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History and the Why of Mineral Make Up

Mineral Cosmetics are not new. People have been using it for thousands of years. Men and women alike have been painting their bodies with “earth colours” since ancient times, think Aboriginal tribes painting their skin before ceremonies or Cleopatra underlining her eyes with Black Kohl or using ground pigments like red ochre to colour her lips and cheeks.
As beauty legend has it, it was the mid-1970s, in the aftermath of the frenzied peace love-ins of San Francisco, that a quiet, little cosmetic revolution was born. It was called “mineral makeup” – products made of all natural, finely ground minerals from the earth, without any of the chemicals, dyes, and preservatives found in traditional makeup. Fast-forward some 30 years: Mineral makeup is virtually exploding the beauty market. 
According to further legend, the marketing term ‘mineral makeup’ was coined by Diane Ranger, the owner of Colorescience back in 1977 (her first mineral makeup brainchild was Bare Escentuals).
In more recent years, conventional methods have led to the development of not-so-natural cosmetics full of chemicals and unhealthy, often carcinogenic, ingredients. Mineral makeup gets back to basics, using naturally occurring, safe minerals, ground to a fine powder, as the makeup base.
Many companies/manufactures claim to be the first to have created Mineral Cosmetics, the plain truth is that this form of cosmetics has been around for centuries and the ‘mainstream’ companies who started to commercially market Mineral Cosmetics were all American based manufactures that knew a ‘great idea and product’ when they saw it (In fact Bare Escentuals opened their first store in California in 1976 adding their Mineral Makeup range shortly after that).

A multitude of large International companies have come out with their own line, namely Jane Iredale, Bare Minerals, Youngblood, Max Factor, Revlon, Avon and many more. The first three have been marketing their products for over 20 years in America and have spent a great deal of time and money marketing their products to the rest of the world for the last 10 years, brining the beauty of Mineral Cosmetics to every corner of the globe.
Each company has formulated its own bases, though all are very similar in basic composition as Mineral Cosmetics are about simple clean and pure ingredients. You will nearly always find a selection of the following ingredients: Titanium dioxide, Bismuth Oxychloride, Talc, Kaolin Clay, Zinc Oxide, Mica, Silica and Sericite, along with a few others. Clearly there are many ingredients in the above listing that you may not want to have included in your base!
The ingredients all bring different elements to the final formulation, for example Titanium dioxide and Zinc Oxide provide sunscreen properties to protect delicate facial skin from the sun’s damaging rays, while Zinc Oxide also acts as an anti-inflammatory. Kaolin Clay is known to absorb fats from the skin, refines pores & helps clear up breakouts, so clearly this ingredient should only be found in formulations for very oily skin. Sericite and Mica feels silky to the touch and reflects light, reducing the appearance of pores and wrinkles. Bismuth Oxychloride is added by some companies for the high sheen and light reflective properties of this ingredient.
While these base mineral ingredients make up the bulk of the product, other minerals, pigments, and dyes are added to differentiate the products, usually a company exclusive blend of Iron oxides and Coloured Micas, though some companies may also use FD&C colours to pigment their formulations.
A further note on coloured Micas, to create a coloured mica the manufacturer starts with uncoloured mica and adds a selection of additives such as Iron oxides, Silica, Carmine, Tin Oxide, FD&C colours etc, then the formulation is heat treated or light affected to change the uncoloured mica to a new shade, in this way the colour combinations are truly endless. One single coloured Mica may in itself contain ten different ingredients to create its final shade!
With more and people becoming aware of the repercussions of using chemicals on their skin, natural mineral cosmetics are the newest ‘big thing’ in the cosmetic market. These cosmetics offer a chemical-free option in the area of make-up and hence are suitable for anyone irrespective of any skin complaints or conditions the person may have.     
It is an extremely popular style of makeup used by celebrities, skin care specialists, doctors, dermatologist’s and the everyday woman.
The traditional Mineral Cosmetics products are still the mainstream for any company that wishes to stay ‘true’ to the genre, for example the Mineral Foundation Powders and the Mineral Blush Powders, all of which are the best sellers for any range.