Makeup without titanium dioxide is our specialty.
What, exactly, is titanium dioxide, a mineral makeup ingredient with good and bad research behind it?
Titanium dioxide lends pigment in paints, cosmetics, sunscreens, toothpastes, pharmaceuticals, paper, and food. Although titanium (also seen as 'CI 77891') dioxide is a ‘natural’ ingredient, titanium dioxide in nature risks being contaminated with potentially harmful contaminants such as lead and iron, similar to iron oxides in nature. Therefore, in this ingredient's case, it is good news that it is purified via laboratory processes for use in cosmetics and sunscreens. Some, however, report being sensitive to / allergic to titanium dioxide.
Titanium Dioxide-Free Makeup vs. Titanium Dioxide in Cosmetics
Pros and Cons
Titanium dioxide has a slew of benefits when used in makeup but has some question marks and negative research associated with it, too. For example –
- a benefit: High coverage power.
- A con: Although research may say it doesn't, titanium dioxide can irritate very sensitive skin; Omiana customers switching from other brands can largely attest to this.
- Another benefit: Titanium dioxide in makeup provides some UV protection (albeit don’t let companies tout this fact to you unless they have an official SPF rating via laboratory testing). Note that titanium dioxide in sunscreen is nanoparticle.
- A big con: Makeup companies in the US currently don’t have to disclose if their particles, such as titanium dioxide, are nanoparticle or micronized. Thing is, they can often attest that their particles are not nanosized out of sheer ignorance or being misled by the information they have on hand. Many companies market as using “non-nano” titanium dioxide, but they can be misinformed by their suppliers or, whether ignorantly or for their pursuit of profit, misleading their customers. Did you know, for instance, that titanium dioxide must be supplied in nanoparticle form to render a sunscreen reasonably transparent on the skin? Woah!
More on nanoparticles and particle size as it relates to titanium dioxide:
Titanium dioxide is typically micronized—made into very small particle size—and coated. The refining of this ingredient’s size makes it easier to glide on and cover skin. However, much research has surfaced over the years about concern over nanoparticles and even micronized particles—those itty bitty particle sizes that we find in makeup and mineral makeup.
Even when titanium dioxide nanoparticles are used, the coating used atop the titanium dioxide particles can make the particles grow in size, enough to, purportedly, prevent them from penetrating the skin. This objective, then, is to provide sun protection via titanium dioxide without any risk of it causing harm to skin cells. The coating can improve a makeup product’s feel, enhances SPF benefits, and also prevents the titanium dioxide from interacting with other ingredients in the presence of sunlight, thus enhancing its stability.
Common examples of ingredients used to coat titanium dioxide are alumina, dimethicone, silica, and trimethoxy capryl silane.
Thing is, these coatings can cause irritation for some. How often are you looking for makeup without dimethicone or silica? And to think that perhaps you ‘found’ it, a makeup without dimethicone or silica in the ingredients panel, yet you and even the makeup company may not know that the titanium dioxide is coated with dimethicone or silica? It’s as if the quest for truly healthy makeup can never stop!
The use of nanoparticles in cosmetics poses a regulatory challenge because the properties of nanoparticles may vary: variance occurs in their size, shape, and coatings. We don’t know everything we would like to know about their performance because manufacturers are not required to disclose the qualities of the particles used in some of their products. And again, to reiterate, many companies claiming to use “non-nano” titanium dioxide can be misinformed by their suppliers or misleading their customers.
Perhaps one of the most frightening things about nanoparticles is the cumulative effect of being exposed to them. Like any bad habit or ingredient, the over-time buildup increases one’s exposure to the risks associated with nanos.
Titanium dioxide in large particle sizes and even when coated to become larger in particle size, purportedly does not penetrate all the layer's of one skin and enter the bloodstream. The SPF benefits and silky consistency titanium dioxide lends products can be preferred by many. Many ingredient-discerning people know what they are sensitive to, and oftentimes titanium dioxide is not on their concern list. Purity, particle size, and benefits of this ingredient can vary from suppliers and within finished products. When we do use titanium dioxide, it's because it gives the greatest coverage and tinting power of any white pigment--even better than zinc oxide.
Omiana fans often prefer to avoid ingredients with any concern, but every ingredient, even the most popular or preferred or supposed-safe, come with pros and cons. What is your take on titanium dioxide? Do you prefer non-nanosized titanium dioxide makeup, for its SPF, coverage, and consistency effects, or do you prefer makeup without titanium dioxide? We have both options for you!