Modern Mineral Makeup

I have never been a fan of powder foundations and most certainly was never a fan of Mineral Powder Foundation. But a new generation of Mineral Powder foundations and makeup, Nasty-free and full of Skin-Loving ingredients has finally changed my mind.


It all started with Studiofix

A Brief history of Powder Foundation

My first introduction to powder foundation was MAC Studio Fix in the 90's. I loved it for about a year in 1996 a young makeup artist.

Then over the years, I was introduced to various incarnations of Pressed Powder Foundation, from Shiseido to Chanel, all of which left me flat:

* These powders left the skin opaque and dry looking, like a theatrical pancake.
* Speaking of cake, powder incorrectly applied tends to cake under eyes and over spots
* They were often the wrong colour: too light looking deathly ash, too dark looking dirty or muddy, too pink making people look grey or too orange.... well you see my point

A Very Early Shot of mine from the late 90's Early 2000s. I think the photographer is Ken Kamininsky

A Very Early Shot of mine from the late 90's Early 2000s. I think the photographer is Ken Kamininsky

Making Powder Work

To respond to the flat look of powder foundations, we started using wet sponges which made the compacts hard and unhygienic.  We swirled a brush in teh pressed powder for a lighter application, but the same brush picked up the oils from the skin, mixed it into the powder and then the powder would harden again, leaving that gross shiny hard bit in the powder.

Then we got sick of the very matte look, so companies started adding a gentle shimmer to the powder so that it would not appear too matte to respond to the ' dewy skin' trend. But they mainly using white shimmer or mica in these powders which made a lot of us grey and shiny.

Along Came Mineral Makeup

To save the day, loose mineral powder foundation appeared on the market, promising a natural makeup (in all senses of the word) Mineral makeup was packaged as a loose powder made from natural minerals and ingredients.  All we needed to do was swirl the brush in a small amount of the powder tipped into the lid, and then apply as much as was desired to the face, without double dipping the brush. We could thus customise coverage and eliminate contamination. Great idea right?

Almost. The process was really messy and fiddly and the colours available were all shades of terra cotta and contained talc and other fillers. Then, less scrupulous companies ( the multi billion conglomerates- you know who I am talking about) all put out Mineral products containing TINY percentages of minerals, which sullied the 'natural makeup' image of real Mineral brands.

So, you can see why until now, I have not really liked powder as coverage for the face.

A New Generation of Mineral Makeup

Without any official launch, I feel that there has been a rebirth of mineral makeup. Advances in technology, refining of the process and a new generation of more conscious independent brands a coming up and creating clean formulations with no talc or other unsavoury ingredients.

I have been trying and testing several smaller brands for months and find that it is a combination of the product itself and the makeup brush that leads to the improved performance of mineral bases.  The powders are finer, coverage less cakey and though the process is still a little fiddly, the fuss is worthwhile.

For you Pro Makeup Artists, I love Mineral makeup for Men's grooming and to create many of the flawless looks without heaviness.

And if the hassle of loose mineral makeup is not for you, improved compact mineral bases are now available. Here is a list of brands I have been able to try:

Honeypie Minerals

This little British Brand has a capsule collection of eyeshadow colours to go with their skin tones. I love the no nasties approach that Honeypie Minerals has adopted, and the branding and packaging are so cute. You can read more of my thoughts on Honeypie here

What I love: I love the Warm Tan base for me at the moment, applied with the ADORN or Hynt Beauty brushes ( see below)

Adorn Cosmetics

Adorn Cosmetics hails from Australia, this vegan brand has a wide array of products. They also have a great concept: sample boxes containing everything you need to test a full face of their products.

What I love: ADORN has a great colour selection and their medium/light olive tones are for me (without a tan) offering a good balance of warm and cool tones so that I don't look green or orange. I also really love their Kabuki Brushes, but I find the blushes to sheer to be worth while. I like the eye shadows.

INIKA Organic

I rave on and on about INIKA. They are an all round solid brand, at a medium price point. Their baked mineral foundation is lovely, with a very slight natural reflective finish. Inika make lovely loose Foundations.

What I love: Baked Makeup offers the convenience of pressed makeup with the benefits of mineral makeup, without binders.  I use it swirled with a really loose fluffy brush for a really light base or use a firmer brush for more coverage. Try Louise Young brush LY 049 or MOTD Conceal your Secret

Hynt Beauty

I have not tried the Hynt Beauty foundations but I really love the finishing powder and the brush it comes with. I use the Hynt finishing powder on its own or over a powder or liquid foundation.

What I Love: The Kabuki Bristles of the Hynt Beauty brush are longer than most and finish in a blunt flat top which I really like.



Lily Lolo

Lily Lolo Is another brand I really love, British made clean and mineral makeup.  I have mainly used their eyeshadows which you can read about here and here Lily Lolo's range of Foundation consists of very clean loose powders. The colour range does not go to very deep tones but the variation in pale and medium tones is fantastic. for fair skins.

What I love: Simple products, simple ingredients, good price, great performance

English Mineral Company

This lovely little brand came to my attention thanks to Lovely Lyn at The Lavender Barn. I have not had the opportunity to try them but you can see her review here, and like me, Lyn is not a fan of mineral makeup so I trust her. I also really appreciate their wide range of skin tones and the mother/Daughter team behind the brand.



Zao Organic

Zao is a lovely Organic and Vegan Brand.  The Loose Mineral Powders are housed in sustainable bamboo packaging and contain hydrating and moisturising ingredients for a smooth finish.

What I love: Zao have an extensive range of Darker mineral bases with different undertones.

Cover Image by Mark Barnfield of Georgia Martin