Mineral Magic

In the ever-evolving world of make-up, there is one category that continues to grow and thrive, particularly in spas. With its lack of skin-dulling chemicals, dyes, and preservatives, mineral makeup, which is created using finely ground minerals, has become a popular category of cosmetics that has greatly evolved since it debuted more than 30 years ago. "Initially, it was about using minerals for color and coverage to offer an alternative to products that almost all had what we call the 'seven deadly skins'—perfumes, talc, alcohol, mineral oil, preservatives, emulsifiers, and dyes," says Diane Richardson Ranger, founder of Colorescience, a mineral makeup line for medical and resort spas. "Mineral makeup today is not just an alternative to color but it also encompasses great skincare technology in every application of every product."

Jane Iredale, founder and president of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, a comprehensive line of mineral cosmetics, agrees that mineral makeup is now the fastest growing segment in the cosmetics industry. "The category gets bigger and more inventive every day, with choices from low-end to high-end and everything in between," she says.

Bountiful Benefits

Mineral makeup provides a number of skin benefits, making it an excellent choice for spas that offer comprehensive skincare services. "Minerals are so versatile that practically any look is attainable, but I think a phrase that I've heard more than any other to describe the finished effect is, 'It looks like my skin, only better,'" says Iredale.

Because it allows the skin to breathe, mineral makeup is ideal for sensitive skin, particularly for clients suffering from rosacea or those who are acne-prone. According to Pauline Youngblood-Soli, president and founder of Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics, which offers an extensive line of makeup formulated from pure minerals, traditional makeup is loaded with additives and irritants, which can irritate skin and clog pores. "Mineral makeup is definitely more beneficial and healthier to use, because minerals are naturally pigmented and don't contain any bacteria, so skin is free to breathe," she says.

Mineral makeup also provides skin with a glorious glow. "The light, reflective nature of the makeup adds a radiant, natural finish that is unmatched by traditional makeup and allows for many skintones to fit into the same shade," says Karen Bock, president of Brushes by Karen, which offers private label mineral products containing finely milled, high-grade raw materials available in many formulation choices and packaging options. "This makes it easy for clients to find the perfect shade without ever showing lines of demarcation. When applied correctly, mineral makeup looks the most natural from close up and far away."

Another advantage of mineral makeup is its ability to last using a minimal amount of product, which makes it both appealing and affordable. "Because the minerals are in such a concentrated form, only a minimal application of powder is necessary," says Youngblood-Soli. "Mineral makeup feels weightless, while traditional makeup makes women feel like they're wearing a mask."

But perhaps one of the biggest benefits of mineral makeup is the protection it offers from the sun. For clients who don't enjoy slathering on sunscreen, a dusting of mineral makeup is a great way to block damaging rays, as the titanium and zinc contained in most mineral makeup provide non-chemical, broad-spectrum coverage. "There is no question that sun protection is one of the most important things we can do for the health of the skin," says Iredale. "The elegance of minerals is that they make this protection easy, effective, and beautiful." She does, however, caution spa directors to read labels carefully and be sure to select a line that has proven sun protection.

A World of Color
A World of Color

Marketing Mineral Makeup

With its myriad benefits, many experts believe mineral makeup can almost sell itself, but there are some excellent ways in which spas can promote and market the products to maximize profits. One of the most important aspects of the sale is location. "You can see this every time you walk into a department store—big retailers obviously obtain their largest profit margin from beauty products, which is why they put cosmetic counters on the first floor in a high-traffic area," says Iredale. "The inside area around your front door is the most valuable real estate per square foot of your business. This is the place for clients to see what's new and innovative in all your products, but particularly makeup, because women are always fascinated by it."

Another crowd pleaser is free makeovers. Train your staff to sequester clients who appear to be browsing in your spa's retail area or have just had a facial in a chair for a complimentary makeup application. "I even think a quick application of mineral makeup should be incorporated into the treatment room," says Bock, who suggests building the price of a jar of mineral makeup into the cost of a service to provide clients with what is perceived as a free gift. "Mineral makeup can be applied after most treatments to help cover, protect, soothe, and heal treated skin while providing an excellent barrier to the sun and other irritants. Don't rely on pamphlets or posters to do your selling for you—a five-minute complimentary application can be worth its weight in gold."

Sarina Godin, vice president of product development for Bare Escentuals, adds that spa directors should not be concerned about applying mineral makeup following a skincare treatment, as it is free of any preservatives, fillers, or?binders, and it won't irritate skin. It is also non-comedogenic and won't clog pores. "It will not cancel out the pore-cleaning benefits of a facial, because it will sit on top of the skin rather than be absorbed," she says.

Beyond the treatment room, be sure to have plenty of testers and samples available for your clients to use. Make them accessible and appealing with a selection of colors, applicators, mirrors, and more. "Demonstrate, demonstrate, demonstrate—you have to see the results short term and long term to believe them," says Ranger. "You will develop loyal customers from this who will return not only for their products but for all the other services you offer. This will distinguish your cosmetic offerings from the other competition."


It's also important to designate at least one staff member as your cosmetics expert. This person should be able to educate clients on the benefits of your mineral makeup line and should also be in charge of checking inventory and keeping the display area and testers clean and appealing to clients. "He or she should also make sure that everyone in your business is wearing the mineral makeup you sell, particularly the people at the front desk," says Iredale. "This is a vastly overlooked area. More sales occur inadvertently at the front desk than anywhere else. It's where clients have the chance while making their next appointment or retrieving their credit card to ask, 'What makeup do you wear?' or 'I love your eye shadow, what is it?' Don't overlook your front desk."

When it comes to sprucing up your spa this fall, mineral makeup can be a skin-saving and lucrative choice that appeals to clients of all ages and skin types. "It fits perfectly with today's lifestyle," says Iredale. "It's fast, easy, and effective; it's multifunctional; and it allows your clients to feel natural and look flawless at the same time. And for those of us who are interested in eliminating as many toxins as possible from our lives, it does that, too." —Julie Keller