Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ask Kaylin: Can mineral powders be harmful to your health?

(Photo: Idhren)
Mineral makeup has recently been under some controversy due to articles such as this one from Dr. Oz's website.  The article claims that some mineral foundations contain tiny particles which can cause health hazards if inhaled.  A news reporter recently asked my opinion, and I share it with you below.

Q: Do you think the hype about the dangers is real?
A: Yes, I think there is some legitimacy to the arguments regarding inhalation of nanoparticles in makeup.  While powders may look great on your skin, they are not intended to for internal consumption.  However, I do believe that the hazards can be easily avoided, so there is no reason to throw out all of your mineral makeup.

Q: What have you found by testing make-up?
A: As an eco-friendly makeup artist, I must take great care to pick out products that will be safe for both my clients and the planet.  If I ever use a spray or powder that should not be inhaled, I tell my clients to hold their breath until the spray or powder has settled (usually about 5-10 seconds).  I strive to use the purest, simplest cosmetics possible because your skin absorbs whatever is on its surface and cosmetics such as lip products are often consumed.  Cosmetic safety is as easy as knowing what is in your cosmetics and reducing exposure to any potential hazards that may result from their use.

Q: What are your recommendations?
A: Many loose mineral powders are not micronized, meaning they do not contain the nanoparticles that may be a potential danger.  A couple of examples of non-micronized powders include foundations by Alima Pure and Everyday Minerals.  If you do learn that your mineral foundation has nanoparticles, there are a few techniques you can use to reduce the potential to inhale particles:

  • Rub your brush into the product so you can no longer see the powder before applying it to your skin.
  • Hold your breath when applying the makeup, especially when near your nose.
  • Apply the makeup wet with a sponge or foundation brush.

I would advise against switching to a liquid formula as a reaction to the hype, as many liquid foundations contain far more hazardous ingredients than mineral powders.  Instead, try applying your nanoparticle mineral foundation wet or purchase a brand that offers foundations that are not micronized.  If you'd like to try a liquid foundation, look for one with recognizable ingredients, such as those by Gabriel Cosmetics and Zuzu Luxe.

Click here to read a collection of ingredient lists from most mineral foundations.

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