Ever since Dr. Oz, broached the issue in 2010, it started people getting scared of what makeup does in their lungs. At one point, Dr. Oz recommended applying powders by an open window so that you don’t end up inhaling them.
Think about that for a minute. In your bathroom or at your vanity, the air is usually still. By an open window, there is likely to be a breeze.
Which scenario seems more likely to lead to inhaled particles? If you listen to him you might think that you need to hold your breath when you apply your mineral makeup.
Do you really need to be concerned about inhaling mineral powder?
The real issue of safety comes down to those darn nanoparticles.
Nanoparticles are particles so small that they must be measured in nanometers. This tiny size also means that the particles can be absorbed into the bloodstream, and there become potentially harmful to the body.
The Difference Between Nanoparticles and Micronized Minerals
Micronization does not mean nanoparticles! Micronization is simply reducing particles to a size that can be measured in microns.
Your mineral makeup almost certainly does not contain any nanoparticles — even if the company said the minerals were micronized to be silky!
A micron is one thousand times larger than a nanometer.[Read: The Truth About Mineral Makeup. Marketing Ploys To Watch Out For]
How do you know your makeup particles aren’t that small?
A couple of ways.
First, nanoparticles became widely used in cosmetics for sunscreen, because people hated that white cast on their skin from the visible Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide.
Nanoparticles solved the problem. The teensy-tiny little particles of sunscreen were so small that they were invisible, leaving no white layer on the skin.
That invisibility is the key to knowing they aren’t in your mineral foundation.[Read: Ingredients In Mineral Makeup That Are Terrible, And Some That Aren’t]
Take a look at it on your skin. Is your makeup invisible?
I don’t think you’d buy another jar if it was! No, the point of wearing mineral foundation is coverage and you just can’t get that from a nanoparticle.
Nanoparticle Flight Test
The second thing to know about whether or not there are nanoparticles in your mineral makeup, is that they are so small and light that the slightest movement makes them airborne.
This would be especially frustrating when applying your makeup, you dip your brush and up and away goes the content of your jar! This would not only be messy, but also much more of an inhalation hazard.
Funny Side Note: When Kristen (GBT’s founder) was trying to take the photo for this article she had a really hard time getting the mineral foundation to fly off the brush. It was so dense it just sat there!
Look, I’m not recommending that you actively suck up makeup through your nose or with a gaping open mouth.
Editor’s Note: The main thing both Dr. Oz and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics warned against was inhaling large amounts of mica. Mica is an ingredient that causes makeup to shimmer and it is in pretty much every makeup that has a bit of sparkle to it. Additionally there has been some alarm over the inhalation of talc, but it’s controversial, as we’ve not found any hard hitting evidence that in makeup it’s a major concern. We’ll address these ingredients in future posts. – Kristen Arnett
So, unless you apply your foundation like an old cartoon of someone being powdered by an over-zealous makeup artist for a movie scene, inhalation is not a concern.
Obviously, try not to inhale at the moment you apply mineral foundation under your nose, but the rest of the time you should be just fine.
And now you can let out a big sigh of relief!
So do you agree with this or are you still scared of mineral powder? Let me know in the comments below!