral foundation is a powder so it applies smoothly and is light weight. It also goes very far, making it well worth the initial investment. There are lots of benefits and a few cons to using mineral foundation. However, those who educate themselves about this product can find that with the right formulation, the pros outweigh the cons. Mineral foundation is available in retail stores, make-up counters, make-up manufacturers, health and beauty websites, and through the auction site eBay.


Mineral foundation is composed primarily of minerals, which is no surprise to many women. However, the composition of these minerals and whether or not there are other ingredients added to the foundation varies depending on the manufacturer. The majority of manufacturers create traditional foundations that are ninety per cent fillers and ten per cent pigment. The pigment to filler ratio in mineral foundation is much higher, and the pigment comes from minerals that are in the foundation. Some mineral foundations use as few as four ingredients, such as mica, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and iron oxide. All four of these ingredients are minerals, but not all of them are mined from the earth as many are led to believe. Something like mica is a naturally found and mined mineral. However, zinc oxide is manufactured in the laboratory from zinc as the base material.

There are a couple of other ingredients included in mineral foundations. These additional gradients are intended more for preserving the foundation and help it to stay on the wearer’s skin.





White to dark, translucent, shiny; tiny flakes

Adds some pigmentation; highly reflective surface creates brightness and shine

Zinc oxide

White powder; man-made

Main pigment in foundation; water resistant

Titanium dioxide

White powder; man-made

UV sun protection

Iron oxide

Red, yellow, brown powders; earthy colours

Adds colour to the skin in different combinations of oxides

Bismuth oxychloride

Iridescent white; flaky powder

Creates a shimmery glow with reflective light

Boron nitride

White powder; man-made; hexagonal on microscopic level

Helps foundation stick to the skin

Not all of these ingredients are used in each brand of foundation, and there may be some ingredients used that are not listed in the above chart. Many of these ingredients are minerals, but that does not mean they are found pure in nature or that they are non-toxic, as is discussed below.

Pros of Mineral Foundation

Users of mineral foundation know that there are many benefits of this product. It is lightweight and easy to apply with a make-up brush. Some manufacturers also produce mineral foundation in creams or compressed sticks. The use of minerals and make-up has even expanded to include blush, lipstick, and even eye shadow. As it is a mineral based foundation, this type of make-up is easier on the skin and less toxic than a traditional foundation. A mineral foundation, especially a powder form, feels lighter on the skin and is not as noticeable as a liquid product. The powder is non-comedogenic, which means that it does not block the pores or cause acne flare-ups. In fact, some of the ingredients in a mineral foundation are naturally anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Mineral foundation also lasts a very long time because a small amount provides widespread coverage.

The use of mica and bismuth oxychloride also create a bright luminous effect. It is popular for reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

Cons of Mineral Foundation

Mineral foundation also has a few drawbacks. Some of the ingredients in mineral foundation are toxic to wear on the skin. For instance, titanium dioxide is a carcinogen that is absorbed into the skin in nano-powder form, which is often used in foundations. In order to keep this mineral from affecting the skin it has to be coated with silica or alumina. This is best done in a cream or liquid form, which is how most sunscreens are produced. There are also some indications that a powder mineral foundation can be inhaled and cause lung irritation and inflammation. It is important to be careful of breathing in particles of dust when applying the powdered form of this product to the skin. Mica particles, in particular, have been found to cause this kind of irritation. Another ingredient, boron nitride, may cause weight loss, and liver and kidney disruption with long term exposure. To help prevent possible irritation or damage to the skin, wearers should look for a mineral foundation without these ingredients.

Additionally, people with sensitive skin and conditions, such as rosacea, may develop irritation and breakouts when using mineral based foundation. It is important to test this product on a small area of the skin before using a mineral foundation as part of the daily make-up kit. One of the ingredients, bismuth oxychloride, has been known to cause irritation in people with sensitive skin.

There are a few other problems with using a powder foundation. It does tend to get everywhere, and is not easy to use on the go. Mineral foundation is a more expensive product compared to a traditional liquid foundation. Plus, there are not as many shades to choose from, especially darker shades.

Shelf Life

Theoretically, mineral based foundation has an indefinite shelf life if stored in a low light and sterile environment. Unfortunately, that is not possible as these products were meant to be used and worn throughout the day. The shelf life of a mineral foundation depends on how often it is used and the amount of bacteria that gets a chance to grow in the product. Some manufacturers produce foundation with antibacterial ingredients to help retard the growth of any microbes that get into the make-up. These ingredients include natural oils, such as grapeseed or lavender oil. Ideally, foundation should be used up or tossed every three months.

Another concern regarding shelf life is the UV protection of certain ingredients, such as titanium dioxide. Most sunscreens lose their UV protection after one to two years. If the product is stored in a warm environment or kept in sunlight, the UV protection is lost even faster. A foundation with strongly coloured pigments fades within a year as the pigments begin to break down.

Those who have a mineral foundation that is lying around unopened can still use it up to one year later and see good results. If the product is being used, it should be thrown away after three months.

Buying Mineral Foundation on eBay

Buying mineral foundation on eBay is a great way to save money on this expensive make-up. The site also serves as a place to comparison shop for foundations from manufacturers, near and far. To find this type of make-up, you can use the eBay categories and manually narrow down your selections. It is better to use the eBay search engine from any page on the site and save a little extra time. Using the search engine is simple. Just enter your search term into the search engine bar, choose your preferred category and hit the search button. The site searches through thousands of listings and returns all listings with matching descriptions containing your search term. For instance, a search of "L'Oreal &" provides a results page showing all listings containing this manufacturer’s name somewhere on the page.

Customer Feedback

Before purchasing any kind of make-up on eBay, it is a good idea to read some of the customer feedback for your seller. Customer feedback is available in the form of comments and a star rating for that seller from previous customers. To find the customer feedback, all you need to do is click on the seller name in any listing. This takes you to a new page on the website displaying previous customer feedback for that particular seller.


Mineral foundation is one of the few kinds of make-up with a minimum number of ingredients. The simplest recipe for powder foundation can include just four ingredients, mica, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and iron oxide. There are benefits and drawbacks to using a mineral foundation. This product is very light, easy to use, and goes a long way. People love to use this foundation for its brightness and the way it helps cover up wrinkles and lines on the face. On the downside, manufacturers sometimes include ingredients that are toxic to wear on the skin and harmful when inhaled in the powdered form. Some of these ingredients are carcinogens and others are just irritants that may cause sensitive skin to break out in an acne or rosacea flare-ups. Mineral foundation, like any other make-up, should be discarded after three months of use if it is not used up completely. An unopened package can be good for up to one year before the ingredients begin to break down or lose their potency. Mineral foundation is sold through many sellers on eBay.

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