Clearing Clogged Pores: Mineral Makeup Review

Ella Rose Mineral Foundation: 5 stars!!!

Ella Rose Minerals is an Etsy store that provides handmade mineral makeup. The makeup contains none of the harmful ingredients commonly found in mass-produced mineral makeups, and she has a foundation that she says is 0 on the comedogenicity scale. 

Ella Rose Foundation

I purchased this foundation in January, and use it about once a week or so, if that.

Here's a list of the ingredients with comedogenicity ratings taken from the description of this product:
Titanium Dioxide - 0
Zinc Oxide - 0
Calcium Carbonate - 0
Boron Nitride - 0
Serecite Mica - 0
Iron Oxides - 0
Also from the product description:
Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide provide sun protection and anti-inflammatory benefits. Calcium Carbonate allows for oil absorption from the surface of the skin without drawing moisture away from the skin. Calcium helps to clear blemished skin and revitalizes lifeless tired looking skin. Boron Nitride has natural anti-bacterial properties. Mica’s light reflecting qualities help to diminish lines and skin imperfections. Iron oxides provide the pigments to achieve natural foundation colors.

From my own research:

Comedogenicity ("?" means I couldn't find an actual rating, but found anecdotal evidence)
Titanium Dioxide - 0 (?)
Zinc Oxide -1
Calcium Carbonate - 0 (?)
Boron Nitride - 0 (?)
Serecite Mica - 0 (?)
Iron Oxides - 0

Titanium Dioxide (TiO2)- 0 (anecdotal)

Titanium reacts to light (photocatalytic reaction!). As you walk around your day with this stuff on your face, the light hits the Titanium, which causes it to produce hydroxyl radicals. The hydroxil radicals "kill" micro-organisms that could cause problems on your face.  There are lots of studies that prove this. Amazing stuff!

Titanium dioxide, also known as titania, is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium, chemical formula TiO2. Approved by the food testing laboratory of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Titanium Dioxide is considered a safe substance and harmless to human. It is commonly used in paint, printing ink, plastics, paper, synthetic fibers, rubber, condensers, painting colors and crayons, ceramics, electronic components along with food and cosmetics. Many studies have been published on the use of titanium dioxide as a photocatalyst  for the decomposition of organic compounds. After illuminated by light, titanium dioxide produces hydroxyl radicals, which react with the organic matters in the air to form non-toxic inorganic matters...Hydroxyl radicals are among the strongest oxidizing species, even much stronger than chlorine, ozone, and peroxide. They act as very powerful disinfecting agents by oxidizing the cells of microorganisms, causing rupture  and leakage of vital composition.

Zinc Oxide (ZnO) - 1

Zinc oxide crystal from Science in Public.

Zinc Oxide, a white powder, is the oxide of zinc...Zinc Oxide is used in a wide range of cosmetics and personal care products including makeup, nail products, baby lotions, bath soaps and foot powders. Zinc Oxide is also used in Over-the-Counter (OTC) drug products such as skin protectants including ano-rectal skin protectant products, for example, diaper rash ointments, and sunscreen products.
The compound is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial and is very helpful in treating skin irritations. and burns. It adheres very well to the skin, forming a protective barrier. 

Dr Yinfa Ma recently did a study that revealed that zinc oxide could generate free radicals (which can kill cells and affect DNA) when exposed to light for long periods of time. This is a preliminary study. Further data is needed before any decisions are made. Something to think about. Here's a good summary: Science Daily article.

Calcium Carbonate - 0 (anecdotal)

Calcium salt or precipitated calcium. This is an alkaline, and seems to be popular for its oil absorbing properties and its texture on the skin. It can be drying if the proportion is too large in the formulation. At least one study shows the presence of bacteria in cosmetic-grade CaCo2. I've seen some anecdotal evidence that irritation can occur. No health concerns are listed.

Calcium carbonate crystals from Quantum Micromet.

Boron Nitride (BN) - 0 (anecdotal)

Boron Nitride is the mineral salt of boron. This is used to improve the texture, spreadability,  coverage, and adherance properties of the makeup. It supposedly has anti-bacterial properties and absorbs oil.

Sericite Mica - 0 (anecdotal)

Sericite Mica is a fine-grained Mica. This ingredient improves slip, adhesion, and texture of makeup. It provides a slight sheen, which changes depending on the proportion. There are some stories of it being irritating, but I can't find any reliable studies proving this.

Iron Oxides - 0

Iron oxide is basically rust, but don't let that scare you! This is used for color, and has been found to be an anti-oxidant. See this article in Science Direct. 

Even though I can't find any direct evidence for the comedogenicity of most of these ingredients, there's good anecdotal support, at least. In addition, all of the ingredients seem to have good benefits for the skin (mostly anti-oxidants), so there's that. 

So far, I've found that this stuff really works for me!

I heard from the lady over ta Ella Rose Minerals! She wanted to let me know about the zinc oxide in her formulation and about why some foundations can clog pores:
The zinc oxide that I use at the ratio rate that it is used in my products puts it at a zero on the Comedogenicity scale. Many times it's not just about what you put into the formula but how much and at what ratio.

I believe that is why some times I hear from clients other mineral makeup brands have made them break out. Some companies use a large amount of the zinc oxide and then use filler micas to round out the formula (it's cheaper to use the filler micas). And one other thing I had forgotten to mention as well, none of the minerals used in Ella Rose Minerals formulas are coated minerals. Many times they will coat minerals with oils and waxes or silicones. These companies will maintain it is necessary for adhesion but with my formula I found a correct ratio to achieve adhesion without the pore clogging ingredients. Cleaner ingredients...clearer skin! 

Here's how I do it:

I layer it on. After I do my face-cleaning routine (rinse, toner, hemp oil), I let that set in for at least 10 minutes. I put on a dusting of the foundation with a big brush. I let that wait a few minutes, then put on another dusting. It covers well, and it stays on for a four-hour gig. That's good! It doesn't reflect light in photographs or under heavy stage lighting, which is another big plus.

And most importantly, I haven't gotten ONE little bump from this stuff. It's awesome.

After 3 sets in 90-degree heat on the patio at Ned's. No irritation, no shine. Perfect!


  1. Sounds great :)! Thanks for sharing

  2. Hello,

    Mineral Makeup is a natural, mineral based, skincare makeup which actually improves the skin when worn. Make-up enhances the health of your skin. These make-up has antioxidants, vitamins and natural broad spectrum UV protection. Thanks for the tips it gives me more information about it...

    Mineral Skin Care

  3. Fascinating stuff, Beth. Love the crystal pictures, and you're looking good! What's the tattoo on your arm?

    1. Cosnaim Finian. It means (or at least I THINK it means!!!) I protect Finian in Gaelic. Googled language!

  4. Thanks for the thorough and helpful review. I was wondering if you still use this mineral makeup or if you've found something even better. And what sunscreen do you use? Thanks!

    1. Hi Marie! I'm on my third jar of Ella Rose, and I will never use anything else. It works for me! I use Neutrogena sensitive skin sunscreen. So far so good. No clogs.

  5. I just ordered some samples of this!!! Thank you for writing about it. It's funny how I started using hemp oil after reading your blog and now this :P


    1. YAY! Has the hemp oil helped you, Sarah?

    2. Yes!!! Hemp oil has been a life changer for me. At first using it I was still breaking out really bad but I was still using foundations that clogged my pores. I've given up foundation for now but just today got my samples from Ella Rose Minerals. Here's the difference I noticed with using hemp the end of the day my skin was a pool of oil it was so oily and because I use hemp now my body doesn't have the need to make so much oil. So by using hemp oil my face has become less oily. Among other things, my skin is just much less irritated using hemp to clean it rather than a cleanser which leaves my face dry and hurting almost.

      Another thing I've been reading about and practicing lately is a low carb diet. Before I knew the science behind it I thought that was the craziest concept ever that what you eat could effect your skin. It seemed like a ludicrous idea until I understood why. It's been almost a week of eating less carbs and hardly any sugar and I'm noticing difference...I don't could be just a complete fluke but only time will tell and it's so worth the try for me.