Mainstream foundations can carry a range of nasty ingredients, like parabens, petroleum by-products, fragrance, PEG’s, phthalates and even heavy metals. Yuck! Rather than ask you to give them up (I’m not that sadistic) I would invite you all to give mineral foundations a try. Mineral foundations are natures alternative to your standard toxic foundations. But how do you choose what sort of foundation is best for you? Especially when shopping online it feels like you’re entering a mine field of choice!
I consider myself quite the make-up expert. Given my long love affair with the stuff, beginning in my early teens when I discovered blue eye shadow (it was cool at the time) and mascara (I’ve got fair eyelashes). I was hooked when the hormones kicked in and I needed something to cover up my pimples. Many years later and the love continues.
Foundation is a staple for any make-up kit. It evens skin tone, creates a smooth base and corrects any imperfection. With a good foundation you can layer, blend and contour to create a variety of different looks. Gosh I love the stuff!
Generally there’s two types of mineral foundations on the market: liquid and powdered.
You’re probably most familiar with liquid foundations. They included most of the same ingredients as the powdered types but with the addition of oils and other binders to make it liquid.
Liquid foundations generally provide light to medium coverage, depending on how much you apply. For best results, dust over the liquid base with a powder. Depending on the powder you use, you can increase the coverage, set the liquid for maximum hold and make all those tiny pores disappear.
Powdered mineral foundation is a loose powder. You apply mineral foundation powder with a brush, using as little or as much as you need to even out your skin tone and ensure even coverage. It sounds a little tricky but it’s surprisingly easy to get used to.
What’s in mineral foundations?
Minerals are naturally occurring substances, generally mined from the earth’s crust. They are pulverised into fine micro-particles and added to preparations from foundations to nail polish. The main minerals used are titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, iron oxide, mica, gold and magnesium.
The major benefit of mineral make-up is that it generally does not clog the pores, allowing the skin to “breathe” naturally. As such, it is less likely to aggravate an acne condition or cause flare-ups. Ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide also have anti-inflammatory properties.
I noticed a massive difference in how my skin felt after making the switch. My skin after using standard foundation always felt a little hard, and looked a little irritated. Now my skin is always soft and still looks healthy when the make-up comes off.
Hard-working make-up that’s also good for your skin?! How can you say no?
Bonus: Most mineral foundations are vegan and do not conduct animal testing!
The best of mineral foundations (as tried and tested by me)
I rate by coverage, texture/ease of application, longevity and colour match.
Note: my skin type is fairly sensitive, light toned with freckles. I like a medium coverage to help blend the freckles and cover the odd pimple spot or scar.
Skin types: Great for all skin types, including dry.
Application: It has a beautiful, silky texture. It is a little thicker in texture than Nvey and dries quite quickly. I find it’s easy to blend though with either my fingers or a foundation brush.
Start with moisturised skin or primer to prepare your skin for an even application.
It doesn’t contain silicone (commonly used to help with application), so it can be a little hard to apply. I find though if you work quickly and use your fingers, you can get an even application fairly easily. Warm fingers especially will help the residual melt into your skin.
Coverage: It’s easy to vary coverage without looking cakey, one to two pumps for light and two to three for medium. I find it gives a heavier coverage than Nvey, which works a little better on correcting blemishes.
Longevity: Ere Perez foundation is fairly similar to Nvey. I find it a little better, but if you want a long-lasting cover, you’ll need to pair it with a mineral powder.
Colour match: Comes in a wide variety of skin tones to choose from.
Where to buy: Directly from Ere Perez website for $39.90
See for yourself: below is a before and after shot of me wearing Ere Perez Oat Milk Foundation in Light Medium.
* This one is my personal favourite. I love the amount of coverage, texture and finish.
Photos to the left, make-up free. Photos to the right are with Ere Perez Liquid Foundation in Light Medium. Bottom right is foundation with the works (i.e. Ere Perez concealer, La Mav mineral powder foundation, 100% Pure Lip2Cheek tint in Peach, Bare Minerals bronzer and Bare Minerals Lash Domination mascara).
Application: It finishes with a beautiful dewy look, so your skin won’t look dry. It can be a little difficult to blend, as it doesn’t contain silicone (that’s a plus!) but warm fingers or a foundation brush usually help do the trick.
Coverage: It provides a lightweight, sheer to medium coverage. It evens your complexion well and gives you a healthy glow.
It’s pretty average at covering pimples though, or giving a higher level of coverage. If you do want to amp up your coverage, try combining it with a mineral powder.
Longevity: It’ll last the day, but won’t take you into the night. You’ll need to set it with powder if you want to increase it’s longevity.
Colour match: There’s about 10 skin tones to choose from which is brilliant. Nvey matches shades to undertones so you can find the perfect one for you.
Nvey make gorgeous, easy to use foundations which feel and look great on. The downsides are coverage and longevity, which can be improved by dusting a mineral powder over the top.
Where to buy: Directly from NVEY website, for $49.95
See for yourself: below is a before and after shot of me wearing Nvey Moisture Rich Foundation in Custard.
Photos to the left, make-up free. Photos to the right are with Nvey Liquid Foundation in Custard. Bottom right is foundation with the works (i.e. Ere Perez concealer, Nvey pressed powder foundation, 100% Pure Lip2Cheek tint in Peach, Bare Minerals bronzer and Bare Minerals Lash Domination mascara).
My MAC-addicted sister was converted to the natural way with this foundation.
Skin types: Better for normal/oily skin. Not because it’s drying, but the powder can cling to dry spots.
Application: It’s easy to apply and build coverage to suit. It buffs on and leaves the skin feeling really silky. The Original blend, rather than their Matte foundation, gives the skin a beautiful (non shiny) glow. A lot of powder foundations make your skin appear too flat and well, powdery, but Bare Minerals looks gorgeous all day.
Coverage: Coverage depends on you. The more you apply the more coverage you’ll achieve. It works really well at covering spots and blemishes too.
Longevity: I love mineral powder foundations on days I’m going to be outside or in the sun all day. Bare Minerals stays put throughout a variety of outside activities.
Colour match: They are available in a wide variety of skin tones, plus they specify which shades have red or yellow undertones, so it’s really easy to find your right match online (unlike dating sites).
Where to buy: Available in most department stores and Mecca stores for around $35
- Use a translucent powder, like this Bare Minerals one, to ‘set’ your liquid foundation. This will give your foundation maximum staying power and also blur away pores and even help disguise wrinkles and bumps.
- Use a powdered mineral foundation, like the Bare Minerals above, to supercharge your liquid foundation from medium to full coverage without looking cakey or thick. Like the translucent powder, it will also help with the staying power of your liquid.
I’ve also heard great things about:
I haven’t tried either of these two but from the reviews I’ve read, customers seem pretty happy.
The ones I don’t rate:
Nude by Nature
Both of these are technically ok foundations. They cover and last pretty well. Although Nude by Nature can look a little dry. The thing I dislike most about both of these is their colour range! Both brands only have very limited skin shades.
The problem with such a limited range is that light is far too white and medium is far too red-toned. For those with yellow undertones (like me) no colour properly suits. I’ve even tried blending the two colours with no luck. Hopefully as these brands grow they’ll develop better colour ranges. If so, I would be open to trying them again.
Have you tried any of these? Or have a recommendation for me I’ve missed? Share your thoughts and tips below.