Review: Bare Minerals Foundation (Original Formula)

I was first introduced to the Bare Minerals line when the CEO and Founder Leslie Blodgett came to my graduate school to speak at our Dynamic Women in Business conference. As part of the goody bag, we all got a full size Rare Minerals Moisturizer and Buxom Lash Mascara, and if you went for a "makeunder" in one of the conference rooms, you also got a sample of their immensely popular foundation, plus a mini kabuki brush. At the time, I wasn't using a foundation at all, so I fell in love with Bare Minerals because it felt light and airy, and was a really good color match for my skin tone. Needless to say, after I finished up my sample, I quickly visited the Bare Escentuals store in my local mall to pick up a full-size foundation.

It's been over a year and a half since I bought that full-size foundation and I still have a lot of it left, likely because my opinion of the product has changed a bit since I've started experimenting with other brands of foundations.

First, let me start with what I DO like about the product. Obviously, it's cheaper than many high-end foundations at $25 for the large size, and the color range is pretty wide with 20 cool, warm and neutral shades to choose from (I am Fairly Light, which is their light/neutral shade). I also definitely think that this product can achieve multiple levels of coverage, depending on what you are looking for. If you use just a tiny dusting of the powder, you can get very sheer coverage that simply evens out skintone, whereas if you swirl your brush in a larger amount, you can get a nearly full-coverage face (I say nearly full coverage because I always still need concealer to cover my red pimples/blemishes). Finally, I like the fact that it has SPF 15, but doesn't have the greasy feel or smell of sunscreen, which some liquid foundations can have.

Now, here's what confuses me about the product: apparently the "original" formula, which is what I have, is supposed to be the "luminous" formula. Ummm...sorry Leslie, but there is absolutely nothing luminous about this powder foundation -- it creates a 100%, completely matte look no matter how little you use. As a matter of fact, that's one of my DISLIKES about the product. As a normal-to-dry-skin type, I sometimes find this foundation to be too cakey for my complexion, and would recommend the "original" formula more for oily skin types. It has absolutely no shimmer, glitter or sheen to it -- it's just a matte foundation/powder. This all makes me wonder what happens when you use the "matte" formula that they just came out with! I honestly can't imagine anything being MORE matte than what I already use.

A few more things that I dislike. As with any mineral product, things can get VERY messy, even if you're trying to be meticulous. Since you're dumping product into the lid of the packaging to swirl your brush in, I find it almost inevitable that I pour too much in and then have to maneuver the leftover product back into the pot so I don't waste it. I also inevitably get powder all over the counter as I'm swirling and tapping off the excess.

The final thing that I dislike is the company's claim that this powder feels like a silky-smooth cream. Uh, no, it doesn't. It feels totally like a powder. Granted, I don't MIND powders, so the fact itself doesn't bother me, but I just get really annoyed when companies make claims that are so obviously far from the truth!

Overall, I may or may not re-buy this product once I finish it. There ARE several things that I like about it, and I find it to be particularly good for those on-the-go days when you want to throw something on quickly and easily. However, I'd just be aware that despite what the marketing materials say, this is truly a POWDER and it does what any powder would: mattify.

To Recap:

- An affordable price point among higher-end foundations at $25 for a huge pot of product
- Color range is quite wide with 20 shades to choose from (cool, warm and neutral tones)
- The product allows you to achieve multiple levels of coverage, depending on your wants/needs
- If you have oily skin, this would be a great solution for you!

- Can be quite drying for any skin type other than oily
- It's messy!
- The company makes claims about the product that are NOT true (i.e. that it feels like a cream or that it provides a luminous finish)


  1. I just found this post because I'm searching for people who don't think the old bare minerals and the new original are the same. I just had to buy a new pot of bare minerals foundation and was faced with matte or original. I chose original because I loved the first, luminous foundation bare minerals had. I've been so frustrated with the horrible coverage of my new pot that I finally compared a swatch to the tiny bit I had left from my old pot and the difference was unbelievable. The new original foundation literally looked sheer. I couldn't see anything. I'm very bummed with the new original formula

  2. Agree. Totally different formula, with a considerably worse look and finish. I thought it was me or that my skin was changing. However, I went to a professional make-up artist yesterday, and she mentioned the change about this product out of the clear blue when we were talking about potential products for my skin. Conclusion: The consumer has been misled.

  3. Totally disagree. On my skin it feels creamy and I also think it leaves my skin pretty glowy which I absolutely love. And I think the coverage is great although I have dry combination skin and get a few blemishes from time to time it covers everything! I really think it depends on your skin type...



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