Bismuth - The Toxin in "Mineral" Makeup

We believe that you should feel good about what you put on your skin. Welcome to the start of #FeelGoodFridays.

This is the first post in a series of spotlights on ingredients that you should avoid in your beauty routine if you choose to. Your skin, your choice! But hey, we don’t want to be negative, so we’ll end each post with a spotlight on safe, natural alternatives. #powerofpositivity

Let’s dive in.


Symbol : Bi | Atomic Number: 83 | Used as a replacement for lead as it has lower toxicity and is weakly radioactive…. But fact is, it’s still radioactive. It is typically obtained as a by-product from refining lead, copper, tin, silver, and gold ores.



Pharmaceutical & Industrial Uses of Bismuth

  • Remedy for stomach aches (think of that pink liquid)
  • Used as a catalyst to manufacture rubber
  • Combined with other metals to make fire detectors & extinguishers
  • Used as a replacement for lead in bullets
  • Used in nuclear reactors



Found in “Mineral” Makeup: Blush, Powder Foundation, Brzoner, Eyeshadows, Lipsticks, & Nail Polishes.

Bismuth Oxychloride (manually combination of Bismuth & Chloride)  - doesn’t seem naturally-derived to us.

Many cosmetic companies use this cheap filler ingredient and label their powder foundations as “mineral makeup” because it is a natural compound and believe it to be better for your skin than Talc (we’ll address Talc next Friday). It’s added to cosmetics because it has that silky feel, gives the white, pearly-shimmer, and makes makeup last longer. It adds light and reflective properties to the product to help “hide” wrinkles and age spots. 

Sounds great, right?



It’s listed by the FDA as safe and likely non-toxic ; however, it does lead to some skin concerns (and not to mention, it closely resembles the element, Arsenic):

  • Irritation, especially when sweating
  • Itching & Rashes
  • Inflammation
  • Rosacea
  • Can lead to severe, cystic acne
  • Advertised as needing to be reapplied multiple times which means over-buffing the products into the skin, leading to irritation and micro-exfoliation


Sericite Mica: Ethically-Sourced

Natural and untreated, it can be used in place of Bismuth Oxychloride


  • Smooth & Silky Texture
  • Subtly reflects light for a natural, non-glittery, glow
  • Great adhesions properties to make makeup last longer
  • Oil & water resistant properties

Found in our Matte Mineral Foundation & Healthy Glow Mineral Foundation.

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