Personal care manufacturers that add minerals to their products may be hitting the gold mine—both literally and figuratively. While the most popular minerals added to beauty products are copper, magnesium, titanium and zinc, several companies actually enhance their lines with gold for its stellar anti-inflammatory benefits.
With or without the bling factor, minerals are rocking the beauty aisles. In 2009 alone, 253 skin-care products debuted with claims that they were fortified with vitamins and/or minerals, according to Chicago-based market research firm Mintel. Between 2000 and 2009, a total of 1,125 skin-care products were launched with that claim, Mintel reports.
Yet packaging adorned with the phrase "enriched with trace minerals" or the mere addition of "mineral" to a product's name can be frustratingly vague for consumers and retailers. To help you educate customers on the benefits of mineral-infused personal-care products, here is a primer of top minerals and how they can make skin and hair glow.
How minerals work
Mineral makeup, which incorporates a range of pigmented materials, has been popular since the early 1990s, according to Tim Schaeffer, senior vice president of marketing for Denver-based Mineral Fusion, which recently launched mineral-infused body- and hair-care lines to complement its mineral makeups.
In makeup, the natural mineral particles lie on top of the skin, creating an even skin tone without infiltrating and clogging pores. But adding minerals to shampoos, creams, masks and other personal-care products constitutes a new spin on the idea, with the emphasis shifting from minerals as nonirritating cosmetic alternatives to essential, and largely, cellular catalysts. For example, a study by the National Cancer Research Institute found a correlation between people with low skin-calcium content and premature aging, including wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity.
Minerals provide the key to skin cellular rejuvenation, according to experts. "They help maintain adequate moisture levels, nourish the cells and provide protection from the elements," says Christie Kidd, a certified physician assistant who practices dermatology in Beverly Hills, Calif. Minerals aren't true moisturizers, however; rather, they serve as support players for healthy skin hydration. "They play key roles in the proper functioning of skin cells and for maintaining cellular vitality, which ultimately leads to a healthier moisture balance," Schaeffer says.
Mineral-rich clays, often added to shampoos, cleanse the hair by absorbing excess oil and removing impurities, according to Schaeffer. Conditioners, which are left on longer, often contain more concentrated levels of minerals specifically intended to revitalize the scalp.
Minerals that shine in PC
The following minerals play a starring role in personal-care products, according to Kidd.
Copper detoxifies the skin and aids the production of collagen in connective tissue, increasing skin's elasticity.
Smithsonite, also known as zinc carbonate, mitigates the damaging effects of the sun and has antibacterial properties that make it effective for rashes.
Calcium, maintains skin thickness, and promotes rapid cellular turnover and regeneration.
Selenium has powerful antioxidant action to fight the damage caused by free radicals, and improves skin elasticity.
Potassium maintains skin and body hydration levels.
Magnesium soothes the skin and helps heal skin injuries.
Many natural personal-care products contain a variety of minerals to address a range of skin needs. "It's important to note that one doesn't get [the best] results from a single mineral or trace mineral," says Stephen Strassler, founder and president of Haddonfield, N.J.-based Reviva Labs, which makes mineral-based personal-care products. "The combination of elements working together produces their benefit."
5 mineral infused beauty products
Ahava Mineral Botanic Micro-Peeling Cream Wash
Contains Dead Sea water—abundant in potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium—which penetrates and hydrates the skin.
Avalon Organics Essential Lift Contouring Eye Crème
Part of the recently launched Essential Lift collection, this crème incorporates micro-milled ocean minerals, derived from sea silt extract, to restore the delicate skin under the eyes. Potassium and sodium maintain water balance, while other trace minerals promote rapid cellular turnover, according to the company.
Mineral Fusion Fortifying Mineral Shampoo and Conditioner
Rich in malachite, hematite, smithsonite and rhodochrosite, the hair products deliver inerals that work in tandem with moisturizing ingredients such as aloe, cranberry-seed oil and jojoba.
MyChelle Dermaceuticals Hydrating Cactus Mask
Made for dry skin, this mask features smithsonite and malachite to deliver a healthy dose of antioxidants, and copper to help maintain strong, supple skin.
Reviva Labs Skin Energizing Gel
Hawaiian seaweed extract, with trace minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, cobalt, copper and sodium, stimulates cellular rejuvenation. Applying the gel before night cream boosts the skin's ability to absorb a moisturizer's active ingredients, according to the company.