A Good Foundation

Let’s face it–a lot of us have a love-hate relationship with foundation.

On the one hand it’s goopy, messy, stains our fingertips, towels and clothes and can leave streaks if we’re not very careful. On the other hand it tends to provide amazing coverage and can hide a multitude of surface flaws.

I’ve tried all sorts of formulas–expensive to cheap–and all sorts of applicators: fingertips, sponges, even paintbrushes (which worked better than I thought it would). It’s sort of a necessary evil.

Like a friend’s mom once said: You paint the barn when it needs it, right?

So when my own mother, she of the no makeup and great skin at 50, revealed that she thought rather highly of the Bare Escentuals mineral foundation I figured it was worth a shot. Short answer: I’m completely sold on the benefits of mineral make-up

  • very little mess
  • easy application
  • generally better for your skin

And over the years I’ve tried three different brands: Bare Escentuals, Cover Girl and Mary Kay (the latter 2, of course, I’ve also used their liquid options).

Bare Escentuals was my first experience and can I just say that I love, love, love their brushes. The kabuki brush is so perfect to hold in your hand and–for lack of a better word–scrub in the powder. (No, it doesn’t take that much pressure, but it’s the best description I’ve got!). The foundation itself is light and airy but gives great coverage with only one pass, even though I tend to have very uneven skin tone. I also adore their mineral veil. (Granted, I’m a “fairly light”, so the mineral veil could almost be my foundation color!)

CoverGirl True Blends has the distinct benefit of being available in drugstores, etc. so is really good in a pinch, but it’s not my favorite. I needed far more of it than either of the other two brands I’ve tried and when the idea is maximum coverage in the minimum time (a major plus for the mineral foundations) that’s a serious detriment.

And, can I just say, they lose major points for packaging–good idea, faulty execution. The self-contained brush was nice but it’s nearly impossible to get it back into the little tube top without crimping some of the bristles. Furthermore, the lid of the dispenser end being so narrow made it difficult to get the brush into it to get the shaken-out powder. I ended up shaking it into a spare lid from a large dish and it worked better that way. Still, they do have a finishing veil, and it’s an acceptable substitute for mineral veil and that earns them back a few points in my book. Plus, they are the least expensive of the three I’ve tried.

Finally, a friend of mine started selling Mary Kay last Fall. I’d used a variety of their products about 10 years ago and it wasn’t that I didn’t like it, I just wasn’t fond of paying that much for make-up. Since then I’d become a Sephora devotee, so the price point wasn’t as big a deal. And Mary Kay had recently come out with their mineral line so, hey, why not?

Downside? They don’t have a loose veil-type powder but they do have a handy pressed mineral compact that is perfect for mid-day touch ups. I’m also preferential to my kabuki brush over theirs, though the Mary Kay brush is perfect for all-over color like bronzers or even just a hint of blush.

Upside? Excellent quality of the mineral foundation. It feels lighter than Bare Escentuals but without a noticeable drop in coverage. The price is right there with Bare Escentuals. Plus I get to help my friend make some money doing what she loves and that makes me feel good.

Beyond the Basics

You know I love the Bare Escentuals brushes and their concealer brush (which merely concentrates the foundation for additional coverage) is no exception. I have a bounty of their eye shadows and still use them almost daily but what I love most outside of their foundation is the Buxom Lips Lip Gloss. Holy bee-stung, Batman! It smells amazing, looks even better, and makes your lips tingle for ages. No funny taste and it’s slick but not sticky. Love it!

Mary Kay, on the other hand, excellent skin care line as always. I use their TimeWise products daily and they really do help with my difficult, combination, hormone-screwy skin. Also, color me amazed at the pigment in their tinted lip balm! Most of the time you’re lucky to get any kind of color at all from a balm but these are super-pigmented by comparison–I usually use it in the mornings when the full force of the sparkly Nourishine Lip Gloss that I also adore.

2 thoughts on “A Good Foundation

  1. Blond Duck says:

    I’m so glad you reviewed this. How is it for oily, acne prone skin? I have a hard time wearing foundation and powder because it makes me break out so badly….

    1. Scraps says:

      [replied via email, but it’s a good question to answer here, as well]

      In a word: Fabulous!

      I’ve had WAY fewer breakouts in the last couple of years since I switched to mineral foundation and the ones I do get are tiny and go away pronto!

      I used Bare Escentuals first, and it held up to my oil-slick of a face surprisingly well. Now, with the Mary Kay I’m using the TimeWise cleanser & moisturizer for oily/combo skin and it actually works with the foundation in the same way, say, Epson printers work better with Epson Ink and Epson paper than with other brands. Even on days I’m not wearing makeup (i.e. weekends at home) I notice less oil production overall–it’s nothing like the old stuff they had, if you ever tried it then.

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