Review: BareMinerals Matte SPF 15 Foundation

By Voxy  

Part of the ongoing Foxalicious Fundamentals: Foundation series!

By now, of course, BareMinerals is the grandmama of mineral foundations.

“Back in my day, we didn’t have mineral foundations. If we wanted to have minerals on our faces, we’d go roll around in the dirt!”

“Back in my day, we didn’t have these hoity-toity kabuki brushes. If you couldn’t put it on with a trowel, we didn’t want it!”

“Back in my day, we didn’t have swirl, tap, and buff. Stop, drop, and roll was good enough for us!”

Since then, other mineral makeup companies have come on the scene, each with their own twist on the idea (talc-free, bismuth-free, organic, fair-trade, genetically enhanced, and what-have-you). But unless you have sensitivities to certain minerals, BareMinerals is still an excellent choice for a mineral powder foundation. This is particularly true for their most recent offering, a matte SPF 15 powder foundation.

The original, more “dewy” BareMinerals foundation is still available, but I always found it to be a touch too oily for me. I know it seems weird that a powder can produce an oily effect, but nevertheless. Because the foundation left skin with a slight shine or “glow,” BareMinerals also developed and offered Mineral Veil, a mostly translucent matte setting powder that would reduce the shine left from the foundation and leave a soft-focus finish.

Now that there’s a new matte SPF 15 version out, I thought I would pick some up to try as a summer foundation. I’m pleased to report that although shade selection can be surprisingly difficult — given how many shades there are, you’d think that everyone would fit neatly into one category or another, but no such luck — the texture and wearlength of the product are quite good and I think this will work very well a a summer powder foundation.

For my NW20 skin, I had a hard time finding the right color match, since most of the shades lean a bit more yellow than I can comfortably wear. So (as often happens) I ended up buying two shades and mixing them together: “Fair” and “Medium.” I chose these shades after some pretty extensive swatching at the store; I’m pretty sure that by the time I left, both of my arms were totally covered with slightly mottled shades of pink, yellow, and beige.

The powder is milled much more finely than my favorite drugstore mineral makeup brand (L’Oreal Bare Naturale), so it both feels smoother on the face and is easier to apply to moisturized skin without globs of powder sticking to where the brush first hits your skin and then being impossible to remove afterwards. I always wear it over a well-moisturized face, and I don’t find it drying, which I was worried about. It lasts well and removes easily at the end of the day.

I also have to note a major improvement in their packaging: the jar’s traditional sifter top now features a rotating window, which you can turn when not in use so that the product doesn’t sift itself out of the sifter top and then get all over your hands when you unwittingly open it up the next time. Little protrusions in the underside of the rotating top also line up with the sifter holes to prevent leakage of product between the two layers of plastic. This is a great improvement!

All told, this gets a thumbs-up from me if you like mineral powder foundations but didn’t like the dewiness of the original formulation. Some people are allergic to certain minerals, though — bismuth is a prime culprit — so you may want to see if you can get a sample via Sephora or (as one of our regulars recently reminded me) pick up a few samples from eBay to test for both color and skin sensitivity.


BareMinerals Matte SPF 15 Foundation: $28

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Good. If you have to buy two and mix them, I’d wait for a sale.

Purchase again? Probably.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

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  1. avatar kate
    Posted July 19, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Shoot forgot to thank you for the wonderful review just in time with my “decision making time” :P


  2. avatar kate
    Posted July 19, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Never used anything mineral ;P but there is lot of fuss going on about the mineral specially BM so thinking to give it a try.And to avoid acne too
    Pardon my ignorance-Can this Bare Minerals foundation be used as a setting powder over your liquid or creme foundation?Any one tried that?


    • avatar Voxy
      Posted July 20, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Kate!

      It could be used as a setting powder, I suppose, but it’s not as sheer as setting powders usually are. On the other hand, if you’ve accidentally applied too much blush and want to tone it down, this will work better than a translucent setting powder will. I would just be careful about not applying it too heavily or it will cake on top of a cream foundation. Maybe for this particular use a fan brush would be best?


  3. avatar marigolds
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Bare Minerals makes my face itch like crazy (must be the bismuth)–which is a shame, because the color match of one of the shades for me is perfect. Everyday Minerals works well for me–if anybody else has this trouble with BM (tee hee!) you might try EM instead.


  4. avatar a biologist
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for the review! I’m currently using Mary Kay mineral foundation (a gift) but it is slightly too yellow. I was thinking of getting Bare Minerals and mixing it in.

    Would there be a reason I couldn’t mix the two brands? Is there something I should watch for other than sensitivity to the formula? I always test new products on my arm to avoid breakouts.


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