FAQs: What is Bismuth Oxychloride?

ATTENTION ACNE SUFFERERS….this one is for you!


There are many reasons to make the switch to non-toxic products, but for some people it is acne that motivates the switch. While we know that acne can be caused by a myriad of factors (hormones, environment, and so on), we’re big believers that non-toxic products made with natural and organic ingredients do make a difference in clearing your skin. However, it should be known that not all natural ingredients are good for your skin. 

One big time offender is Bismuth Oxychloride. By definition Bismuth is a natural mineral, but did you know that it is a byproduct of lead and copper processing? It is also labeled as a “skin irritant” on its Material Safety Data Sheet (look at all those jagged edges in the close up image above). To top it off, its primary use is in the manufacturing of fishing anchors and shot gun pellets. We can’t imagine that the same ingredient could ever be soothing, calm, or even beneficial for skin.

So why do companies use it?

Bismuth Oxychloride is commonly used by makeup companies because it adds an attractive pearlescent shimmer, adheres well to the skin, and has a good “slip,” which means that it has a silky feel. Many resources, including the FDA, deem it safe to use because Bismuth is labeled as non-toxic on the periodic table. It is also affordable, which keeps prices low.

At the inception of Sally B’s, we made the decision not to use Bismuth in any of our products and we’re very glad we did. Even though little research has been done on the stuff (which is probably why organizations have been weary to deem it unsafe), what we have learned through feedback from aestheticians, customers, and even our own personal experience, is that it can be a truly irritating ingredient. Not only that, it clogs pores, which can be a cause of acne. Our Luxury Mineral Foundation and Get Even Finishing Powder, on the other hand, has become a favorite for even those with the most sensitive of skin.

Whether you are on step 1 or step 10 of your non-toxic quest, searching out and avoiding Bismuth Oxychloride is a move in the right direction. For those who have been using a product with Bismuth, we urge you to try makeup without it (our Luxury Mineral Foundation is awesome, hint, hint) to see just how much better your skin will look and feel. You might just see your acne, irritation, or even Rosacea fade away.


MAKEUP TIP: If you're switching from one makeup to another, especially from one that has Bismuth and one that does not, make sure to get a new makeup brush or thoroughly clean the one you have been using. Using a non-toxic shampoo or simple soap with warm water will do the trick!

1 comment

  • gouvkxkvdi

    Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

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