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The official kick off of summer is something less than 10 days away and if you can’t fathom applying anything liquid/creamy to your face in the heat, but still want a little (or a lot of) perfecting coverage, mineral foundations are the way to go. Not all formulas are created equal though, and my mineral foundation journey started like many of you – after watching what seemed like hours of a certain infomercial back in 2007, I ordered my first mineral foundation kit. Since then, I’ve tried at least a dozen different formulas from the drugstore to indie brands and now have three top favorites for different skin types that I believe rise above the rest for my ‘ultimate guide to mineral foundations.‘ It’s also equally important to address application methods and tools to get the best finish in the least amount of time (with the least amount of irritation). Let’s get to it!
As you may have guessed, I started my mineral foundation exploration with bareMinerals. I ordered the kit that came with the foundation, mineral veil, bronzer and a couple of brushes – a dense natural-hair kabuki and a fluffy natural-hair multi-purpose face brush. I felt that mineral foundation would be a great option for me back in 2007 because I was still in college, still very oily/acne-prone and mineral foundation would give me the coverage I needed without the cakey-feel. After a couple of years using bareMinerals, something just wasn’t right. I would look back at photos and my skin just didn’t look its best. It oftentimes appeared ruddy and the texture just wasn’t great. I also began a round of Accutane in 2008/2009, which totally dried the sh&t out of my skin, so using a powder wasn’t flattering.
I tried a few different mineral foundations that were advertised for more normal/dry skin. Some didn’t have great coverage, some broke me out, some just didn’t have great color selection. Then I tried Laura Mercier Mineral Powder and the obsession continued…
finish: medium to full coverage, demi-matte finish (not flat matte, not dewy/glowy).
best suited for: normal to oily skin
I like to call this mineral powder the “grown up version” of bareMinerals. Hey, if bareMinerals works for you, more power to you. But if you like the feel of mineral powder but aren’t wowed by your bareMinerals anymore, let’s talk about Laura’s.
First of all, the container is much larger than bareMinerals ($28.50). So yea, you’re paying a bit more for Laura Mercier ($40), but you’re getting .34 oz versus bareMinerals .28 oz. More importantly though, the finish! Laura Mercier’s Mineral Powder has an incredible finish – it gives full coverage without that powdery/dry look I was getting with bareMinerals. It almost has a creamy texture that I personally feel lets me use less product. It also wears well over liquid foundations for extra coverage/staying power if you have a special event. Laura Mercier’s Mineral Powder knocked my socks off and is still my #1 mineral powder that I always have in my collection (I’m on tub #4). I wear shade Rich Vanilla.
finish: light to full coverage, natural/radiant finish (leans more glowy)
best suited for: normal to dry skin
After literally years of loving Laura Mercier’s and going through tub after tub, I wanted to find a pressed mineral foundation that would be easier to travel with. I started seeing a new dermatologist when I moved to Houston in 2014 and the office sold Jane Iredale cosmetics. Known to be extremely gentle on the most delicate skin, Jane Iredale makes a Pure Pressed Base in refillable compacts (she also does a loose powder, but I’ve never tried it). I picked up shade Riviera for the summer and it was a little darker than Laura Mercier’s Rich Vanilla. After finishing my first compact, I replenished it with a slightly lighter, more yellow-toned shade (and what I currently use) – Golden Glow. This is another amazing coverage mineral foundation with a creamy texture but definitely better suited for those with more dry skin.
finish: light to medium coverage, buildable; natural finish
best suited for: normal/combination skin
Because I have no self-control and am always looking for the next-best-thing, I wanted to find another pressed mineral foundation to use in the summertime and/or to set my liquid foundations. Since Jane’s is a bit too moisturizing for my oilier skin, I wanted to find something better suited for my needs. After reading hundreds of positive reviews for glominerals pressed based powder foundation – no literally, Google this brand – I happened to be wandering around my doctor’s office building a few weeks ago waiting for my appointment and saw that the dermatologist that shares the building had glominerals in the display window! A SIGN. It’s sort of hard to find a color match for glo anywhere online, so this was my chance. I got matched to Honey Medium, which works fine now, but I’ll definitely need a shade lighter for the fall/winter. This mineral foundation doesn’t have SPF, so if that’s a no-no for you, take note. It doesn’t keep me as matte as Laura Mercier, but is absolutely nowhere near as hydrating as Jane. Glo stays right in the happy medium and is the most buildable. Great as a light dusting to smooth the skin yet buildable to cover breakouts/discoloration. I’ll definitely be purchasing a second once I finish my current pan.
I don’t know about you, but I really hated the bareMinerals natural hair brushes. The bristles were always so rough and scratchy (their new synthetic brushes are nice, though). My biggest tip regarding application is to lighten up on the buffing. I always would smash the brush against my face expecting MOARRRR coverage to appear and it just doesn’t work that way. Get the powder on the tips of the brush and gently buff into the skin and you’ll get way more coverage in a more natural way.
Here’s my go-to brushes for my mineral foundation application that don’t itch or irritate my skin, while giving a beautifully natural finish:
For full coverage, quick application on the go:
EcoTools Bamboo Bronzer Brush, $5.99 (Amazon) – the trick is not to buff too hard into the skin. Pick up the powder and lightly swirl over the skin and you’ll see how quickly you’ll get full coverage. This is my favorite tool for applying my mineral foundations.
For light to medium coverage, airbrushed finish:
Sephora Pro Powder #55, $34 – super soft, this brush requires a little more finesse in taking the time to buff into the skin, but gives an airbrushed finish. This is my favorite brush when using mineral powder over liquid foundations.
For light to medium coverage, budget option:
Real Techniques Blush Brush, $7.19-8.99 (Ulta, Target, Walmart) – this brush is a true multitasker. I’ve used this for everything from mineral foundation to blush and bronzer. But it’s great for minerals because it’s not to dense, not too fluffy and also very soft. Not suited for a full coverage look, unless you have a lot of time to build it up… buff, buff, buff.
I hope this helps you find happiness with mineral foundation again and/or gives you some new summer foundation ideas to try. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these and like them, as well. Please share this post if you found it helpful!
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