Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mineral-make up ingredients: Boron nitride

Boron nitride is a hexagonal mineral polymer with excellent chemical and thermal stability. It's used in mineral make-up as a texturizing agent to offer slip, glide, and sheen. It is an excellent alternative to bismuth oxychloride as it offers many of the same qualities.

Boron nitride is a talc substitute with a smooth, silky feel and pearly sheen. It offers excellent adhesion, some whitening of the skin, and low friction on the skin, which explains why it feels silky and soft upon application and on your skin. Although it's not the best oil absorber, it won't change the colour in your foundation, eye shadows, or blushes if you have oilier skin.

Boron nitride generally comes in two forms - boron nitride and "boron glow" (which is boron nitride). The difference? Why the size of the particles! The larger boron glow particles are up to 20 microns, so they offer more light reflection and more sheen. The smaller boron nitride particles are between 5 to 8 microns, so they are going to appear more matte on your skin.

Boron nitride (or boron glow) can be used as the main filler in a mineral make-up product, the way you'd use sericite mica, talc, or Micronaspheres, but it may be too shiny for most people in a foundation.

Usage rate: 3 to 40%. Generally used at 3 to 7% in a foundation, 2 to 5% in a lipstick, and 5 to 40% in a blush or eye shadow.

Whiteness or opacity: To make a colour lighter, to cover up imperfections.
Boron nitride will offer some whitening to your skin, but it shouldn't interfere with your colour choices.

Translucency: The base itself is almost invisible once applied.
It offers more opacity than translucency.

Skin protection
Not applicable.

Slip: The product feels nice going on and staying on.
It offers increased silkiness and softness.

Adhesion: The product remains on your skin.
It offers great adhesion.

Absorbency: Your colour will remain true throughout the day and not morph into something due to environmental stresses or skin oils.
Average absorbency. Best to include an oil absorber like sericite mica or Micronaspheres with boron nitride.

Light scattering properties: To give your skin a dewy glow.
The higher the particle size, the more pearly sheen you're going to get. It will reflect light, which can make fine lines and wrinkles less obvious, but more pearl can make someone with older or oily skin look too shiny. Choose your micron size wisely!


Anonymous said...

I really don't understand this article.

Bye, Ashley

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

What didn't you understand?

Anonymous said...

I understood it.

Mandy Davey said...

Hi Susan
Just wondering could you use Boron Nitride in products that are marketed as 'natural'

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Mandy. There is no definition for the word "natural" so you can call whatever you want "natural" regardless of ingredients.

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Nurse Mi'el said...


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