Product Review: Mineral Makeup on a Budget

What: Angela wades through some of the mineral makeup offerings from the drug store beauty aisle.
The Lowdown: Make-up marketers are savvy folks—and so anyone who makes regular visits to the beauty aisle knows there’s always something new being touted. These days? It’s mineral make-up—and plenty of the major make-up brands are jumping on the mineral bandwagon. What the heck is mineral makeup anyway? Here’s the scoop: mineral makeup is made of natural, finely ground natural minerals, without the requisite chemicals, dyes, etc. The buzz is that it’s better for your skin (natural, and let’s the skin breath) and adds a natural glow. Um, we’ve heard that before. So which one of these new mineral products, if any, is worth parting with your hard-earned money for? I checked out a few, and here’s what I found:
~Sonia Kashuk for Target Mineral Face Palette, $14.99 This product came in a set of three—blush, powder foundation, concealer. Let me just say that I was very leary about power foundation—my skin tends to be uneven and red in places, so I had little hope for good coverage, but I’m now eating my words. It actually goes on evenly, covers surprisingly well, and stuck around. Just about all day. My liquid foundation doesn’t even do that.
The color had me worried too—I have olive skin, and typically struggle to find a good match. I picked “warm tawny” and crossed my fingers, and it was great. Minerals, it seems blend much better with your actual skin tone than traditional liquids (we’ve all seen it—the foundation “mask”—and it isn’t pretty). Loved the blush, too, and I don’t even like blush (it’s a hold-over attitude from the overdone 80s).
Yea or Nay?: Oh Yea. Strangely, this doesn’t seem to be available online, so get to your local Target (Kathryn loves her make-up brushes, too—read more here.)
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.


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    Blog Comments

    If you are going to do Mineral Makeup, you really have to try Bare Escentuals. It costs more (you can get some good bargains at or at but it is the best.

    I agree on the Bare Minerals…I’ve tried a few others and nothing works quite as well.  Thought it’s expensive, a container of foundation lasts me 6 months.  I use Smashbox foundation primer to keep it out of fine lines (also expensive, but a little goes a very long way).

    I use Loreal Bare Naturale. They have a whole line from concealer, finish, foundation and blush too. I find it works well when money is tight and I can’t splurge on Bare Esscentuals.

    E.L.F. is also doing mineral makeup now. I haven’t tried it yet, but i’ll give it a go on my next order.

    I am a beauty hound, so I was on the mineral make up bandwagon long ago.  Unfortunately I could never find a foundation color to match my skin tone…I always looked “ashy” or green.

    I came across a company that began to formulate colors specifically for darker skin types. (

    It seems after asking a larger company about a color for her tone, they told her that they had no intention of creating one and that she should try to mix the powders that already existed. 

    Love, love love them!  Now I have officially switched to mineral makeup exclusively.

    I also find the MMU to be a bit drying, so I alternate: a few days a week I use the Physician’s Formula and a few days a week I used Neutrogena Glow Sheers tinted moisturizer. I think the key to MMU looking great is application, a big, dense brush is key. Thanks for the product recs, Angela!

    Bare Essentials is a great product.  Probably a little pricey, but it lasts a long time.  I agree that Neutrogena does not cover very well, and it has a strange odor, which could be the brush and not the minerals.  But in general, I love the mineral products.  Bare Essentials makes a moisturizer which works great.  I always use it prior to the makeup application and it solves the dryness problem.

    I have sensitive skin and like to use mineral powders that are talc-free—this talc thing is important to me. currently I’m using Pierre Cosmetics (read: expensive).

    I noticed looking at covergirl and several other drugstore mineral foundations that one of the first ingredients was talc.

    I can’t find a formulary for the Sonia Kushak powders. Are they talc-free?

    DO not like the Avon Mineral Make-up…it does have that funeral feel as another person said. I will look for the Sonia Kashuk, I like her stuff.

    I just tried the Jane one (free after rebate @ Walgreens!) and I agree-  It is really more like a pressed powder.  Does anyone know of a knock-off version of the Smashbox primer?

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

    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.

    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?

    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.

    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.

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