The Ancient History of Mineral Makeup

Mineral makeup got its commercial start in the 1970s, with some of the really early all-natural makeup products.” But, its history is as ancient as the human desire to enhance one’s looks.

“Mineral makeup may be a comeback to technologies that have been in use since times of yore,”

“Many ancient cultures used ground-up natural minerals as a way of applying color to the skin for adornment, camouflage, war paints, etc”. Cleopatra’s kohl-rimmed eyes, for example.

“But the history of mineral makeup no doubt goes back much farther, even to early cave-dwellers.”

Diane Ranger
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So who first marketed the concept? One pioneer was Diane Ranger, the cosmetic chemist who founded her company in 1976. She developed her first mineral cosmetics because she felt there were a need and market for natural ingredients and a natural look and feel.

“In 1976, cosmetics firms were required to list ingredients on their products for the first time, and I was shocked at what we were putting on our skin,” says Ranger. She had grown up in an age of heavy traditional makeup.

“Then I went through my ‘hippie girl’ section and discarded makeup at the side of my bandeau.”

The growing desire for natural cosmetics coincided with the increasing number of women who identified themselves as having sensitive skin. “Add in marketing and media awareness, and an aging baby boomer,” Ranger says. “All this matter.”


 What’s in Mineral Makeup?

Minerals such as iron oxides, talc, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide are micronized, or ground and milled, into tiny particles to create makeup.

Are mineral merchandise the new staples or simply hype?

“Different products micronize to different levels,” Ranger says. “A product micronized to six times leaves minerals larger so they go on the skin with light to medium coverage. Products micronized 12 times create fine-sized particles that sit closer together and offer more coverage.”

A key distinction from standard makeup is what is not in mineral makeup.

“It generally does not contain the emollient oils and waxes, fragrance, and preservative ingredients found in conventional formulations. Mineral products are usually preservative-free, and since they have very low odor, they are often also fragrance-free, Preservatives and fragrance are often what cause irritation.


To ensure you are shopping for a high quality mineral makeup product, read the label.

If it says “mineral-enriched” or if the formulation is liquid or mousse, these products may contain ingredients such as paraben preservatives or dimethicone added for a smooth texture. Items that aren’t powders might also contain moisturizers, antioxidant vitamins, or other ingredients for your skin. It’s your choice.

The Benefits of Mineral Makeup

The benefits of mineral makeup have many women flocking to try it — and it isn’t all hype.

One claim is that mineral makeup will clear up skin disease.

But it’s unlikely that mineral makeup can clear up pimples, which may be caused by many factors, including changes in hormone levels.

The anti-irritating ingredients like zinc can be soothing to inflammation, but it’s not likely a cure-all.

The lack of the filler ingredients found in conventional makeup, can lead to less pore clogging. That can mean fewer breakouts.

“There are no studies, but if you are putting on moisturizer followed by sunscreen and then, on top of that, [putting] foundation  topped with powder, you are more likely to have clogs.”

“Mineral makeup does not make my skin disease worse, but it doesn’t make it better,” one researcher says.

Are mineral products just hype?


Another claim is that mineral makeup acts as a emollient to guard skin from sun injury.

The protective claims for zinc oxide (the white stuff your local lifeguard paints on his nose) and titanium dioxide, usually found in powder blends, do have some research behind them. The FDA has approved zinc oxide as a skin protectant and titanium dioxide as a sunscreen.

But — and this is a big but — no mineral makeup is going to give you enough SPF to protect you against damaging ultraviolet rays.

When it involves mineral makeup’s supposed skin-soothing properties, it is anti-inflammatory, noting that the calamine lotion you use to calm a rash is basically zinc oxide colored with iron chemical compound, both of which are in mineral makeup.

But there’s no proof of this claim or sign of how much product you need for that result.

What about the claim that it’s so gentle you can sleep in it? Mineral makeup’s light-as-air feel is part of what makes it so popular, and tempting to sleep in. Still, the advice is against sleeping in makeup of any kind to prevent clogs and irritation.

Mineral makeup won’t last as long on your face or be as sturdy as standard makeup as a result of it does not contain normal cosmetic ingredients like binders, waterproof polymers, and other “stick-to-your-skin” agents.

True mineral makeup has limitations in its natural variety of shades, so it may be difficult to find a perfect skin tone match.

Despite the calming effects, we can’t assume mineral makeup is clearly better for skin disease than other cosmetics.

If you have acne, use skincare products targeted to pimples.



So considering the positives and negatives should we use Mineral Makeup?

Here at Erase Cosmetics, we like to consider both sides of the argument and offer products that are fitting for our line of cosmetics. We have been looking for a quality range of mineral products to offer as our main product is not compatible with oil based cosmetics. Obviously many if not most of our customers like to have makeup on their face to one degree or another. In our opinion mineral makeup is the safest way to go. However we do limit it to powder in our range.

With a light dusting of a super fine powder, lipstick and some eyeliner your makeup can look complete while retaining the wrinkle free effect our Anti-Wrinkle Serum provides.