Bismuth in Mineral Foundation

Have you made the switch to mineral makeup? If you did, you might have been aware of its benefits, first of which is its being a less toxic option for the skin. For people who want a cleaner and more natural makeup to put on their skin, you can count on the mineral foundation to do wonders for your skin. It’s non-comedogenic and friendly to all skin types. Mineral makeups generally have safer ingredients, but those with sensitive skin may find that it can still be irritating. Though other ingredients may be blamed, bismuth oxychloride is worth looking into.

If you have used mineral makeup and had a bad reaction, you have to check its ingredients. If there’s bismuth oxychloride, or bismuth chloride oxide, then it’s most probably the culprit of your skin irritation.

What is Bismuth Oxychloride?

Bismuth oxychloride is an inorganic chemical compound naturally found in the rare mineral bismoclite. Bismuth is a brittle yet heavy metal, while bismuth oxychloride is a pigment that comes in either a pearl or a diamond finish. Because of this reason, bismuth oxychloride is used to give mineral makeup either a matte or a shimmery finish. It’s added to bronzers, eye shadows and blush because it can create a shimmery look.

However, the majority of bismuth oxychloride used in manufacturing today is made of bismuth (a by-product of processing mined minerals like gold, tin, copper, and lead) combined with chloride. Though bismuth occurs naturally, it’s rare. So, to create high amounts of bismuth needed for manufacturing, a by-product of refining is used. Once it separated from the elements, bismuth has to go through a long process of refining to make it safer for use in cosmetics.

It’s commonly used as a filler that creates a pearl-like silvery sheen in makeup. Some use it to give the skin a magnificent glow. In addition to the sheen, bismuth gives a smooth feeling to the makeup to help it go smoother and stay on longer.

How is it Processed?

To create man-made bismuth, it must be extracted from lead, tin, and copper. This process results in a number of impurities, especially when lead, tellurium, and other elements that aren’t safe to use in cosmetics are applied. So, makeup manufacturers are using an electrolytic solution, then filter, dry, and refine the product until the desired level of purity is reached. The process doesn’t stop there. Impurities are further removed by adding ingredients and finally resulting in a concoction that is later chlorinated, treated with water, and dried to form a white substance. It can also be treated with a diluted nitric acid solution.

How Safe is It?

Google “bismuth oxychloride,” and you will see a lot of resources about this ingredient. Is it problematic in mineral makeup? It’s really not, but it can cause irritation for some users. Most complaints about mineral makeup can be attributed to one ingredient – bismuth. Fun fact: it’s the main ingredient in Pepto-Bismol!

The FDA has deemed it as safe to use in cosmetics. It’s used in many formulations, but it’s just in much higher concentrations in mineral products. Unless you have sensitive skin, it must be fine to use. Most users have absolutely no problems with it, and they love their mineral makeup just the way they are. But for some people with sensitive skin who have reported reactions to it, they experienced itching, especially if it’s warm and/or their face sweats.

Some individuals make some pretty outlandish claims about the dangers of bismuth, but it’s not always true. Most of the time, these exaggerated claims are coming from sellers of bismuth-free cosmetics. Let us remind you that bismuth is safe if you have normal skin with normal sensitivity. But to those with sensitive skin, they should be particularly wary of mineral makeup with bismuth oxychloride. Since mineral makeup is applied by buffing the powder to the skin, the constant buffing can cause inflammation and irritation to the skin, which may lead to rosacea, flare-ups, and acne.

Concerns about Bismuth in Mineral Makeup

The main concern about bismuth is that it can be irritating. Also, the heaviness of the ingredient can clog its pores, which is not good for those with acne-prone skin. It can also encourage the formation of blackheads, whiteheads, and postules. Another problem with it is that it can cause itching. If you used mineral makeup and you found yourself unusually scratching your face throughout the day, it may be because of the shape of the chemical, or because it can be irritating for some people.

Also, you have to be careful about where your product came from. If it’s made in the US, the manufacturer had to meet a certain standard for bismuth chloride. But in other countries, the regulations may not be as strict, increasing the risk of contamination with potentially toxic ingredients.

Bismuth-free Mineral Foundations

Where to Buy
Sheer Miracle SPF 30 Minimalist Mineral Foundation
Bella Terra Mineral Powder Foundation
Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Mineral Powder Foundation 
Living Nature Luminous Pressed Powder 
Everyday Minerals Matte Base 

If you opt to avoid bismuth oxychloride, here are some of the best foundations to pick:

1. Sheer Miracle SPF 30 Minimalist Mineral Foundation

This mineral foundation from Sheer Miracle gives a matte finish without clogging your pores, which is perfect for oily, sensitive, and problematic skin. Fans of mineral makeup will love this brand’s airbrushed finish that won’t leave a characteristic mineral makeup “shine” because of the lack of bismuth. It also stays true to its “minimalist” name – it comes with only four ingredients: mica, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, and ultramarine blue. Plus, it has an SPF 30 rating, making it great to use for protecting the skin.

2. Bella Terra Mineral Powder Foundation

Bring out the best of your natural beauty with this light mineral powder foundation from Bella Terra. This makeup works wonders for acne-prone skin, as it gives a flawless-looking finish. It feels light as the natural pigments easily blend into the skin while providing natural sunscreen. It corrects, protects, and treats the skin proving that it’s an all-in-one multitasker. Plus, it doesn’t contain any talc, oil, alcohol, additives, and toxic chemicals.

3. Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Mineral Powder Foundation 

This mineral powder foundation from Elizabeth Arden is super soft, and it evens out skin tone and complexion beautifully. This microlight mineral foundation with SPF20 sunscreen that’s ultra-bendable, giving you a smooth, natural finish. It brightens the skin, won’t clog pores and is comfortable to wear every time. What’s great about this foundation is it comes with a beautiful, portable grinder compact that allows you to control dispensing the foundation to prevent wastage and mess.

4. Living Nature Luminous Pressed Powder 

If you’re after a glowing effect, this luminous pressed powder from Living Nature is perfect for you. It’s a certified natural foundation. It’s a cruelty-free makeup with a delicate shimmer and a luxurious finish. It can also provide beneficial skincare properties. The olive fruit oil it contains is excellent for dry skin, plus the jojoba seed oil is perfect for fighting off inflammation. You can use this as a finishing touch after foundation or a tinted moisturizer.

5. Everyday Minerals Matte Base 

Looking for a budget-friendly mineral foundation? Everyday Minerals Matte Base is an excellent option for you. It’s an award-winning, all-natural mineral base for a silky smooth, flawless finish. It comes with minimal ingredients, making it great for users with sensitive or acne-prone skin. They offer several formulas and shades, so you can find a shade that’s perfect for your complexion.