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Product Review: Mineral Makeup on a Budget

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Let’s take a trip through the mineral makeup offerings from the drug store beauty aisle!

Make-up marketers are savvy folks. When Bare Minerals burst onto the scene years ago with its now-famous mineral makeup foundation, all the major makeup brands followed suit. While the hype has died down somewhat over the last several years, there’s still plenty of options to be had for anyone who prefers powdered makeup formulas.

Mineral makeup and its benefits

What the heck is mineral makeup anyway? Here’s the scoop: mineral makeup is made of natural, finely ground natural minerals — specifically, iron oxides, talc, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide, according to WebMD.

More importantly, mineral makeup does not contain pore-clogging oils or irritating fragrances, which means it’s often a better match for sensitive skin. As well, many of these powdered formulas look more natural than liquid makeup, but still provide that full coverage for those who need it.

Some formulations also have SPF. But as WebMD points out, this can be a tricky benefit. You may need to apply a lot of makeup to get the full SPF as labeled. If you tend to wear foundation lightly, it’s wise to continue applying your regular sunscreen underneath your mineralized formula.

Mineral makeup from Target

L’Oreal Paris True Match Loose Powder

L'Oreal True Match Mineral Makeup

I’ve used True Match liquid products before, but never the powder. It does come with its own brush, which is a nice perk (assuming the brush is high quality). It’s also formulated with Pro Retinol A, vitamin C, and SPF 17.

This formula has a four-star rating from 222 customer reviews, with high marks for value and quality.

The price is $11.99 for 0.35 oz. Buy it here.

Neutrogena Mineral Sheers

Neutrogena Mineral Sheers, $11.99 for .18 ounces: Just tried the Powder Foundation here, in “light to neutral,” and had high hopes because I generally love Neutrogena products. The container is genius—powder and brush applicator all in one convenient piece—but the results? Just so-so. The color blended fine, but didn’t cover as completely or stay in place as well as Sonia Kashuk.

Yay or Nay: For the money, a Nay—functioned more as a glorified face powder than a true foundation.

Jane Be Pure Mineral, $6.99 for .18 ounces:: Again, just the powder foundation, this time “colorless.” And again, great container (this time with a puff instead of brush), which gave better coverage than Neutrogena’s. Being that it goes on almost like a pressed powder, I’m actually using it to cover shiny spots—but as a mineral foundation? It’s just okay.
Yea or Nay?: It’s inexpensive, so I’ll give it a Yea for affordability, but I’m on the fence for quality.

A word of caution: While mineral makeup is great in terms of being natural and easier to match for color, we have to note that it can be drying to the skin, which is not particularly good for those of us over 30. The mineral powder does settle into lines a bit more readily, as well. My thoughts? If nothing else, it’s a great option for summer, especially for those of us who live in humid locales where that liquid foundation just seems a bit too heavy.

Megan Bloom

Tuesday 14th of February 2012

Another great mineral makeup option (as well as affordable) is Erth Minerals @ . They don't have the talc that was mentioned earlier (which I can't use) or bismuth oxychloride. It's also much more affordable than BM- $15.00 for the same size 9 gram foundation. I found them through Safe Cosmetics/Skin Deep database about 4 years ago & have been using them ever since. I agree that mineral makeup can be drying, but if you moisturize well (20-30 minutes before application), I haven't noticed this nearly as much & can wear it all year round. It just can't be an "ultra greasy" moisturizer. MB


Monday 10th of December 2007

Last year I did a lot of research on mineral cosmetics and found this site.

I like it because it’s cheap and convenient (if you’re comfortable with ordering online), and most importantly, it’s cheap to order samples so you can see what color really works on your skin.  Shipping on all orders over $10 is free, so once you find a color that works for you, you can order your foundation and get it shipped for free in the US.

Thursday 6th of December 2007

Hanni, talc isn’t listed in the ingredients of the Sonia Kashuk trio, but I can’t find anything that specifically says the line is talc free. Anyone else?


Thursday 6th of December 2007

I tried mineral makeup when it first came out a couple of years ago and hated it - a beauty consultant friend of mine and I both said it looked like funeral makeup - so I stuck with liquids and powders.  Then about a month ago I was reading about safer cosmetics ( and I decided to try it again.  Something changed over those couple of years because now you’d have to pry it from my cold dead hands.  I LOVE IT!!!  It’s great coverage for my uneven and large pored skin.  I stay oil-free longer and it gives me that porcelain look that I thought could only happen after a chemical peel and a face lift.

Jennifer S. S.

Thursday 6th of December 2007

Have you tried Physicians Formula? It works very well for me.

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