Ground diamonds and pearls pump up cosmetics

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Hint of sparkle or frost making its way into makeup and skin creams


Sparkle in makeup comes and goes as a trend. While the glitter trend of a few years ago has died down, makeup artists and trendsetters still use shimmer, sparkle and shine to highlight features.

Precious gems and metals are also making inroads as an ingredient in makeup and skincare items. The rise of mineral makeup means crushed minerals, including gems and metals, are a hot item in makeup.


Makeup that shines

Several mineral makeup brands include diamonds in their formulas, and claim the diamonds’ reflective qualities help diffuse light to give an even finish and diminish the look of fine lines. Saphoros’ LJ Diamond Foundation contains crushed diamonds, silk and pearl, while Finnish company Kide uses diamonds as well as gold and silver in its nature-inspired cosmetics line. These products give a soft, subtle glow, not a shiny finish.

Women from China and Japan have used pearls and mother of pearl for centuries as a cosmetic, and it is used today in everything from makeup to skincare products. Luxury French cosmetics brand Guerlain uses a mother of pearl concentrate in its Terracotta Blush to add a touch of shimmer to highlight the cheekbones.

Strategic highlights and pops of sparkle, interspersed with matte elsewhere, give a refined and radiant look. “Shimmer shadows have a subtle sheen and give a hint of sparkle. They typically won’t collect in fine lines, which makes them a perfect choice for mature skin,” notes Robert Jones in his book, Makeup Makeovers: Expert Secrets for Stunning Transformations.

Eyeshadow with a frost finish gives more opaque coverage and usually has white or silver sparkle. “They usually come in fun, light pastel shades that work best on younger skin,” says Jones.


Serious sparkle

In 2009, Madonna’s makeup artist, Gina Brooke, layered crushed diamonds on top of white Shu Uemura eyeshadow, then glued 2 carat rose-cut diamonds along the brow bone for an over-the-top sparkle extravaganza.

That wasn’t Brooke’s first use of diamonds. In 2006, she created false eyelashes for Madonna, made with mink hairs and 0.75 carats of diamonds. The diamonds even had a special cut, just for Madonna, called Star Shimmer.


Skin treatments

Skin creams, such as skincare house La Prarie’s Cellular Cream Platinum Rare, contains platinum, which the company claims helps maintain electrical balance to promote youthful skin.

Top spas also use a variety of precious gems and metals to add an opulent twist to their treatments. Deluxe treatments include amethyst facials, crushed pearl exfoliators, and scrubs made from black diamonds, emeralds, rubies and citrine.

New York City’s Dorit Baxter Day Spa uses finely crushed pearls for one of its exfoliation treatments. “Pearls are also known to contain amino acids, vitamin B complex and calcium,” Dorit Baxter told New York magazine. “They prevent dark spots on the skin by slowing down the growth of melanin.”


-January 2013