Reading the claims for this moisturizer from BareMinerals and you'll find words like "protect" and "defend" to describe what it can do for your skin. Unfortunately, after looking at the ingredient list, another word sprang to mind for us: "problems!"
This contains bergamot oil, which can be phototoxic, meaning it can trigger irritation when skin is exposed to sunlight (Sources: www.naturaldatabase.com; Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, September 2001, pages 458–461; and Journal of Dermatology, May 1994, pages 319–322). There's also the preservative methylisothiazolinone, which can irritate sensitive skin, and lavender oil, which can kill skin cells and encourage oxidative damage! See More Info to learn why lavender oil is such a problem, even tiny amounts.
We always give credit where it's due, however: Advanced Protection does provide broad-spectrum sun protection with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. There are also antioxidants sprinkled in, though it's hard to determine exactly how much of those you're really getting. That's because this product is regulated in the United States as an over-the-counter drug, so cosmetics brands have the option to list their inactive ingredients in alphabetical order instead of in descending order of content. Although this is allowable, we have far more respect for companies that choose instead to list their non-active sunscreen ingredients in descending order of concentration, so that we, and you, know more about what you are putting on your face.
Add to this the fact that the "ActiveSoil Complex" in this moisturizer is no more than basic minerals, which, in all likelihood, cannot penetrate the skin, so you're left with a daytime moisturizer that can protect the skin from sun damage, but at the risk of causing other problems from the ingredients it contains. For far better options, please see our list of Best Moisturizers With Sunscreen.
- Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide provide broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Contains bergamot oil, which can be phototoxic.
- Has methylisothiazolinone, which can irritate the skin when used in leave-on products.
- Contains lavender oil, which can cause skin-cell death and other problems.
Research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application causes skin-cell death (Source: Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is a known skin irritant. Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is a pro-oxidant, and this enhanced oxidation increases its irritancy on skin (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150). Lavender oil is the most potent form, and even small amounts of it (0.25% or less) are problematic.
Protect skin day after day with this incredibly nourishing moisturizer that delivers powerful SPF protection to shield against the sun's harmful rays. Powered by our proprietary ActiveSoil Complex with essential antioxidants and nutritive minerals, this lightweight lotion defends against environmental damage. Our extra-gentle formula provides balanced moisturization for combination skin, leaving your skin unbelievably soft, smooth, and healthy-looking.
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 5.0%, Zinc Oxide 3.0%. Inactive Ingredients: Acacia Dealbata Flower/Stem Extract, Alumina, Aluminum Stearate, Aspalathus Linearis Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Powder, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Caprylyl Methicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Citric Acid, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Dicaprylyl Ether, Ectoin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Geraniol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Isostearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Jojoba Esters, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Limonene, Linalool, Methylisothiazolinone, Phenoxyethanol, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Propanediol, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Silica, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Soil Minerals, Spiraea Ulmaria Extract, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Water (Aqua), Xanthan Gum.
Makeup is what this San Francisco-based cosmetics line is primarily about, and they use the pure and natural marketing angle to entice consumers. The self-proclaimed "healthiest, purest makeup in the world" was founded in 1976 by Diane Ranger, who left the company in the early '90s, and is now run by Leslie Blodgett, who appears regularly on QVC and the company's own infomercials to support and demonstrate her products. Blodgett is largely credited with turning the line she began into a $150 million business—no small feat. The products are sold in most Sephora boutiques and Ulta stores, though the full selection of skin-care products is most often found at the Bare Escentuals freestanding stores scattered throughout the United States.
Supporting the company's portrayal as a leader in purity are the corresponding claims that the bareMinerals makeup does not contain fragrance, oil, binders, preservatives, emulsifiers, or any other harmful chemicals. Although this line does have its advantages for someone with sensitive skin, as it turns out, bismuth oxychloride, a major ingredient in the powder formulations, can cause skin irritation, while the other minerals can be drying (Source: www.sciencelab.com/xMSDS-Bismuth_oxychloride-9923103). Regarding bismuth oxychloride, it is interesting to note that bismuth (a metallic element) seldom occurs in nature. Instead, it is a by-product of copper and lead refining, or is manufactured synthetically. Chemically, it's similar to arsenic, a fact you won't see in any advertising for bareMinerals. However, just as cosmetic-grade mineral oil is not identical to the petroleum from which it originated, neither is bismuth oxychloride identical to bismuth. The bismuth oxychloride used in cosmetics is non-toxic, but this background offers a good example of how skewed a company's definition of "natural" can be.
Aside from the health and purity claims, loose powders are as messy as it gets in terms of your vanity (countertop, not ego) and your makeup bag. The powder just gets all over the place, and the very basic packaging does not do much to minimize the mess. Additionally, while there are softer neutral shades, and some fairly exotic shades as well, most are mildly to extremely shiny and make any amount of crepey skin look more so. The face powder does provide some amount of opaque coverage, but the shine and the thickness can be a bit much. The loose powder eyeshadows and blushes apply in a somewhat lighter way, though they still provide significant coverage. Many women ask me about mineral makeup and whether or not it really is better for skin. The answer to that question is "No."
Although most mineral makeup is innocuous, the texture, appearance, and application have difficulties that make it not comparable to today's best liquid or pressed-powder foundations. We agree with bareMinerals' stance that foundation shouldn't look or feel like a mask, nor should there be a line of demarcation where the application stops. However, their foundations are not the only ones able to achieve this, and there is no inherent benefit to this type of foundation over numerous other options.
There isn't much to say about the skin-care products, but what's worth paying attention to is noted in the At-a-Glance section.
For more information about Bare Escentuals, call 1.888.795.4747 or visit www.bareescentuals.com.