Mineral powder foundation is still a popular choice in makeup ever since it first emerged in the mid 1970s—and it is not showing any signs of disappearing.
One of the perks to using a powder is that it can easily even out the complexion without looking like you’re wearing heavy makeup. Plus, the natural minerals can do some nice things to help your skin that other foundations can’t do.
Another advantage to using this type of foundation is the absence of water, which reduces bacteria and gives it longer shelf life. Mineral powder contains natural ingredients, as well as skin-enhancing properties leading to fewer breakouts. This type of foundation also provides buildable coverage and long-lasting wear during the day.
In fact, when applied well, mineral powder foundation can look better several hours after putting it on than right after application!
As anyone who has used mineral makeup can testify, the powder can be a bit tricky to apply until you get the hang of it.
Here are some tried-and-true steps to achieving a flawless complexion using mineral makeup.
First, prep your skin before using powder. Exfoliate any dead skin cells so that skin is smooth before beginning. Otherwise, the powder can get stuck on flaky skin.
I like using Tata Harper’s Regenerating Cleanser with apricot seed powder to remove dead skin cells and white willow bark extract to exfoliate. Once a week, I use something stronger like Rena Levi’s The Amazing Scrub, aptly named as it’s like microdermabrasion in a jar. You can actually feel your skin tingling hours after you have washed it off.
Once you start with a smooth surface, a good moisturizer patted into the skin is a must, especially if you have drier skin. For more mature skin, I like using versatile pure oils like Josie Maran’s argan oil.
Sugared Beauty offers a menu of some of my favorite skin treats: organic, unrefined coconut oil; organic, raw shea butter; organic argan oil; and raw grapeseed oil [See sidebar]. For oilier skin, Arcona’s Magic White Ice has a gel-like consistency and ingredients that are suited for balancing out that skin type.
Sunscreen at this point is optional as most mineral makeup contains titanium oxide and zinc oxide, which are natural barriers to the sun. If you’re going to choose a sunscreen, pick something light and non-whitening like Hydropeptide SPF 30 Anti-wrinkle Skin Enhancing UV Protection, which comes highly recommended on Marta Wohrle’s Truth in Aging website (www.truthinaging.com).
Next, dab concealer onto any discolorations, under eyes (which need something more moisturizing than powder), and around laugh lines. An overall favorite among natural and organic consumers seems to be RMS Beauty’s Un Cover-Up. I join those opinions in favoring this product, as it contains skin-benefiting ingredients and melts into the face easily.
I also like Tarte’s 4-in-1 concealer that covers, treats, and heals, and is especially great at blurring dark under-eye circles.
Choose a Brand With Silk Powder
Now that those steps are completed, it’s time to apply the mineral makeup. In choosing which brand to use, keep in mind that not all minerals are created equally. I’ve tried many over the years and have found that the formula must contain one key ingredient for it to sit right on my skin—and that is silk powder.
Karen Stark lists the skin benefits of silk powder on her website, Silk Naturals: “Silk powder absorbs excess oil, pulls moisture from the air to help hydrate dry skin; contains 18 amino acids that help to condition the skin; feels smooth.”
Stark’s mineral makeup is custom blended to suit your exact skin color. You add the various powder shades to make it your perfect match.
Two great pre-blended formulas that earn rave reviews are Sally B’s Skin Yummies Luxury Mineral Foundation with silk powder, allantoin, and silicone; and Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques mineral foundation that lists jojoba oil infused with flower essences combined with pearl and silk powders, among many other skin-enriching elements.
All these formulas are truly natural with no harmful preservatives, no bismuth oxychloride, and no nanoparticles, ingredients that are often considered irritants or unsafe for use. Lauren Brooke does not use titanium dioxide either.
Use a Good Powder Brush
Next you will need a good-quality powder brush. Some great cruelty-free brushes are sold on any of the recommended mineral foundation websites, such as www.sallybskinyummies.com and www.naturaljoybeauty.com (the website for Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques). In addition, I also like The Body Shop’s cruelty-free Face & Body brush or Ecotools’ bamboo-handled Kabuki brush.
Apply a Light Dusting of Powder
Shake a small amount of powder into the container’s lid—about 1/8 teaspoon of powder—and sift it so that it loosely covers the inside of the lid. This will ensure that you don’t take too much powder, resulting in a heavy application that won’t look good. This foundation is best layered—later you can always add more to areas of your face, jaw line, and neck that need extra coverage.
Organic Argan Oil
Fights fine lines and wrinkles
Softens cuticles and hair
Great for all skin types
Organic Unrefined Shea Butter
Retains all its skin-guarding carotene and alatonin
Softens rough heels and elbows over night
Helps keep décolletage wrinkle free
Supports a co-op in Ghana that pays a fair price for their crop
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Smells like a freshly cracked coconut
Softens and protects skin
Makes a wonderful hair treatment
Has natural antimicrobial qualities
Raw Grapeseed Oil
Works as a wonderful face serum
Safely removes eye makeup
Sarah Zahn is owner and founder of Sugared Beauty, LLC, a beauty brand full of healthy, made-to-order skincare products. She focuses her attention on creating a connection with her customers and developing simple, multitasking products that are effective and affordable.
Has the same antioxidant benefits as eating a grape! Swirl the foundation brush into the lid and shake off any excess. Now firmly press the brush into your skin one section at a time. Usually I start on one cheek, the side of my nose, top of nose, and work my way to the other side.
I dip into the lid for more foundation and do my chin and forehead the same way, gently but firmly pressing into my skin. You can always sprinkle more powder into the lid, as needed.
Your skin tone should start looking more even, with any redness or discolorations vanishing, yet your natural glow should still be able to shine through.
Now you can go over any areas that need extra attention, though the last step, a light dusting of finishing powder, will take care of that too.
Add Blush and/or Bronzer
This is when I apply blush and bronzer to add a natural glow to the apples of my cheeks and facial contour.
The Finishing Touches: Finishing Powder and Mist
Finishing powder is an optional but nice way to seal any foundation, close pores, reduce shine, and blend in the blush and bronzer. Here is where the Silk Naturals website offers the most options, with a lovely menu of Perfecting Glows, Blurs, oil-controlling powders, and pure silk or sheer zinc powders. Each has a different purpose, depending on the desired effect.
At last, the final step in creating a perfect finish—and this is a must—a light spritz of a hydrating setting mist. My favorite products for this step are AmorePacific Moisture Bound Skin Energy Mist, which harnesses the hydrating properties of bamboo sap in lieu of water; The Body Deli Hydra-Mist, which stimulates collagen synthesis and integrin with Vitamin C and peptides; and CV Skinlabs Rescue + Relief Spray, a refreshing milky emulsion created to calm skin that is inflamed and irritated, and is especially suited for relief from chemical treatments, eczema, or burns.
Once you get the hang of it, this entire application process does not have to take long at all. The upside is that you don’t have to think about your face for the rest of the day—though a light retouching mid-afternoon in the summer never hurts, or an extra spray of the mist to refresh yourself feels great in both summer or winter.
So go ahead and get your mineral glow on and let your natural beauty emanate.
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