As an oily, sensitive skin type, I have always had a love-hate relationship with foundation. I would want to wear foundation to make my skin look more attractive, but then the makeup would only make my skin break out more. While oil-free and sensitive skin formulas have made my plight easier (as well as growing out of my teenage skin), it’s always a challenge to find makeup that is good looking and good for my skin.

Which is why I’ve always been intrigued by mineral makeup. Touted as natural, healthy, so good for your skin you can sleep in it, I came into the experience a little bit skeptical.
Well, while mineral makeup may not replace my regular favorites every day, I’d certainly call myself a convert.

The Science

To create the makeup, mineral pigments are micro-pulverized from rock and jet milled to the consistency of makeup. The natural, organic, dye-free formulas are supposed to be better for sensitive skins, as there are fewer irritants. There are fewer ingredients in general, and since I always feel better when I can pronounce all the ingredients in a product, I see that as a plus.

La Bella Donna

For a full line of foundations, blushes, eye shadows, lipsticks – the works – I looked to La Bella Donna. Developed in 1994 by the mother-daughter duo of Kathy and Nicole Tracy, the line was originally developed as a post-op laser coverage.

The first thing I noticed about the color products was that they really did feel better than their traditional counterparts. They go on smoother, and just feel better and less foreign on your skin. So far, so good.

The color products certainly don’t sacrifice quality of color. I loved the Tranquil Pink Mineral Light Lip Colour ($22.50) and the Bianca Mineral Liquid Lip ($22). They go on like “regular” lip products, but feel somewhat smoother.

For eyes, I used the Compressed Mineral Eyeshadow ($19) in blue willow as a shadow, and using a wet brush used the mineral blue as liner. The worked well together and gave a nice, soft look. Not your 80’s blue eye shadows, these were subtle and pretty. The colors go on in a nice sheer, and are easily buildable for more intense pigment.

Foundations and powder products are going to give first-timers a bit more trouble. They really do appear a bit grainy and sandy, as you would expect minerals to look, in the compact or on the brush. This consistency really does change on your skin for a much smoother, natural feel, so don’t be scared.

The Vision of Mineral Lights Compact Colour Naturale with accompanying brush did give me some trouble. Perhaps because of my skin type, color seems to center where the brush lands and is somewhat difficult to blend. For someone who enjoys light-reflecting properties, this would probably have a nice result. On me, however, it didn’t look quite right. It’s entirely possible that it just wasn’t my shade, so I certainly wouldn’t hold it against the bella products of La Bella Donna.

Susan Posnick Cosmetics

For healthy looking skin, I really have become a big fan of Susan Posnick Cosmetics. At first, I was quite awkward with the product. Because most mineral foundations come in loose powder because no synthetic emulsifiers or preservatives are added, they are a little unruly.

Posnick solves this with the barrel-brush combo of her Colorflo Sunblock Foundation Powder ($64). You click a button at the bottom of the barrel and the powder is dispensed onto the brush. It took several clicks and some brush inspection for me to tell if it was really dispensing. Then, as I was applying it I really wasn’t sure if anything was coming out or if it was “working.” Frustrated I played with the brush some more, fooling around with the dispenser.

Then, when I looked up into the mirror, I realized it had definitely been working. My skin looked natural, clear, even-toned and pretty. These are not adjectives I would normally apply to my skin.

I had a similar experience with the Colorme Cheeks and Eyes blush ($32). I wasn’t sure if it was coming out, then I thought I had applied to much and it was too bright a shade for me. Minutes later – it looked like a natural flush. I’m not sure if the products need time to react with your skin or to blend or settle, but in an instant you go from “is this working?” to “this works great!”

Finally, the piece de resistance, the Colorcorrect Brighten Correct pencil ($20). While I generally use the Colorflo on days when I don’t feel like messing with my usual routine, this truly has become a part of my every-day regimen. One end can be used as a brightener and the other a concealer, and the box tells you what works best where. I really love this product for its coverage and easy blendability.

All in all, mineral makeup can be a bit tricky, but be prepared for a nice surprise. But, advancements are made everyday and the products truly stand up to the traditional competition. If you are sensitive to other makeup formulas or you crave a creamy, natural consistency, this is for you.