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The great mineral make-up experiment

Okay, so after we decided I needed a retread and then we went out and bought a kit of mineral make-up from Costco (nearly removing my fingers in the process of opening the thing), I broke out the camera and conducted a few quasi-scientific experiments.

The research questions:

Does make-up do a woman any good at all, or is it just another waste of money designed to enrich gigantic corporations at the expense of the consumer’s vanity, whims, and general silliness?

If make-up does anything positive for the aged face, how does regular cream foundation compare with the new powdered mineral make-up variant?

The research method:

Stage 1: Wash face. Apply face cream. Photograph subject’s face using “macro” setting of swell new camera (lab equipment!) donated by M’hijito.

Stage 2. Wash face. Apply cream. Apply full full complement of L’Oréal’s True Match Foundation; color n5, “True Beige.” Photograph subject’s face using new lab equipment.

Stage 3. Wash face. Apply face cream. Apply coat of Kirkland Borghese Mineral Make-up, color “Light to Medium.” Photograph subject’s face using new lab equipment.

Stage 4: Compare.


Stage 1, the Naked Face, is pretty alarming, even to a seasoned researcher:


Amazingly enough, this is our subject’s “good” side. A liberal sprinkling of age spots lie along the jaw line, to the extent that one can say a jaw line is still visible through the fat and sagging jowls. When I said this face looks like the surface of Mars, I wasn’t kidding. The wrinkles in this region are less pronounced. However…


The left side shows the true vintage leather effect produced by a combination of genetics (my mother’s face looked just like this) and too much sun. The age-freckles and moles (I’ve always been speckled) along the jaw are joined by a prominent brown spot high on the cheekbone, one that I’ve never been able to persuade a dermatologist to remove because, of course, he knows he’s not going to be reimbursed by my insurance and he also knows I can’t afford to pay him out of pocket for any such procedure.

So, now we’ve established the reason the subject avoids mirrors and cameras. Moving on…

Stage 2, cream foundation, produces some results. What they are remains to be seen.

Here’s the right side, slathered with plenty of L’Oréal. This make-up has as its sterling quality a capacity to cover brown spots. As you can see, it does a pretty good job of smoothing out the blotchy coloring and hiding the brown speckles. Like all make-up, though, it settles into the crevasses of the aged face, thereby not only not hiding the wrinkles, but actually accentuating them.

The left side, courtesy of L’Oréal:

It covers the large brown spot to some degree. Blotchiness can be said, perhaps, not to have been elided but simply to have been moved around in new ways. As for the wrinkles: the microbial flora on this face need rock-climbing tools to get around.

Stage 3 engages the powdery new mineral make-up, co-branded with a big-box store’s warehousey name and a line of expensive department store cosmetics’ exotically Italianate name. Surely with fire-power like that, it’s gotta do some good.

The right side: fairly smooth, with neither the age spots nor the general blotchiness too pronounced. Not sure what that grayish effect is. Following the instructions given on a YouTube tutorial, I used a small amount of cover-up to help disguise the brown spots; that may be showing through here, or it may be the lighting. In later efforts, I deleted the cover-up step, since the makeup itself seems to do a fairly good job of hiding spots.

And so, to the left side…

It should be noted, too, that I added the mineral make-up’s blusher, which is very light and (seen in a mirror) hardly noticeable. I don’t use blusher with the L’Oréal, because it makes me look like something from Ringling Brothers.


Well, now that we’re at stage 4, I’d say something’s better than nothing. I guess. Both foundations provide some degree of cover-up, and given that the skin has suffered significant damage from the effects of weather and age, cover-up is what’s needed. Probably a veil of the sort favored by Taliban women would fill the bill.

For comparison’s sake, can we get all these photos together in one place?

Ah. Science advances. Et aussi la nausée.

I kind of like the mineral stuff, though it’s significantly more hassle to apply. However, I found that as time passes, it tends to yellow a bit. After five or six hours, it doesn’t look all that great. The L’Oréal does not do that: it retains its initial qualities even after several hours, although it does rub off over time.

What think you, fellow lab rats?

Frugal Cosmetics: Lemons for your beauty routine

Here’s something fun and useful: check out Miss Thrifty’s Six Thrifty Uses for a Lemon. The main post has six great ideas, and readers have been adding more—including one link to an experiment that shows how to use lemons as batteries! The physicist in me fails at that stage. But since I’m a woman, my name is vanity…and lemon juice is one of my favorite frugal cosmetics. Here are a few ways to use fresh or bottled lemon juice to spruce up your daily beauty routine:

Facial toner. Don’t spend a ton of money on fancy astringents to apply after you’ve washed with expensive facial cleanser. After washing your face, squeeze a little lemon juice (or use about 1/2 to 1 tsp bottled juice) into the palm of your hand and gently rub it over your face and neck. Be careful not to get it in your eyes.

Neutralizer. If you wash your face with soap, you may find that it leaves your skin feeling dry and puckery. Most hand soaps are somewhat basic—they’re made with lye, after all. Acid neutralizes bases. Applying a small amount of lemon juice or diluted vinegar immediately after washing with soap will bring a quick stop to that parched sensation. If your complexion is naturally oily, a little lemon juice may eliminate the need to apply moisturizer after washing with soap.

Hair rinse. There’s nothing like lemon juice to get the last of the shampoo out of long hair. Pour a little lemon juice over your hair (1/8 to 1/4 cup bottled juice to about a cup of water works well) after shampooing and before conditioning. Again: take care not to get it in your eyes—it stings just like soap.

Hair brightener. Many women apply some lemon juice to their hair and let it sit, without rinsing, for an hour or two. Especially if you go out in the sunlight with lemon juice in your hair, it enhances blond highlights and subtly brightens naturally brown hair. You will need to rinse the juice out before you’re seen in public, since dried-in lemon juice will leave your hair sticky.

Sunspot fade. Used two or three times a day over a number of weeks, lemon juice will lighten age spots. To make this really work, though, you have to stay out of the sun! Apply the juice to lighten spots. After the juice dries, cover the area with a good sunblock. And if the spots are on your face, be sure to use sunblock under your make-up and wear a hat when you’re going outdoors for any length of time.

In the frugal cosmetics department, here are some related posts:

Olive Oil: The Miracle Skin Cleanser
Olive Oil: The Ultimate Hair Conditioner
Olive Oil Soothes Sore, Cracked Heels and Callused Feet
Lemon and Vinegar Highlight Your Hair

Image: Koehler’s Medicinal Plants. Public Domain. Wikipedia Commons.