Makeup made from ground-up rocks has been around for thousands of years (Cleopatra used it to style those iconic eyes). Yet it's enjoying new popularity thanks to the proliferation of brands marketing themselves as totally natural options. Indeed, some mineral makeups are healthier for skin because they don't contain common skin irritants such as preservatives, artificial fragrances, synthetic oils, and dyes. But don't be fooled — many mineral products do. “There are no industry standards for makeup,” explains Sean Gray, a senior analyst for the Environmental Working Group, the nonprofit that created the Skin Deep cosmetics safety database (cosmeticsdatabase.org). “It's buyer beware.”
When choosing a mineral makeup, search out optimal ingredients, such as oils derived from plants and flowers, as well as natural coloring agents such as iron oxide, manganese, and chromium oxide. Avoid products with filler ingredients such as talc — a potential carcinogen often used in powdered cosmetics — and remember that even natural additives like mica and bismuth oxychloride can aggravate sensitive skin.