'Mineral' make-up has taken Australia by storm, but as the label can be placed on products with less than one per cent mineral content, identifying quality can be tough.
Mineral make-up exploded onto the beauty scene in 2005, but there are still no Australian standards to regulate the production and sale of so-called mineral products.
"There are many make-ups which carry the 'mineral' label when they are in fact packed with harmful chemicals," says Sara Baruch, founder of Aphrodite Cosmetics, an Australian mineral make-up brand.
Mineral make-up can be used for both everyday and professional beauty looks
Ironically, mineral make-up was borne out of a market desire to move away from chemicals, and provide a 'natural' alternative to ingredients such as bismuth and talc, commonly found irritants in most cosmetics.
Mineral make-up was also designed to address the rising instance of allergies and skin conditions, such as rosacea, eczema and acne, amongst Australian consumers.
"True mineral make-ups are free of parabens, fragrances, binders, preservatives and dyes, and are therefore perfect for people with sensitive skin," says Baruch.
To recognise true mineral make-up, look for ingredients which are mined from the earth; including iron, mica, gold, magnesium, titanium and zinc.
Mineral foundations are commonly loose powder formulas
These ingredients are ground into micro-particles, and often combined with oxide to provide a variety of colours, creating everything from foundation to nail polish.
"True mineral make-up shouldn't contain more than six or seven ingredients," says Baruch;
"Mineral cosmeticians focus on the ingredients which are left out of make-up, just as much as the ingredients which are put in."
Despite using natural ingredients, mineral cosmeticians are not limited when it comes to creating bold colours
At present, the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme regulates ingredients in cosmetics.
However, the department is primarily concerned with the safety of chemical ingredients, rather than accurate product descriptions.
"Australian standards would definitely help regulate use of the 'mineral' label, to ensure that customers receive the natural beauty alternative they're paying for," says Baruch.
Until the 'mineral' label is regulated, look for ingredients which are strictly mined from the earth, to ensure mineral make-up that is bold, beautiful and natural.