Know Your Ingredients: Bismuth Oxychloride

by beautifulwithbrains


What it is
Bismuth Oxychloride is a white powder that seldom occurs in nature. It is usually made by combining bismuth, a by-product of lead and copper metal refining, with chloride and water.

What it does
Bismuth Oxychloride adheres well to skin, helping makeup stay on longer.
It also gives skin a silky feel and either a white shimmer or pearlescent matte finish. The glow reflects light away from the skin, helping to hide wrinkles and fine lines.
It is also used as a colouring agent: it imparts a white colour to cosmetics and personal care products.
In addition, it is an absorbent agent and a thickener.

Side effects
Bismuth Oxychloride has a unique unique crystalline structure. That means that its crystal can get stuck into the pores and irritate skin. This can cause rednes, itching, and aggravate rosacea.
Bismuth Oxychloride is not allowed to be used in lip products.


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Lisa June 28, 2009 - 1:37 pm

Found this very informative 🙂 I was still wondering if I should get Maybelline’s Mineral Powder but after reading this totally killed my lemming.
.-= Lisa´s last blog ..Updates! =-.

beautifulwithbrains June 29, 2009 - 5:49 pm

Lisa: Do you mean their powder foundation? I’m using that and although I try to steer clear of products containing this ingredients it says on the label only that it MAY contain Bismuth Oxychloride. So, I’m not sure if Bismuth is even in the product, it may contain a lot or nothing at all. I didn’t have any negative reactions but you might want to stay away from it if it causes problems for you.

Helen Madison April 2, 2012 - 3:42 am

I have used Bare Minerals for years. Have had several health issues, like a hysterectomy full of cysts last year and terrible bloating and digestive issues since. I just had a hair test test done for heavy metals because of all the problems to find what might be the problem. The test came back “very high” for Bismuth and “high” for Titanium. Am not sure the reasons for the other heavy metals, but am sure Bare Minerals is the culprit for the Bismuth and Titanium. If your experience health issues, please contact a Chiropractor to have a heavy metal test as well. I will surely check ingredients from now on, and will never use cosmetics with these two ingredients again.

beautifulwithbrains April 3, 2012 - 8:13 am

Helen Madison, I’m sorry to hear that, it’s really awful. I hope you are well now. It seems strange to me though that Bare Escentuals was the cause of your problems as the amount of Bismuth Oxychloride and Titanium Dioxide used in cosmetics are small and safe for use, especially when they are only used topically and not inhaled or ingested. But I guess it’s a good idea to stay away from them, just to be on the safe side..

Amanda dani August 4, 2016 - 11:19 pm

The same exact thing happened to me. Thrown it out! That gave me a uncurable painful digestive disorder and has complicated my life like you wouldn’t even know..all the days I had to take off work because of it. Bare minerals is disgusting.

Gio August 5, 2016 - 12:57 pm

Amanda, oh dear, I am so sorry you had such a bad reaction to it! This is definitely an ingredients companies should remove from their products, I agree.

fabulessbeauty June 29, 2009 - 6:43 pm

Honestly, I’m not a fan of Bismuth Oxychloride. It breaks me out like no other.
.-= fabulessbeauty´s last blog ..Flirt! Eyes Rock 2 Limited Edition Eyeshadow Quads =-.

beautifulwithbrains June 29, 2009 - 7:57 pm

That’s too bad, I’m sorry! Unfortunately Bismuth Oxycloride causes allergic reactions and other negative reactions to a lot of people.

Jolloy April 15, 2010 - 10:41 am

Can anyone recommend a good, high-end face powder that does not contain Bismuth Oxychloride?


Olena May 31, 2018 - 7:15 pm

Jane Iredale has an amazing powder foundation called Pure Pressed Base — it’s a bit pricey but well worth it. It’s talc-free and without bismuth oxychloride!

Gio June 2, 2018 - 2:59 pm

Olena, thanks for the recommendation. Sounds great!

beautifulwithbrains April 15, 2010 - 8:16 pm

Jolloy, although I haven’t tried it myself (I usually use drugstore face powders), I’m pretty sure Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Powder doesn’t contain this ingredient. I hope this helps.


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