Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mineral Makeup with Green Tea Extract - Just More Hype?

The Next Generation Of Mineral Makeup Hype

As mineral makeup is getting more and more popular, it seems that many companies are doing their level best to try to take their products to the next level by touting all the fantastic benefits of additional ingredients for anti-aging.  Such as mineral makeup now with Japanese Green Tea Extract.

But what I find most disconcerting and a bit dubious, not just as a formulator but as a consumer as well, is the manner by which some also try to extrapolate purported ingested benefits of a certain ingredient, to performing the same in a mineral powder applied to the face.

With all the mineral makeup hype out there, you may not even begin to know which way to turn or where to begin.

Some newfangled additive ideas are listed here and are all freeze dried:
  • Green Tea Extract (Japanese) 
  • Vitamins A, C and E
  • Lavender 
  • Chamomile 
  • Herbal Extracts 
Although this is a fantastic marketing concept or gimmick depending on your perspective, these ingredients actually do nothing for the skin when provided in a mineral cosmetic powder.  Basically this is a marketing campaign focused primarily on baby boomers.

Unless the addition of a botanical ingredient is in the mineral makeup formula to boost the skin health properties like ours, by increasing the benefits of soothing skin irritations through the use of rice powder or allantoin, or maintaining pH levels and controlling sebum production on skin such as with Jojoba Oil, all others are strictly a selling point to make a standard mineral makeup appear better than what the main inert ingredients provide to the user in the first place.  Zinc Oxide for instance, is a sun blocking agent and is well known for its' anti-inflammatory properties, and is a main component in most mineral makeup brands.

I wrote an article a couple of years ago titled Anti-Aging Ingredients In Mineral Makeup and Skincare for those that wish to learn more about the viability of such ingredients when used in mineral makeup products vs actual benefits that can occur when found in skincare regimens.

Antioxidants Benefits and Shortfalls


Green Tea Extract is a powerful antioxidant for fighting free radicals, it has also been tested and shown it can assist with fighting skin cancer when used in combination with other UV filters.  It does provide some anti-inflammatory properties.

Vitamin A, in the right concentration, has been found to be very effective at reducing fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin tone and exfoliating the skin.

Vitamin E and C help fight free radicals when they are found in higher concentrations, and are also used to stabilize an emulsion when utilized in combination with other preservatives. The Vitamin E portion is a nice emollient ingredient added to enrich a skincare formula.

Herbal Extracts fall under the same context as Green Tea Extract based on their various skin benefits.


Antioxidants used in a powder, fail in this context.  A powder is not designed to be absorbed by the skin which is where a beneficial ingredient needs to go in order to have any purported benefit.  Mineral makeup essentially will always sit atop the skin, or at the most meld with the skins natural oil or your moisturizer, and is designed to soothe and assist with reduction of inflammation and irritation of the skins' surface.  And the last thing any mineral makeup will do is "nourish" skin.

Herbal Extracts and Green Tea in particular, in my opinion are the epitome of mineral makeup marketing hype due to the amount that can actually be incorporated into the minerals.  It is green in nature when fresh, and any supposed significant beneficial amount of this extract used for skin health, can and will alter the color of the minerals.  This is why you'll see Green Tea Extract (Japanese) at the very most, be listed as the last ingredient or after the colorants on the label placing the concentration somewhere around 1% or less of total product, at which point, if there were any actual skin benefit, would be lost at this ratio.  Concentrations mean everything when it comes to skincare enhancement and benefit, and the use of antioxidants in mineral cosmetics cannot deliver on a promise or claim.

Furthermore, what many don't know, is that antioxidants used as a stand alone additive rather than a natural constituent of another ingredient component such as Jojoba Oil, are destroyed by the air we breathe once exposed to oxygen. Without a supporting preservation system, the antioxidant loses its' potency of any benefit it may offer in short order.  Literally within a matter of a few minutes on the skin and within hours once the jar is opened.

Herbal Extracts aside, Green Tea Extract will also age quickly on the shelf in their dry form due to environmental stressors, showing signs of degradation by turning brown so any and all antioxidant benefit has oxidized, whereby aging a cosmetic and now creating a mineral makeup which has a shortened shelf life based on the skin benefit claim alone.

Another wrinkle, Vitamin A, C and E are in freeze dried form and much of their efficacy is lost in the process of the actual freeze drying.  Plus Sunlight and Oxygen are these ingredients worst enemy.  Furthermore, without a catalyst or stabilizing agent to rehydrate them, they pretty much are chemically benign, whereby negating any purported benefit for the skin.

PubMed has shown through science and research testing on Green Tea Extract, along with additional articles you can find in the right hand column, the shelf life of this ingredient of maintaining its antioxidant properties.  The overall consensus seems to give this ingredient 12 to 16 weeks of shelf life storage, not counting a quicker deterioration with everyday use.

Skin Care Can Have The Added Benefit

This is why recent studies have shown it is best to use creams or cleansers utilizing herbal extracts / antioxidants, especially  Green Tea Extract, that can be absorbed by skin through the use of penetration enhancers, be worn under your sunscreen or mineral makeup.  In fact, research provided by more PubMed Articles, has shown it is best to combine green tea with sunscreens.  It can be as easy as brewing some green tea and then putting it on your skin, and then applying your favorite sunscreen over it.  Zinc oxide for instance, is a chemically inert mineral and will not react with green tea.  (Some synthetic chemical sunscreens might have a chemical reaction, especially in sunlight as some research has shown, such as the case of Oxybenzone which is still under debate).

So mineral makeup will work best atop another skincare product that utilizes antioxidants but not when used as part of an ingredient profile in dry form.  Green Tea can have skin soothing properties to be sure, but then so does many other ingredients.  But for anti-aging claims based on the properties of the antioxidants listed above, it is definitely a huge stretch to make this claim.....let alone the fact that the term "anti-aging" is frowned upon by the FDA unless the scientific studies of the actual product it is used in, has been shown to support the anti-aging claim.  Basically reversing aging on the skin by structurally altering it permanently, which is something to date that only plastic surgery and inject-able drugs offer at the present time.

A Friendly Reminder For Skin Safety

Antioxidant usage is also why it is essential to take notice of all natural brands without a preservation system that may only be utilizing antioxidants to support a certain formulation.  This type of preservation which is geared toward spoilage and not actually killing any bacterial contamination, will degrade within a matter of days once the cap is popped.  Antioxidants can only be further stabilized with an excellent preservation system used in combination with them.

But just remember, only a youthful appearance can be assisted and maintained as long as one continues to use their skin care regimen daily, otherwise, once stopped, the skin again begins to show the years of accumulated sun damage along with our natural aging processes.  Genetics and our environment always play a key role in how our skin ages and skincare is only designed to help fight and protect the skin from further damage....but is never the complete magic bullet.

Followup Article : UPDATE: Green Tea in Mineral Makeup: Was I Wrong?

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