If you are working with finely powdered ingredients in a way where they will become airborne, a good dust mask is a must to prevent you from inhaling those powders.
The three biggest places a dust mask becomes necessary are:
- If you are blending powders together in a coffee grinder or some other high-speed blender (typically making colour cosmetics or powdered face masks). While the ingredients may not be particularly inclined to be airborne on their own, whipping them up in a coffee grinder can really send them flying when you remove the lid.
- If you are working with solid surfactants. They are very lightweight and floaty, and will drift into the air and into your airways as soon as you open the bag or tub they are store in.
- If you are working with other ultra-light, ultra-fine powdered ingredients. Much like solid surfactants, silica microspheres, nylon 12, and Silica Dimethyl Silylate (SDS) are incredibly lightweight and will float around the room as soon as you open the bag or jar. Make sure you pay attention to any information from your supplier regarding the use of a dust mask, and if you notice powder poof-ing up and floating around when you open a container, go put on your dust mask.
I recommend choosing a dust mask that is comfortable and seals well. You’re a lot more likely to wear it if it’s comfortable, and what’s the point if it doesn’t seal well? I have the Ellipse Low Profile Dust Respirator (USA / Canada), and it’s fantastic. I don’t recommend a disposable mask.
If we need to wear a dust mask while working with these ingredients, why don’t we wear one while we use the finished product?
Because the finished product contains some sort of liquid ingredient that weighs the powders down. Powdered makeup and face masks will contain a small amount of liquid oil, shampoo bars will contain oils and liquid surfactants, etc.