There were a few years in the mid 2000s where everyone and their mother was gushing over mineral makeup. Introduced a decade earlier by the name that became synonymous with mineral makeup, Bare Escentuals, it began to look like mineral makeup was the way of the future. Everyone started coming out with mineral makeup lines. Though the buzz has long since died down, the trend is actually still holding, despite the fact that Bare Escentuals has been underperforming financially.
Ironically, it's the popularity of mineral makeup that is hurting Bare Escentuals. More competition, often at a lower price point, has caused the brand to start having to market a product that once sold itself. Other plans include expansion — both geographically and in terms of product. In addition to its standard loose mineral foundation, the brand is pushing solid foundations, blush, bronzer, eye shadow, and even a skincare range. Biggest of all is this month's debut of Marvelous Moxie, a line of 42 shades of lipsticks ($18), liners ($15) and glosses ($18).
But, as mentioned, BE is no longer the only game in town. Everyone from Bobbi Brown on the prestige end, to L'Oreal at mass, and e.l.f. at the deep discount level is making minerals a major part of their offerings. Demand is high as many are smitten with the products, including dermatologists.
"I’m very bullish on mineral makeup," Neal Schultz, MD told WebMD. "It’s much less likely to cause a reaction in women with sensitive skin. And because it doesn’t contain oil, it won’t aggravate acne-prone skin."
There is debate over whether mineral foundation is good for aging skin, as many complain that it settles into fine lines and makes dry skin look ashy. But Brooke Jackson, MD, says she recommends it for rosacea, eczema and sensitive skin, even as women get older. "Women in their 30s and 40s will come in and say they have bathroom counters filled with products that have caused reactions because of one ingredient or another," Jackson told WebMD. "When they try mineral products, many are finally able to wear makeup for the first time in their lives."
But, not everyone is sold. "Let's cut through the hype: Mineral makeup is truly nothing more than loose or pressed powder. It isn't revolutionary, safer, or unique in any meaningful way. By any name, technically speaking, mineral makeup is simply a type of powder foundation," said Paula Begoun, The Cosmetics Cop. "If you apply a light layer, it serves as a finishing powder. Apply a little more and it works more like foundation providing light to full coverage. Mineral makeup is not a must-have product, but rather a marketing contrivance."
But most experts and regular old makeup fans alike will tell you to wear whatever makeup you're most comfortable with, and not to follow the hype or the critics if the product works for you.