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What Is in Mineral Makeup and How It's Made

Making Mineral Makeup

Ever wonder what's actually in your makeup and how it's made? Then you've come to the right place, especially if you're curious about what, exactly, is in that wondrously effective mineral makeup of yours, and how it's put together. It's actually extremely simple, and easy enough that you could make it on your own if you felt like it. So to find out what goes into making mineral makeup, just read more.

There are only a few, very basic ingredients in mineral foundation:

Micronized titanium dioxide powder — gives substance, whiteness, and broad spectrum UV protection

Sericite mica powder — makes your skin matte but also diffuses light, and gives the product a more even consistency

Low micron zinc oxide powder — broad spectrum sunscreen, calms skin, and gives your makeup its opacity and coverage

Jojoba, avocado, or argan oil — makes the foundation more moisturizing, adherent, and helps bind the other ingredients together.

Then there are the three pigment powders you use to give your makeup its color: yellow iron oxide, brown iron oxide, and red iron oxide

Some recipes also suggest you add bismuth oxychloride to give the makeup a smooth finish and good line-filling properties (I didn't include it because it's also a common skin irritant), but the above is all it actually takes to make a functioning mineral foundation. Commonly, all the powdered elements (everything but the oil) are blended together, in a ratio similar to two parts titanium dioxide for every one part zinc or mica, with iron oxides blended slowly in and tested until the desired skin tone shade is reached. Then, a few drops of oil are added to bind and finish. It's a pretty simple process, and the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to come by, so what you're really paying for is the well-matched color.

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