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Mineral Makeup: Liquid Vs Powder

Which Formula Is Best For You?


Mineral Makeup: Liquid Vs Powder

Powder and liquid mineral foundations.

Photo: © Gerrie Summers

When mineral makeup was introduced into the beauty market, it came across as some miracle makeup product that made your skin look smoother and more luminous—flawless.


Made from finely ground, all natural minerals, it contains sun protection properties, as well as other benefits. Among the ingredients found in mineral makeup are micronized titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, mica, and hydrated silica. Mica and silica help give the skin a smoother appearance. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide provide sun protection.

Mineral makeup is considered safer than other makeup because it is free of preservatives, parabens, mineral oil, chemical dyes and fragrance, all of which can be potentially toxic, irritate skin or clog pores. Zinc oxide also has anti-inflammatory properties that help calm and sooth irritated and acne-prone skin. Mineral makeup has also been found to also be calming for women with rosacea and eczema and is less likely to cause reactions in sensitive skin and those with allergies. It doesn't contain oil and also absorbs excess oils, additional reasons why it is considered to be great for acne-prone skin.

Will Mineral Makeup Clear Acne?


Not all mineral makeup lines are created equal. You have to be careful when choosing products that manufacturers claimed to be mineral makeup. Some formulas contain talc or bismuth oxychloride. The latter ingredient gives makeup a pearlescent look, but it can cause irritation and acne breakouts in some individuals. It also doesn't look great on darker skin tones. Some of the ingredients in some mineral makeup can make dark skin look gray or ashy. Newer formulations and better quality mineral makeup lines address this problem. But titanium dioxide isn’t always the cause for the gray tone—sometimes it’s just a matter of picking out the wrong shade for your complexion and undertones.

Is It Safe?

Some safety issues came up about mineral makeup and the possibility and dangers of inhaling nanoparticles. "If the particles were actually the size of nanoparticles they’d be useless in makeup," cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski told WebMD.com, "because they’d become transparent and wouldn’t offer any coverage."

Powder Mineral Foundation


  • Better for normal, oily, combination, sensitive and acne-prone skin.
  • If you have small pores or more youthful skin without fine lines and wrinkles, mineral powder is a good option. You might also prefer powder if you have oily skin since mineral makeup absorbs oils, giving a matte finish with less shine. Mineral powder has a lighter feel and allows the skin to breathe.


  • Not as good for dry or mature skin, those with noticeable wrinkles or fine lines.
  • While mineral makeup has been touted for creating a natural, smoother and luminous finish and that it is less likely to settle into fine lines and wrinkles as talc-based powders, some of them are drying and actually can collect in fine lines and emphasize pores. If you have dry, flaky skin mineral makeup can accentuate this as well.

    Finding a good mineral powder for mature skin can be a challenge. Those with fine lines or mature skin should use a primer before applying mineral powder.

    Liquid Mineral Foundation


  • Better for normal to dry skin.
  • Since fluid mineral foundation is not in powder form, there is less mess, and if you have a concern about inhaling product this might be a better choice. You can blend liquid foundation and it provides more coverage. In addition to mineral pigments, liquid mineral foundations can contain emollients, humectants, antioxidants, without also containing toxic ingredients. Liquid mineral foundation is also better if you like a dewy look, though there are some that provide a matte finish. Some formulas help fill in lines and wrinkles, making skin appear smoother. Another plus, you can find more shades for darker skin tones.


    Liquid mineral foundations need preservatives, so it’s not as natural. Foundations with more natural ingredients are probably not long lasting and therefore will probably not be the best formula for those with oily skin.

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