Inika Mineral makeup: can make you look like an azoo animal, but great for sensitive skin

Now, I realise I am risibly late to the party on Mineral make-up.  Forgive me, forgive me, I’ll explain why I am so far behind in a minute, but I’m finally in the know and I have plenty to say!

Apparently mineral makeup has been around since the 70s (did you know? I hadn’t a clue! I thought it was invented about 3 weeks ago.) Anyway! It’s big USP is that it’s made from crushed pure minerals, so therefore it’s far better for you than the other make-up which is riddled with chemicals.

Before we proceed further, I’d like to go on record about my love of chemicals. If I have a throat infection and I’m offered the choice between a course of antibiotics or being bled be leeches, I will accept the antibiotics every time. For a person who worries about nearly everything, I find I don’t give a damn about being poisoned by chemicals. When it comes to make-up, the only thing I care about is, does it make you look nice? I’m not boasting. Just saying.

So right. Mineral foundation. I’d heard about it – that it was finely finely milled natural stuff in loose powder form and that you applied it to your face with a brush – and I was confused. “Do you mean bronzer?” I asked. “No, no, not bronzer. We have bronzer too, but no, we mean foundations.”

And my instinctive response was “No, no, run away ferry fast!”

Part of the reason is that I have skin that is drier than the Sahara. Powder – even miraculously finely-milled stuff – on a dry face prone to flaky patches? No! Surely it would catch on every tiny bit of uneven skin and get entirely bogged down.I don’t even like those foundations that are crèmes but come in blocks – they just won’t spread, no matter how much serum and moisturiser and primer I lard on, pre-application.

I like liquid foundation – my Most-Beloved brand changes with alarming frequency but we won’t get into that right now – but I’ve been around a long time and I’ve learnt that liquid, nice runny liquid is the only foundation that works for my skin.



Then something happened that put me even MORE off mineral make-up. This following admission is going to make me look horribly shallow and biased but there we are. I was in a place, a hotel type place, and they were showing me round their spa and they said, all boastfully, “We carry the Jane Iredale range of mineral make-up!” And they were looking at me with big, proud, smiley faces and I was trying to hide my aghastness. Because I was thinking, Jane Iredale!!  I don’t want make-up off of someone called Jane Iredale. Jane sounds like she buys chinos from Marks & Spencers Classic range and lives in the Home Counties (all of them) and trains prize-winning dogs for Crufts.

Doubtless I have it ALL wrong, the Jane Iredale range is – I’m told – fantastic! But my point is that the name of a make-up range is very, very important. It’s got to be evocative, it’s got to excite me, it’s got to get my heart pumping and my hand reaching for my wallet. (For example, I give you the brand HourGlass, which I hope to write about soon…)


But then! I won a prize! Something called Your Face in a Box by an Australian brand called Inika. And they’re natural and kindly and good and all that. Vegan even perhaps. Organic, at least part of it – the full details escape me because I suppose they’re not important to me, unlike many far more worthy souls.

Basically they’re a mineral brand and they sent me a powder foundation, a densely bristled little brush to apply it, a small yoke of primer, some – liquid! – mineral foundation and a bronzer and brush.

So I gave it a go. I put the primer on first, then I began the slow task of painting on the powder foundation. My usual beauty regime is to fling my foundation at my face, like a potter throwing a lump of clay onto a wheel, then rub it in in circular motions, like I’m cleaning a window.

But applying the mineral foundation powder by brush was more like Monet doing pointillism. It took time. Like, a good long while. I ran into difficulty around the large-pored parts of my face – my chin and nose. Instead of the finely-milled gear rushing in and filling the holes, it gathered into sullen clumps and sat, staring brazenly at me.

By the time my entire face was evenly covered I felt…well… sort of furry. I had never before realised how…hairy… my face is. The finely milled powder clung to the – what I had previousy thought as very fine, small, blond  – hairs on my face and I went forth into the world, feeling thick-skinned and swollen and yes, furry, there’s no other word for it.

I was not joyous. All day I felt like a beast who had escaped from the azoo.

But I’m a decent sort and I decided I’d give the whole business a second go! So I tried doing the whole thing again with a lighter touch and yes, it still took a long time, but it was nice. Later that day someone said, “God, you’re skin is looking good.”

Then! I tried the liquid mineral foundation and this is where it all started to go really right! Yes, ferry nice. Nice, creamy, spready, quick! Much more my sort of thing.

You see, what I hadn’t fully appreciated is that where mineral make-up really shines, is when a poor soul has developed allergies, or other miserable skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis, and can’t wear regular chemical-riddled make-up. I would hate to live a cosmetic-free life, so God bless the woman who invented Inika. (And all the other inventors of the other mineral brands.) For example, I hear great reports about Inika’s eyeshadow, which, considering some people get psoriasis on their eyelids (I know! God love them) must be useful.  Then there are the ethical considerations – Inika is cruely-free (which I am very happy about.)

Hand-on-heart, I don’t think I’m a mineral make-up person. I haven’t really got the patience. But I’m really really happy that I live in a world where  brands like Inika are offering pure products, for people who can’t or don’t want to wear the regular stuff. Fair play to you!


To find out more about Inika visit

Check out the exciting news of Marian’s upcoming book, the Mystery of Mercy Close (Sep 13 2012)

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