avoid bismuth oxychloride

Did you jump on the mineral makeup bandwagon only to see your face break out in a horrible rush?

WTH? Wasn’t this stuff supposed to be safer?

Not really. Dangerous stuff is lurking in there too.

When it comes to mineral makeup, the culprit is usually Bismuth Oxychloride.

What Is Bismuth Oxychloride?

Bismuth Oxychloride is derived from the metal bismuth, a natural component of the mineral bismoclite. Problem is, bismuth is rare in nature, so no one bothers to mine it to put it in cosmetics (it’d cost a fortune if they did!).

Instead, the Bismuth Oxychloride that is lurking in your cosmetics is a by-product of copper and lead refining that’s then mixed with chloride and water (by the way, the whole thing goes through a strict refining process to make it safe for use in cosmetics).

Once finished, Bismuth Oxychloride looks like a greyish/white powder with either a pearl or diamond finish.

What Does Bismuth Oxychloride Do In Mineral Makeup?

I mean, it’s obvious this stuff is not even that natural! So, why is it used in mineral makeup (and traditional makeup, for that matter)?

A few reasons:

  • It binds products together: It gives makeup products texture and smoothness and helps them adhere to the skin better.
  • It gives products their finish: It can impart either a matte or shimmering finish to cosmetics.
  • It’s refractive: When the light hits it, it helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Add to that its cheap price and it’s easy to see why beauty brands love it. Consumers, on the other hand, not so much…

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Why Is Bismuth Oxychloride Bad For Skin?

Bismuth Oxychloride is super irritating. It causes:

  • Allergies
  • Irritations
  • Itchiness
  • Redness

It’s its unique crystalline nature that’s causing the problem. These crystals have sharp edges that poke at the skin, irritating it. They can also get stuck in the pores, causing breakouts.

I’m not saying that everyone who uses Bismuth Oxychloride will suffer this fate. I’m one of those lucky ladies with resilient skin who can easily tolerate Bismuth Oxychloride.

But, even I prefer to avoid it. With so many alternatives these days, why still still use a common irritant and allergen?

The Bottom Line

Bismuth Oxychloride is a common ingredient in mineral makeup. It’s also a common irritant and allergen. If your new mineral foundation gave you a bad rash, this is probably the culprit. Stay away!

Do you use or avoid products with Bismuth Oxychloride? Share your experience in the comments below.