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Sun, Apr 05, 2009
The Straits Times
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Naked truth
by Karen Tee

You know you need vitamins and minerals in your diet to keep healthy.
As it turns out, the right minerals could work wonders for your skin too.

First introduced in the 1970s, mineral make-up has become one of the hottest buzzwords in the cosmetic industry in recent years.

The allure of mineral make-up, say beauty companies, is that you get make-up with skincare benefits.

Common ingredients in mineral make-up include zinc oxide, which has anti-bacterial properties, and titanium dioxide, which doubles as a sunblock.

In addition, mineral make-up, which often includes powder foundation, blush and eyeshadows, is usually made without preservatives, perfumes and chemicals. This is why doctors recommend it to those with sensitive skin but still want to wear make-up.

'I would recommend those with more sensitive skin types or allergies to chemicals to use more mineral-based cosmetics,' said Dr Jean Ho, consultant dermatologist at Joyce Lim Skin and Laser Clinic at Paragon Medical Suites.

'But people with normal skin could also benefit as they have less chance of developing allergies or irritation to ingredients in cosmetics when they use mineral make-up.'

Over the last two years, big brands like M.A.C, L'Oreal Paris, Maybelline and The Body Shop have launched their own lines of mineral wonders.

In June, Estee Lauder will launch its Nutritious Vita-Mineral line of mineral make-up here.

Even before the big guns jumped onto the bandwagon, cult cosmetic brands such as Youngblood, Glominerals and Bare Escentuals were already in the game.

American brand Bare Escentuals made its debut here last December when French multi-label beauty store Sephora opened. Its mineral make-up line, bareMinerals, is a cult brand from San Francisco.

Its star product, the bareMinerals SPF 15 Foundation ($48), has won multiple awards from international magazines including Allure, Glamour and Elle since it was launched in 1994.

Urban gets Paris-based Dalila Mahdoume, 36, the specialty store training manager for Bare Escentuals, to share her beauty tips when she was in town last month.

What exactly is mineral make-up?

Mineral make-up, as the name implies, contains only finely crushed minerals.

Also important is what is not in our products - there is no talc, which is commonly used as a filler product, perfumes, preservatives or harmful chemicals. These are some ingredients that may irritate those with sensitive skin or clog pores.

Hence, mineral make-up is suitable for all skin types and conditions.

What makes mineral make-up different from regular make-up?

Mineral make-up provides good coverage, but you won't feel the make-up while you are wearing it.

For example, powder mineral make-up foundation can be built up to provide as much coverage as a liquid foundation. Also, you can keep mineral make-up for a longer time than regular make-up, without worrying about the product getting spoilt.

I recommend using up mineral make-up within 12 months of opening.

Please explain the application technique for mineral make-up.

Remember to swirl, tap and buff.

First, pour out a little powder onto the lid of the container. Swirl the brush in the lid until the foundation is tucked into the brush bristles.

Then tap off excess powder from the brush. There should not be any visible powder on the brush.

Finally, buff the foundation into your skin in a circular motion starting from the outer corner of your cheekbones. Work your way inwards from the outside of your face towards the nose. Stop when you are satisfied with the coverage.

You can use up to three layers of mineral foundation.

Why do I need to buff the make-up into my skin?

If you take the mineral powder and dust it directly onto your skin, the finish will be shiny as minerals have some shimmer. But if you buff the powder, the mineral particles will start to bind together and the end result will be a natural finish.

I find the make-up application steps a bother. Can you convince me otherwise?

It may seem complicated compared to patting on powder with a sponge but this is because most people are not familiar with it.

Once you learn how to do it, it is easy to replicate on a daily basis and you don't need to worry about blending the foundation into your skin. You can even apply your foundation without a mirror in under 50 seconds.

Why is there a need for special brushes?

To properly apply mineral make-up powder foundation, you need a kabuki brush, which is a brush with a short stump and a densely packed head of hair. The brush is tapered so that it is easier to work the powder into the bristles. This way, you won't apply too much foundation.

Do you have any quick make-up tips for women on the move?

Keep a kabuki brush in your purse. When you need to refresh your make-up, simply buff your skin again with the brush. There is no need to apply another layer of foundation.

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Dalila Mahdoume, the specialty store training manager for Bare Escentuals, picks her favourite products from the bareMinerals range.
Get Started Kit (Photo 2), $140

This kit has all you need to start using mineral make-up.

It contains two shades of SPF 15 foundation, so you can customise the shade to suit your skin tone; Mineral Veil, a loose powder; and an All-Over Face Colour in Warmth, which can be a bronzer or a blush.

There is also a kabuki brush, face brush and concealer brush.

Other items include a Skin Rev-er Upper, a make-up base, and a How-To DVD.

Multi-tasking Face Powder (Photo 3), $40

This powder can be used as a concealer. You can also use it as an eyeshadow base or a highlighter.

All Over Face Colour Radiance (Photo 4), $38

I love having some colour on the face and this product, which has a slight shimmer, can be used anywhere on the face to add a glow.

bareMinerals by Bare Escentuals is available at Sephora.

This story was first published in Urban, The Straits Times.

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