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Detox Your Makeup Bag - Nine of the Best Mineral Foundations

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Korres Mineral Foundation Wild Rose Talc-Free Brightening Foundation, SPF 30 ($28.00 for 8.5g)

1 Korres Mineral Foundation Wild Rose Talc-Free Brightening Foundation, SPF 30 ($28.00 for 8.5g)

Afterglo Cosmetics Organic Mineral Foundation ($32 for 10g)

2 Afterglo Cosmetics Organic Mineral Foundation ($32 for 10g)

Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation ($22 for 7.5 g)

3 Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation ($22 for 7.5 g)

Elegant Minerals Mineral Foundation ($9.50 for 10g)

4 Elegant Minerals Mineral Foundation ($9.50 for 10g)

Terra Firma Hydrasilk Mineral Foundation with Silk ($24.99 for 50 g)

5 Terra Firma Hydrasilk Mineral Foundation with Silk ($24.99 for 50 g)

Faerie Organic Mineral Foundation ($18.00 for 30 g)

6 Faerie Organic Mineral Foundation ($18.00 for 30 g)

Rejuva Minerals Mineral Foundation ($29.95 for 10 g)

7 Rejuva Minerals Mineral Foundation ($29.95 for 10 g)

Youngblood Natural Mineral Foundation ($42.00 for 10 g)

8 Youngblood Natural Mineral Foundation ($42.00 for 10 g)

Zosimos Botanicals Mineral Foundation ($30 for 10 g)

9 Zosimos Botanicals Mineral Foundation ($30 for 10 g)

We've talked about our favorite liquid foundations and some pressed powder foundations we love, but now it's on to the biggest trend in makeup over the past decade: mineral makeup.

Terri has long been singing the praises of the light, natural look you can get with these ubiquitous powders, but other friends of mine have complained that they are dry and not so great at concealing wrinkles. Looks aside, my main question as we started this test was, are mineral foundation really as pure and safe as their marketing suggests? Not necessarily, it turns out. The term "mineral" can be used on any product that has minerals - typically mica, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide - as its main ingredients, regardless of what not-so-natural additives it has, like fragrance, dye, and preservatives. You have to do your homework to know which companies really sell a clean product.

In addition to non-mineral additives, many popular drugstore brands (Bare Escentuals, Revlon, Avon, Maybelline, Neutrogena, Cover Girl, Almay) contain bismuth oxycholoride, which is a mineral but also a non-natural byproduct of lead and copper processing that has been known to cause rashes, irritation, and acne for some users. There are also formulas made with mineral nanoparticles, whose tiny size allows the body to absorb them readily by inhalation or broken skin and whose effects are not yet known. It's a jungle out there.

Terri and I waded through the mass of mineral makeups to arrive at these nine picks we can wholeheartedly recommend in terms of both performance and purity (as quantified by the Environmental Working Group's amazing Skin Deep Cosmetics Database). To have a perspective on prices, note that 10 g of makeup can last 2-3 months if you wear it daily. Now get your kabuki brushes ready and check out our reviews.

  • Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation - This natural powder goes on super light and blends easily, imparting even skin tone and covering minor imperfections with an extra flick of the brush. Alima offers a very wide selection of colors, so with a few of their $1.50 sample packs, you're sure to find a match. Also, the packaging is downright adorable. ($22 for 7.5 g, EWG score 1 out of 10 - low hazard)
  • Korres Mineral Foundation Wild Rose Talc-Free Brightening Foundation SPF 30 -This powder gives you a subtle "candlelight glow" rather than a matte finish, which Korres attributes to the rose quartz in the formula. It feels light but stays put all day, and the sun protection is a nice bonus. ($28 for 8.5 g, No EWG score)
  • Elegant Minerals Mineral Foundation SPF 15 - We found this no-frills brand very impressive, giving a photo finish that lasts all day long. Seeing as lots of inexpensive minerals blow away by end of day, that's no small feat for makeup that costs just a fraction of many other brands. ($9.50 for 10 g, EWG score 1 out of 10 - low hazard)
  • Youngblood Natural Mineral Foundation - If other mineral formulas are too sheer for your needs, this one will not disappoint. It has more pigment for greater coverage, yet still blends easily for a natural, not at all mask-like look. ($42 for 10 g, No EWG score)
  • Faerie Organic Mineral Foundation - Very sheer, this powder still gives a long lasting matte finish. It's another great value in natural makeup. ($18 for 30 g, EWG score 3 out of 10 - low hazard)
  • Rejuva Minerals Mineral Foundation - This 100% natural and non-toxic powder comes in a simple, lightweight paper case that would be ideal for travel. It gives you a warm, natural tone and blends very well. ($29.95 for 10 g, EWG score 0 out of 10 - no hazard)
  • Afterglo Cosmetics Organic Mineral Foundation - In addition to being all natural, this formula is infused with organic botanicals. We loved the way the powder performed and also got a kick out of Afterglo's mini-kabuki brush in a keychain case that allows a gal to take her show on the road. ($32 for 10 g, EWG score 2 out of 10 - low hazard)
  • Terra Firma Hydrasilk Mineral Foundation with Silk - Terra Firma pitches this makeup as offering buildable coverage and it delivers, letting you stop at a light veil or brush on seamless layers of even, matte color. Another makeup at a great price for the quality. ($24.99 for 50 g, EWG score 2 out of 10 - low hazard)
  • Zosimos Botanicals Mineral Foundation - Loads of color options mean most ladies can find a match here by experimenting with samples, and the price is right for light, long lasting, sheer coverage. ($30 for 30 g, EWG score 2 out of 10 - low hazard)

Are you using mineral makeup? What are your favorite brands?

Comments (59)

  • I love these reviews that you do. Its overwhelming to think about trying all of these products myself (and expensive), so its nice that you share your experience. Thanks!

  • We're glad you find them useful! If there's a personal care or household product you're curious about that we haven't already tried, let us know and we can check it out in the future.

  • I've beeing using Elegant Minerals for years now. Best Foundation - flawless. Their blushes are outstanding, too.

  • I am so glad you posted Terra Firma! I have used Terra Firma for a couple of years now and I will NEVER use anything else! I suffer from rosacia and other make ups have always irritated my skin and made my condition worse, but Terra Firma has been my savior! :)

  • We ranked number #3 I so excited, so proud of my manufactor of my products, come see were located in Arlinton Tx. we searve the entire DFW area, for all your cosmetic needs & a great skincare line too!

  • Yay!!!! So glad Faerie Organics made your list! I have been using them for about a year. I did a search for mineral makeup and after some homework and cheap samples mailed to me, I am a fan for life! They have excellent mineral blush and mascara too! I am just in love - their foundation is amazing. The quality is fab and matches my skin tone the best of any I have tried (no small feat - am pale but needed something non-ghost-like but that didn't stand out as obviously a darker shade). Love, love, love!!!

  • I've been using faerie organic for the last few years and it's the best make-up ever!! Great coverage and the colors are fabulous!!

  • I absolutely love Faerie Organic makeup...it feels so outstanding on my skin, and it actually matches without covering up my natural tone. Love it!

  • I have been using youngblood Mineral makeup for 5 yrs....its very good it covers so good.But I find myself searching for something different looking for really good coverage and a suede looking finish ,or a very photo looking finish ...I am 46 so drawing less attention to fine lines and wrinkles is also a big big concern....where would I go to obtain some samples of all these fabulous products you mentioned?????thanks so much.

  • VERY affordable samples available at Terra Firma Cosmetics online. :-) Thank you for the Kudo's. I'm a rosacea sufferer myself and Terra Firma has been my saving grace from bad skin days.

  • Cheeky Cosmetics are mineral, vegan and fantastic! They have cheap samples to try too. We've ordered from them 3 times and are very satisfied. Love their mineral foundation. Their lip gloss is not sticky and colors are nice.

  • Yes, Alima rocks... also love LaurEss mineral make-up!

  • I have been using Miessence certified organic skin care and their range of organic cosmetics.
    First time in my life my range of personal and beauty care is like a homeopathic kit to me and my family.

  • Alima is wonderful! I've used it for over 2 years and I love the that it's not heavy or shiny on my skin. The $1.50 samples are wonderful and last quite a while!

  • I use Faerie Organic Mineral Foundation and other products they have. My skin feels great and I love the way it makes my face look and feel. This is a great all around product.

  • Do any of the brands offer a stick or even a liquid type mineral concealer? I really don't like the powder version as I find it looks a bit cakey! My skin has break outs so easily, so decided to leave Bare Escentuals behind as it contains bismuth oxychloride, have ordered samples of the foundation & blush from alima, but really want a good stick concealer, any comments gratefully received please?? xXx

  • Great product review! I really like all of these products!

  • Be careful when making the assumption that if a company makes a powder mineral foundation that could be considered safer to use, that their liquid version won't have questionable ingredients. For example... you list Youngblood Powder Mineral Foundation as a good pick, however, their liquid version contains silicones, PEG, EDTA and other ingredients I wouldn't consider to be 'good'.

    As well, while the EWG Skin Deep Database is a wonderful tool, many people tend to misuse and/or abuse it, either because they haven't taken the time to learn how to use it or because they choose to misuse it deliberately. It's become quite a fad for not-so-honest product makers/distributors, to boast of low ratings there as if that automatically means their product is safer. In fact, ingredients with NO data are awarded a '0' just as ingredients with data to support their safety are. The unscrupulous use that to their advantage to promote products that may well be not so good, as 'safe'... and those who don't take the time to understand the rating system there may unwittingly buy products they think are safe because of low ratings when in fact the low rating is because the ingredients are lacking data.

  • Rhonda, most of these companies send samples via their websites (linked on the product name) and the others would let you sample at their retail locations.

    Nicola, we did do a test of liquid foundations as well, so you might see something you'd like there.

    Sandra, you're right! We do the best we can to choose only products that have valid EWG results or at least list all of their ingredients on their websites so that we can investigate them. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get clear information, but it is getting easier as more consumers are demanding to know what's in their products.

  • Thank you for your series on "Detox Your Make Up Bag". I am always looking for the safest products for myself and my 15 year old daughter and it's a huge challenge -- so glad you've done all the research! We are both gluten-free and would love to find out if you have done research on the best gluten-free make-up brands. It is a struggle to find nice cosmetics that are both non-toxic and gluten-free as many natural brands use wheat germ oil or other gluten-containing ingredients. Thanks for your feedback! Elizabeth and Isabelle

  • Thank you for doing this blog topic! I have had major sensitive skin and have been unable to wear foundation/ eyeshadows etc for a very long time due bad reactions to something in mainstream (some health brand) products. This article was very helpful, I went through the sites and ended up trying the sampler kits from faerie organic and they worked great for my very sensitive skin with no bad reaction whatsoever! Thanks again for listing these natural companies and putting the issue of the importance of natural products out there. ~ Lacey

  • I think the best natural mineral foundation is LA Minerals http://www.laminerals.com/ hands down.

    "My goal during product development was to include makeup ingredients that met all my criteria: natural source, non-irritating, non comedogenic, soothing, long lasting,and beneficial to the skin. And if not beneficial, at least non-harming. For example Iron Oxide, which is a natural pigment, doesn't benefit your skin, but doesn't harm it either. Yet it produces the desired results, pigmentation of the product. Many hours, weeks and months were spent on research and experimentation. Women are loving the results. I am too!" -Lorraine A Pierce.

    The makeup is amazing.

  • I highly recommend the Terra Firma Hydrasilk Foundation. I have extremely dry and sensitive skin so I avoid powder foundations. But this stuff is great. Doesn't cake up or look nasty on dry areas. I wouldnt say it helps my dry skin but it certainly doesn't exacerbate it. So as long as you somewhat take care of your skin, you will be fine. At first the coverage seems very sheer to non-existent BUT it is very buildable. You can easily build this to a high medium. The biggest suprise I had was how long lasting it is. I easily get 7+ hours of wear.

  • I really like BareMinerals as a mineral foundation, gives me the best finish and isn't acne prone.

  • I use Rejuva minerals. Its so light on the skin and covers well. I am an acne sufferer. So anything containing Mica or bismuth broke me out. Rejuva has a great score on the EWG, and It only contains 4 ingredients. plus some products botanicals like cocoa and rosemary.

  • Thank you for the review! I used to use Bare Minerals, but found that it breaks me out! When I referred to EWG, I was horrified to see that there products are not healthy. I'm so excited that several of these companies offer samples & VERY REASONABLE shipping rates. Can't wait to try my samples from several companies when they come in! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  • I am so glad that women are realizing what toxins are in their makeup. I use mineral powder from the company Willow Tree Minerals. They have a wide selection of products that are all natural, and their prices are great!

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  • I only use organic makeup and Skin care and I buy all my stuff from I'm Fabulous Cosmetics online.

  • Thank you so much for this list! I have rosacea and am very sensitive to Bismuth. I have never been able to wear Bare Minerals, because it felt like acid on my skin. I knew right there, that the ingredients weren't healthy for my skin. My teenage daughter has very sensitive skin, so I am looking for new make-up for her. I have been using Afterglow Cosmetics and while I like it okay, it's very expensive and their website is hard to navigate on. I'm going to get some samples from the other places you have listed. Thanks again!

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  • I use a mineral liquid foundation from Southern Magnolia Minerals. It is a great liquid foundation and is reasonably priced. Barb, the owner believes in safe, fun and affordable mineral make-up. I found her line through the EWG website.

  • I'm currently testing Elegant minerals concealer foundation and really like the creamy feel. I also love Eve Organics as it has a similar texture and has great coverage. I usually wait about 2 weeks to see if my sensitive skin reacts so I will post a follow up. Youngblood loose minerals does contain bismuth so I stopped using it. Thanks for this list. I tried Alima and it felt too powdery/chalky to me.

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  • I just ordered Joppa Minerals. Has anyone ever heard of them? I found them on the Internet because I was searching for something that is actually 100% natural but has full coverage. That company came up in a couple of articles so I went ahead and ordered. I would be interested to know if anyone reading this has ever heard of them or knows anything more about them...

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