You can find mineral makeup almost anywhere, from drugstore to department store. But not all mineral makeup is created equal.

Makeup is not a modern novelty. People have been decorating their bodies with clays, paints, and dyes for centuries. Mineral makeup as we know it today, however, is a more recent innovation. In the early 1970s, kindergarten teacher Diane Richardson Ranger was inspired to start making her own body products. She had no experience formulating cosmetics, but her enthusiasm and commitment led her to open her own body-care boutique in Northern California. Ranger saw a need for more natural body-care products and wanted to create makeup products free of what she called the “seven deadly skins”: perfume, talc, alcohol, mineral oil, preservatives, emulsifiers, and dyes. In 1976 she founded Bare Escentuals, the first modern mineral makeup brand. In the four decades since, she has started several more mineral makeup companies, and still others have popped up around the globe.

Not all mineral makeup is created equal, however. Many large-scale cosmetic brands sell “mineral makeup” lines that include irritants, synthetic and petroleum-based ingredients, and inexpensive fillers that create bulk but can also irritate the skin. Many of these products also contain waxes, oils, dyes, and preservatives.

brush and mineral makeup powder

Photo by Mars Vilaubi, excerpted from Make Your Own Pure Mineral Makeup

What distinguishes mineral makeup from most mainstream makeup is what is left out rather than what is added. True mineral makeup has fewer ingredients than traditional commercially produced makeup — and all of those ingredients are derived from naturally occurring materials. Today many of these ingredients are formulated in laboratories to ensure consistent colors and textures and to keep them free of potentially harmful impurities. They are chemically identical to what’s found in nature, though, and makers of pure mineral cosmetics are careful not to add perfumes, dyes, or fillers that can irritate the skin and clog pores. Mineral makeup’s oil-free loose powders sit on top of the skin instead of soaking in, as creams and liquids do. This helps keep pores unclogged and reduces the chance of irritation, which most often occurs when an ingredient is absorbed into the skin.


  1. Safe ingredients can be used on sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, injured skin, perioral dermatitis, and rosacea.
  2. Inert ingredients are bacteria-free and won’t expire.
  3. Effective ingredients help heal, soothe, and protect the skin.
  4. Natural ingredients are free of potentially irritating chemicals, synthetics, fragrances, preservatives, parabens, gluten, oils, and waxes.
  5. Gentle ingredients promote healthy skin and won’t clog pores.
  6. Versatile pigments can be used wet or dry as a temporary hair colorant, lip color, blush, highlighter, eye shadow, eyeliner, and body shimmer.
  7. Coverage is buildable from sheer to opaque.
  8. Fewer ingredients mean less chance of irritation.
  9. Long-lasting mixtures bind to the oils of your skin and are water resistant.
  10. Protects by creating a barrier between the skin, elements, and free radicals and can offer some sun protection.
mineral makeup powder and measuring spoons

Photo by Mars Vilaubi, excerpted from Make Your Own Pure Mineral Makeup


You now know what makes mineral makeup different from most store-bought cosmetics, but you may still wonder why you should make your own. There are many reasons.

It’s customizable. When you mix your own ingredients, you can match your skin color perfectly. This is especially useful for people with very pale or dark skin shades. You can also tailor your handmade mixtures to best suit your skin type — whether it’s normal, oily, dry, combination, or sensitive. Finally, choosing your own ingredients means you can create the precise finish and cover that will help you look your best. Do you want a foundation that shimmers slightly to give your skin a subtle glow? Or one that has a matte finish and can help heal and camouflage your acne at the same time? No problem.

You are in control. Because you are the one preparing the recipes, you decide which ingredients to use. This gives you more control over the cost, color, and finish of each product.

The rewards go deeper than your skin. Your appearance is a part of how you express yourself. And what better way to do so than to handcraft your own look? It’s a great way to show off your creativity, and you don’t have to limit yourself to what’s trendy or to what you can buy in a store. Instead, you can mix and match trends and colors as you like, and you can experiment for lower-cost alternatives to your favorite product. Choosing your own ingredients also lets you craft products that mirror your belief system. You can create vegan makeup, steer clear of oils, and use recyclable containers.

mineral makeup compacts

Photo by Mars Vilaubi, excerpted from Make Your Own Pure Mineral Makeup

The planet — and your children — will reap the benefits. Synthetic chemicals can harm both your face and the planet, but hand-mixing your own mineral makeup ensures that you can use only safe, natural ingredients. When you create your own cosmetics, you also embrace self-sufficiency. This small act can send a big message to the powerful beauty industry.

It’s easier — and cheaper — than you think. To get started, you need only a few ingredients and a handful of common kitchen tools. You do not need special training or a degree to create your own makeup; anyone can do it. Most recipes require just a couple steps, and the techniques are not difficult to learn. If you get hooked, you can buy some ingredients in bulk to significantly reduce your costs.

Making and selling makeup are marketable skills. If you are a makeup artist or an aesthetician, learning how to customize all-natural makeup could be a skill that sets you apart from your competition. Once you feel confident preparing makeup, you could turn your passion into a profitable business plan.

Text and photos excerpted from Make Your Own Pure Mineral Makeup © 2017 by Heather Anderson. All rights reserved.

Heather Anderson

Heather Anderson owns Kaleidoscope Cosmetics and sells her handmade makeup through her own online store. She has appeared on Utah television programs promoting the benefits of… See Bio

Articles of Interest

Make Your Own Pure Mineral Makeup

by Heather Anderson

Buying Options

We don't sell books directly through If you'd like to buy Make Your Own Pure Mineral Makeup, please visit one of the online retailers above or give us a call and we'll take care of you. Support local businesses when you can!

Storey Direct: 1-800-441-5700

Read More at Good Reads