Mineral make-up: what is it, what skin type is it best for and the products to use

When your skin is in need of a full-coverage break, mineral make-up is a great way to be a little kinder to your pores. 

We’re all partial to a go-to liquid foundation that blends out seamlessly and photographs exactly how you want it to, but using heavier make-up on a daily basis can take a toll on your skin. The main effect? Clogging your pores. 

This is where mineral make-up comes in, and your skin can breathe a sigh of relief. Mineral make-up is often associated with not being able to achieve a finish that’s as smooth as traditional, non-mineral based formulas – but there are a few options that refute this.

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What is mineral make-up? 

It’s make-up that is infused or made from minerals, which will almost always include iron oxides, zinc oxides and titanium oxides. Usually taking the form of a powder, mineral make-up has a much more lightweight feel than traditional make-up. For those who still want a little more coverage, there are formulations which are liquid-based, but still have minerals and botanics infused into them, like Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Foundation, £31.

How is mineral make-up made?

While traditional foundations, concealers, lipsticks, eyeshadows and the like are created solely in labs, mineral-based make-up is often baked. The longer the powder is baked for, the darker the shade.

Which skin types does mineral make-up work best for?

As mineral make-up is super lightweight, it works for all skin types, but is particularly good for blemish-prone, oily skin, as well as those with red, sensitive skin types. It allows the skin to breathe while still getting that coverage you want.

The best mineral make-up:

  • The best mineral primer: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, £17

    Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer

    This oil-free liquid primer conceals redness and minimises pores, whilst also acting as a base for your make-up. The texture is quite heavy, but it takes 10 seconds to absorb and it doesn’t feel heavy on the skin after. It’s ideal for sensitive and blemish-prone skin.

  • The best mineral foundation: Bare Minerals Original Foundation SPF 15, £28

    Bare Minerals Powder Foundation

    It’s a cult classic for a reason. The loose powder mineral foundation is made out of just five ingredients. It’s super lightweight, you can build up coverage from sheer to full and it leaves a luminous glowy finish. The most satisfying part? When you buff the powder in the lid beforehand it turns into an almost creamy texture. It’s the powder that doesn’t look like you’re wearing powder.

  • The best mineral concealer: MAC Mineralize Concealer, £19.50

    MAC Mineralize Concealer

    Infused with extracts of soothing chamomile and beetroot, MAC’s lightweight concealer provides sheer-to-medium coverage for the days where you don’t want to drown your face in foundation. It’s really long-lasting and easy to blend out.

  • The best mineral blush: Bare Minerals Bounce and Blur Blush, £23

    Bare Minerals Bounce and Blur Blush

    Packed full of pore-minimising vitamin B and enriched with botanics, this cream powder blush is best when used with fingers. 

  • The best mineral bronzer: DiorSkin Mineral Nude Bronzer, £28

    Dior Mineral Bronzer

    For a naturally bronzed look, this Dior powder contains either rosy or golden mineral pigments (depending on which of the two shades you choose) and leaves a pretty, glowy finish. It is best applied with a bronzing brush.

  • The best mineral highlighter: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish, £26.50

    This highlighter contains 77 minerals, as well as nourishing vitamin E to leave a subtle, yet non-cakey highlighted look. It’s a really smooth texture, feels extremely lightweight and leaves a glowy finish. 

  • The best mineral eyeshadow: Pixi’s Heart Defensor Eye <3 Palette, £18

    Pixi Mineral Eyeshadow

    The eight-shade palette is a combination of shimmer and matte mineral powder eyeshadows from a bright pink to a nude peach, a bit of an all-rounder really. For the more neutral eyeshadow obsessives, this is the perfect addition to your make-up kit.

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