Mineral Makeup
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The Web puts answers to every conundrum at your fingertips, but do you really want to seek fashion and beauty counsel from whoever turns up at the top of the page? In a pioneering collaboration with Google, we quizzed the non-virtual pros for answers on the Internet’s most-searched style stumpers.

We've all been there---you're restocking your makeup bag, and after picking up both a mineral powder and a traditional liquid foundation, the obvious question is posed: What's the difference between the two? Technically, most makeup is "mineral" makeup as it contains many of the same elements as mineral-based formulas, the differences lie in the ingredients that the mineral foundations leave out. Because mineral makeup doesn't include parabens, fragrance, talc, preservatives, oil, or other harsh chemicals, they're ideal for sensitive or breakout-prone skin types that often become irritated with heavier formulas.

Keep in mind, not all mineral foundations are created alike---many products on the market may include the moniker, but actually contain minerals coated in parabens or silicones, which prove to be drying to the complexion. When choosing a mineral foundation, pay extra-close attention to the ingredient list and opt for the version that reads less-synthetic. True mineral foundations should include iron oxides, mica, and titanium dioxides among other elements, but any ingredients that seem to be derived from a paraben, glycerin, or alcohol aren't the real deal.

So, which formula is right for you? If you prefer a full-coverage, airbrushed effect, a traditional foundation like Sisley's Phyto-Teint Expert ($137; is your best bet. Though different levels of coverage are available in the liquid foundation realm, they tend to be more opaque than mineral powders like Bare Escentuals' classic formula ($28;, which imparts a sheer, natural effect that can be built upon without appearing obvious or caked-on.

You should also consider how you prefer to apply your product. When it comes to liquid foundation, just about any method goes, but mineral powders should be swept on with a brush---kabuki or powder brushes are great for all-over sheer coverage, while brushes with a flat head make for a slightly heavier application, and allow you to target specific areas. If you like the ease of applying a traditional liquid but want the sheer coverage and good-for-you benefits of mineral makeup, try out one of the new liquid mineral foundation formulas like Jane Iredale's ($50;

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