Makeup isn’t just about glowing skin or long lashes anymore. Today, it’s about choosing what’s healthiest for your skin, which means finding products free of harmful additives. That’s where mineral makeup comes in. While conventional makeup contains loads of chemicals, mineral makeup is free of parabens, fragrance, preservatives, waxes, oils, dyes, talc, and other harsh ingredients that irritate or inflame sensitive skin, clogged pores and can cause allergic reactions. The best mineral makeup is hypoallergenic and anti-inflammatory. It feels so light and airy that many advocates say you can sleep in it. Instead of the thick, opaque pancake-makeup look of the nineties, mineral makeup gives you a natural-looking glow.
That said, not all mineral makeup products are created equal. Some product lines are better than others, and they cater to different skin types. If you’re looking for the best mineral makeup for you, read on for a review of the most popular items out there.
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Best Mineral Makeup FAQs
What Is Mineral Makeup?
Mineral makeup comes in all the same forms as regular makeup – foundation, eyeshadow, mascara, lipstick, blush, you name it. It doesn’t look any different, either – mineral mascara still comes in a tube; mineral foundation still comes in powder form or liquid. The difference is in the ingredients. Regular makeup contains a slew of chemicals that irritate skin and clog pores, but the best mineral makeup is free of all that.
What Does It Do?
It does the same thing regular makeup does – covers up blemishes and makes you look pretty, but the best mineral makeup does this in a safer, gentler, and more nourishing way. It does not cause breakouts, so it’s great for acne-prone skin. It absorbs excess oil, so many people with oily skin swear by it. Mineral makeup is also excellent for people with eczema or rosacea or other skin conditions that make it difficult to wear regular makeup.
Mineral makeup is not as heavy as regular makeup, so it creates a more natural, nude look, while still covering up blemishes, evening out skin tone, and giving your skin a healthy, even glow.
What Is It Made of?
Most mineral makeup is made of pulverized minerals processed into the products you see on the shelves. Most contain titanium oxide or zinc oxide, which is soothing to any irritated skin and also protects it from sun damage. (Note that many dermatologists warn against substituting your mineral foundation for sun protection. Usually, a thin layer of foundation is not enough to protect your skin, so don’t ditch your sunscreen or hat just because you’ve got mineral foundation on.)
To be clear, regular makeup also contains ground-up minerals. What separates mineral makeup from the conventional kind is what’s NOT in it – dyes, parabens, fragrances, preservatives, and other chemicals. Stay away from labels that say “mineral-enriched,” because those products might still contain the chemicals you’re trying to avoid.
Where Can You Buy It?
Mineral makeup is available anywhere you buy conventional makeup – at convenience stores, grocery stores, makeup stores, departments stores, and online.
Overall Price Range of Mineral Makeup
Mineral makeup will cost you anywhere from $7 to $25, which is about the same as most conventional makeup. But, while you can easily find cheaper conventional makeup, you probably won’t find a mineral makeup that’s cheaper than $7.
What We Reviewed
- Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Loose Powder
- Glo Skin Beauty Pressed Base
- Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Loose Powder Foundation
- Mineral Essence Magic Finish Translucent Powder
- L’Oréal Paris Makeup True Match Loose Powder Mineral Foundation
- Youngblood Liquid Mineral Foundation
- MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural Medium
- Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation
- PÜR 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup Foundation
- Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation
This loose powder brushes lightly over the skin, leaving a natural-looking glow. It comes with a brush that fits right into the compact. There is a plastic guard under the lid that prevents spills. Wear this as a foundation with your other makeup, or use it solo to cover up oily spots – it looks great either way.
- Lightweight and natural-looking
- Comes with a free brush
- Compact’s shape helps you prevent spills
- Only comes in 6 shades in a narrow range, so this product won’t work if you have fair or dark skin
- Some people found that the brush shed hairs
- Not ideal for dry skin
This makeup powder is pressed, not loose, which means it won’t spill if it tips over, and it provides a silkier coverage. The Glo Skin Beauty contains vitamins A, C, E and green tea extract. It has a liquid feel to it, and the finish is semi-matte (as opposed to glossy or dewy, like some liquid foundations).
- Comes in a wide range of over 20 shades, from white to dark brown
- Silky, smooth feel
- Not ideal for dry skin
This one also comes with a brush applicator, and it contains vitamins A, C, and E, as well as other naturally derived minerals. Because it is a powder, it is ideal for those with more oily skin. It provides a semi-matte coverage.
- Excellent semi-matte coverage for an evening out complexion
- Low price for a good product
- Not ideal for dry skin
- Some users found it does not last as long as the other products
- Only available in a small range of 8 shades, mostly for white or Caucasian skin tones
The most shimmery of those we tried, this powder adds an extra glow to your skin. The Mineral Essence Magic Finish contains vitamins and green tea extract and works great by itself or as a top-off to a fancier makeup job. This is a “finisher,” so it’s meant for use with other makeup. This is one of the best mineral makeup lines and for a decent price.
- Lightweight powder
- Gives a unique glow, more so than the other products
- The case is not as air-tight as it should be; the powder is prone to spilling.
- Only comes in one color
This loose powder comes in a self-containing package. With a brush included, you can carry this one around without the risk of spilling. It comes in eleven colors, which span a wider range of colors than even some of the best mineral makeup lines.
- Comes in 11 shades that span from light to dark
- Holds up well in heat and humidity
- Ideal for oily to neutral skin
- Not ideal for dry skin
- Some users did not like the brush and put on the powder with a different applicator
This product is excellent for skin that’s crying out for moisture. It contains more than just the usual minerals of zinc and titanium – it lists iron, potassium, magnesium, and copper as ingredients, and boasts that its deep sea water and botanicals provide special hydration for your skin. Liquid foundation is the best mineral makeup for dry skin, and Youngblood delivers a smooth, dewy glow.
- Contains one full ounce – that’s more than you get with other products
- Great coverage with a dewy finish
- Nine shades available for a reasonably wide range of skin tones
- Not ideal for oily skin
This is a pressed powder, but it’s not reserved just for oily skin types – it provides a dewy, satiny finish that almost feels liquid in its application. This product is only available in a small range of skin tones, so if you have fair or dark skin, it’s not for you.
- Long-lasting, through heat and humidity
- Ideal for both oily and dry skin types
- May contain dyes such as Yellow 5 Lake, according to some lists of ingredients
- Comes in nine shades, which fall in the medium range
This powder comes in a beautiful wooden compact with an interior screen that helps keep the powder from spilling. Tarte is a vegan line, so you can trust that this makeup wasn’t tested on animals and contains no animal byproducts. It’s made with Amazonian clay, natural gemstones, and pearl powder, and claims to have anti-aging properties. Also, it’s waterproof!
- Beautiful packaging and functional interior screen to prevent spills
- Provides a natural semi-matte look
- Comes in eleven shades in a wide range of skin tones
- Some say this product does not pair well with acne-prone skin, as its powder is rather heavy
What are the four things in one, you ask? With this pressed powder, you get a foundation, concealer, powder, and SPF 15. While this is a great product, that name might be misleading, because all the best mineral makeups function as those four things. (Remember, too, that mineral foundations aren’t a substitute for sun protection, even though it contains zinc oxide). Still, the PUR 4-in-1 is an excellent choice of mineral makeup. It provides a silky sheen to the neutral skin. It’s available in a wide array of colors, and it lasts a long time.
- Vegan-friendly (no animal by-products or testing)
- Contains vitamin B3
- Comes in eleven shades
- Moderately priced
- Not ideal for oily skin
Lily Lolo’s loose powder is known as one of the best mineral makeups, with a lightweight feel and tight-locking compact to prevent spillage. It comes in eighteen shades, which sounds like a lot, but none of them is very dark, so this product is only for you if you have fairer not-too-dry skin.
- Excellent for oily skin
- Light and silky feel
- Water resistant
- No-spill compact
- Amazon does not ship this product to the United States
- Limited selection of colors for darker skin tones
It all comes down to what you’re looking for. Listed above are some of the best mineral makeups, but we still can’t tell you which one to buy. Makeup is not a one-size-fits-all product. If you have dry skin, we recommend the Youngblood. If you have oily skin, we recommend the Tarte, the Glo Skin, or L’Oreal Paris. If you’re in the UK, then you’re among the lucky ones who can order Lily Lolo off of Amazon. When comparing the best mineral makeups, there’s something for everyone – but it depends on your skin tone and your preferences.