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Does pressed powder makeup always contain synthetic ingredients?

Mary asks…Is is possible to make pressed makeup without using any synthetics?

The Beauty Brains respond

Rather than re-opened the debate on natural vs synthetic, I’ll try to address your question as it applies specifically to powdered makeup.

Loose powder needs fewer ingredients

One can certainly make the case that certain brands of so-called mineral makeup are among the most “natural” of cosmetic products. For example, Mineral Hygenics only contains a few powders which are all derived from crushed rocks (more or less.) This kind of product is relatively easy to formulate using only mineral (ie “natural”) ingredients because it’s just a simple blend of powders.

Pressed powder is more complex

Pressed powders, on the other hand, are much more complex. In order for the powders to stay compressed they need some kind of binding oil. And for those oils to mix with the powders they may require a surfactant to lower the surface tension. And the pressed powders have to spread easily across your skin so they may require emollients to provide slip. And these surfactants and binders and emollients may require antioxidants to prevent rancidity. And, since pressed powders have a surface that comes in contact with fingers and makeup brushes, they are more likely to require preservatives than loose powders. And…well you get the idea.

The more ingredients that a formula requires, the more difficult it becomes to source ingredients that everyone will agree are “natural.” And although natural alternatives may be available, they may not work as well as the nasty old “synthetic” chemicals. This is particluarly true of preservatives and of many surfactants.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

It’s not impossible to formulate a pressed powder without ”synthetics” but the requirements of the formula make it much more difficult.

Image credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Lycopene_powder.jpg

Do YOU know of a pressed powder that made of only natural ingredients? Leave a comment and share your natural knowledge with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.

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