8 November 2015

Are minerals actually any good for you?

Minerals, yeah? You find them in make-up, shampoo and kale. You’re meant to eat them, drink them and cover your body in them. They’re dead good for you, right?

According to TV ads, blog posts and magazine articles they do all kinds of wondrous things, but if I was asked what a mineral meant to skin care I’d be far more likely to grab a fistful of soil than explain with actual words. 

Now, you know me – I’m not a beauty blogger – but that hasn’t stopped PRs asking if I’d like to review their latest skin-care products. And the most recent is AHAVA*.

I’m not one to get carried away with hype (apart from, like, with everything) but this stuff had Dead Sea minerals in.

“The Dead Sea,” I thought. “That’s sounds all kinds of legit.”

And before I knew it I was clicking on the Youtube ad, where a man born to do voiceovers began telling me I needed to sort my life out and start putting this stuff on my face – or something along those lines anyway.

There were scientists with test tubes. And possibly a pie chart. Then a few shots of the glistening Dead Sea… And I swear I could actually see the minerals floating in it.

Anyway, I can’t recall exactly why, but I decided this might just be the product I’d been searching all my life for.

As my samples were making their way to me from Israel, I was able to recover from my mineral mind melt. In fact, I was a little bit annoyed. 

I had fallen for the promise of perfection because some guy had been paid to make moisturiser with added salt in it sound sexy. Oh, and I still didn’t know what minerals actually were.

The obvious thing to do was go to the top. I needed a professional. A skin care expert. And someone that wasn’t trying to sell me anything. That’s where Dr Anjali Mahto, a consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, came in handy.

Would you believe me if I told you I have her on speed dial for skin-related emergencies? If you do, you’d be wrong.

So exactly what minerals are essential for healthy skin?

“Selenium, copper, zinc,” Dr Mahto told me. 

See that? Forget the super-duper, anti-aging, you-should-probably-inhale-that-Dead-Sea-shiz marketing fluff that I’d already fallen for. Even including ‘and’ into a sentence was TMI for this skin care expert.

And there was more:

“Avoid fragrances, methylisothiazolinone, essential oils, SLS/SLES and anti-aging products containing retinoids if you have sensitive skin.

“And as a general rule with products, less is more – look for products that have a relatively short ingredient list.”

Armed with my new found mineral knowledge and a quick Google search on SLS/SLES (we’re talking sodium laureth sulphate and sodium lauryl ether sulphate - who knew I’d be pretending to do science in my spare time?) I felt I was finally ready to conduct a beauty review.

This is how all beauty bloggers do it, right? Think science not selfies. 

Although the AHAVA products smell insanely good and the ingredient list is pleasingly puny, Dr Mahto’s ‘less is more’ advice has always rang true for my skin and on this occasion these serums won’t be added to my repurchase list.

But now I’m addicted to the science, man. Knowledge is power and all that. Forget the blogging – I have a totally reasonable research trip suggestion. 

Who fancies booking into a fancy-pants Dead Sea spa to see what all the fuss is really about? Time to go straight to the mineral source…


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