Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Product Review: L'Oreal Bare Naturale Powder Foundation

I have never gotten so many compliments on my makeup as I did the three days I wore L'Oreal's Bare Naturale Powder. This was on a week when my skin was simultaneously breaking out with acne AND dry patches and I couldn't get rid of redness and tons of tiny, itchy bumps around my cheeks, nose and eyes. But no one was the wiser, because my face looked even-toned and glowing.


Mineral makeup isn't new, but it's certainly been all the rage in the last year, as lines such as Bare Escentuals have catapulted from cult status into incredible popularity (spend a little time around a Bare Escentuals display in Sephora and you'll know exactly what I mean). I've heard the claims and the raves of friends and family and noticed how their skin looked more beautiful than I'd ever seen it. What's there not to love about a product that has an SPF of 20, is long-lasting, free of skin irritants and claims to be "so natural you can sleep in it?"

I was dying to try Jane Iredale or Bare Escentuals (the most popular mineral makeup brand), but I knew that I couldn't afford the pricey products and brushes, and decided to check out a less-expensive alternative. After reading up about the many mineral makeup products on the market at MakeupAlley, I decided to try L'Oreal's Bare Naturale powder foundation, which had very high reviews (many women reported liking it more than Bare Escentuals) and retails for about $15 at CVS.

The first time I applied it I used the little brush that came with it, and found that it was just too small to get good even coverage. It wasn't awful, but I was a bit streaky. I'm not going to lie, I completely suck at applying makeup, but after re-reading the directions 3 times (the key is tapping all excess powder off the brush and only applying a little at a time) and using my regular powder brush, I got the hang of it, and was pleased to see that my skin looked pretty nice. After about 15 minutes when it mixed with the oil in my skin and my moisturizer, it looked just about perfect.

I should mention that I used a little concealer underneath to hide a few red spots, but this probably wouldn't be necessary for everyone, since the coverage is medium.

Through this whole time, family and friends fawning over my gorgeous skin. "It's like... perfect, but it doesn't look fake... wow" (my boyfriend) and "I'm stealing whatever foundation you're using. I just thought I'd let you know beforehand" (my considerate little sister). The first night when I washed it off, I noticed a little more irritation than usual, but ignored it. The second day the red patches, scattered bumps and dry spots baffled me, but I was in denial that the Bare Naturale, source of so much self-confidence, could be the culprit. Third day: "Daammnnnn." My skin looked really bad and I knew it was the powder.

I showed my mom all the red, itchy bumps on my face and neck. "Yeah, that's pretty bad... but Meg, your skin has never looked better. Maybe your skin will grow accustomed to it if you keep wearing it for a while." She looked hopeful. I was too, until I realized the stupidity of beating my skin into submission.

I'm not sure whether I'd be allergic to all brands of mineral makeup, but I can tell you that I'm not anxious to try this experiment again with another brand. If you aren't super sensitive, I'd definitely recommend the Bare Naturale (my mom took my jar and loves it). For me, it's back to Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturizer (sigh).

If you've tried mineral makeup before, let me know what products you used and whether it irritated your skin, I'm curious whether I'm the only one who's had this problem.

29 comments:

maggie said...

A lot of commercial mineral brands contain bismuth oxychloride, which a lot of people find irritating. Maybe that's the problem?

I really like the foundation from Alima - huge color selection, great feel, no bismuth.

https://secure.alimacosmetics.com/roi/661/Mineral-Cosmetics-Face/Satin-Matte-Foundation/

Emma said...

I came across mineral foundations a few months ago and am addicted (so much so that when I now apply liquid foundation, I find it waaay too artificial looking).

I use Everyday Minerals - if you go to their website, you can order a trial package for the price of postage and packing. I got a mini blusher, two different mini foundations (one matte, one satin) and a concealer for £5 p&p to the UK. I have bats___t crazy skin and I've never had any problems with them.

Meg said...

Maggie and Emma- Thanks so much for your suggestions! Alima and Everyday Minerals both have fantastic color selections, and I love that they have sample sizes. I'm going to order both and try them, I'll let you guys know what I think! Oh, and Emma, I'm glad I'm not the only one with batshit crazy skin, lol.

Jocelyn said...

Hi Meg, another online mineral makeup company that doesn't use bismuth is Meow Cosmetics. http://www.meowcosmetics.com/
I haven't ordered from them myself, but they have a huge color selection and are very responsive on their forum if you need help selecting foundation colors.

Personally, I use Lumiere cosmetics because they are excellently priced and work fine for me. http://www.lumierecosmetics.com/ The sampler kit (under the specials section) is only $3, including shipping. And the owner is a total sweetie. :)

Meg said...

Jocelyn- Thanks for the suggestions! I hadn't heard of Lumiere or Meow cosmetics, but I was really impressed with both of their websites and the products they offer! I may have to do a big test with all the mineral makeup companies, compare them and report on which ones work best.

pauline said...

definitely everyday minerals.

i used Bare Escentuals before, and i really hated the texture and reaction i got from it.

I switched to everyday minerals, and I love them. They have different textures, too. and they also have a newer texture that's supposed to be the BEST for your skin. I use it and it really does give me the best coverage.

http://everydayminerals.com/

Jocelyn said...

Yep, testing stuff from multiple companies is probably your best bet. Not only is formulation important, but some places might have better color matches than others. Good luck finding your perfect foundation! I'll be on the lookout for your report. :)

Laura said...

I'm in my late 30's still with acne-prone skin, and I think it boils down to cleaning the brush frequently. I loved using the powder mineral makeup, but it was messy and I felt like I couldn't get the brush clean and still broke out. My breakouts decreased a ton when I started using a vegan liquid foundation (Be Never 2 Busy 2 Be Beautiful), that is in a squirt bottle and I apply with a brush. I clean the brush after each use. I don't think its the makeup keeping me from breaking out as much my not contaminating the bottle when applying the foundation and washing the brush.

Meg said...

Laura- That's a great point. I get lazy about cleaning my brushes and sponges, but when I do I definitely notice a difference in breakouts.

sparkler said...

Everyday Minerals is a less expensive mineral makeup brand that also has less ingredients than BE (I use it because BE contains an irritant and my skin is really sensitive).

You can also get a sample kit for only the cost of $3 shipping, which includes 3 foundations, a concealer, and a blush.

sparkler said...

Aaaaaaand, I should learn to read other people's comments before adding my own. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm using Bare Escentuals, along with 5 other friends that bought it when they saw my make up done, for almost an year now. It feels light, goes of easily with make up remover, don't stain my clothes and leave my skin really beautiful. I can speak for all of us and none had any kind of bad reaction, just the usually wows!

The Glitterati said...

I second Jocelyn's recommendation of Lumiere -- it's been very gentle on my skin, the colours are great and look natural, and it is SO reasonably priced. (I really need to finish writing my review of the line, I love it!)

I too have had the itchy-scratchy experience with mineral make up before. It was just a crappy brand, I think. But it might help to make sure (if you haven't already done so) your brushes are really clean and soft.

But anyway, with all these great recommendations, you're sure to find something you like! Keep us posted!

The Glitterati said...

Haha, Sparkler, you and me both! Sorry for the repeat comment on clean brushes... it's been a long day... :D

Meg said...

Hey Glitterati- Great recommendations (and no need to apologize, we've all had those days!).

I was so inspired by everyone's comments that I've ordered sample sizes of all the brands you recommended (except for Bare Escentuals, which I'll have to try at Sephora, cause they don't do samples). So be sure to check back in a few weeks and I'll do a series comparing the various brands and products. I already bought a tube of Cortisone cream just in case I get another reaction, lol.

EthidiumBromide said...

Hmm, I had been thinking of trying Philosophy's Supernatural Airbrushed Canvas (yet another mineral pigment powder) but after reading your review, decided to try the L'Oreal Bare Natural. I must say -- I wasn't impressed. Maybe I'm not applying it right, but I really didn't look any different than I do when I'm not wearing anything.
While it's not actually foundation (truthfully I'm not a big foundation fan and can't stand the liquid variety), I've had the best luck with the L'Oreal True Match powder. Even though it's just a powder compact, it blends in perfectly and hides all my facial flaws -- and at less than $8, it's a total steal.

Meg said...

EthidiumBromide- I'm shocked that you couldn't tell the difference from the Bare Naturale, it was very easy for me to put too much on. I'm really sorry it didn't work for you and I hope you were able to return it for a refund. I've heard a LOT of good things about L'Oreal's True Match line. Like you, I'm not a fan of liquid foundation (or really putting any liquid on my face), so I'll have to check that out.

Anonymous said...

I bought the BE starter kit at Sephora yesterday, in the hopes of wearing it at my wedding on Saturday. When I tried it, my face got all hot and red and tingly, and now it looks like someone threw a bucket of chemicals on my face. Needless to say, I'm taking it back. I just hope I look more normal by the end of the week!

Meg said...

Anonymous- Ahhh! What a disaster, an allergic reaction right before your wedding! You know, I've heard that a lot of people react to whatever's in Bare Escentuals, and I'm scared to try it myself. Luckily Sephora has a very generous return policy, but I hope your dermatologist or facialist can get you back to beautiful by Saturday!

amanda said...

I have used the Bare Escentuals, and the Everyday Minerals probably for about 2 years.I always had to use some sort of liquid conceler under,because it never covered like it said.So recently i ran out of my mineral makeup and was tired of paying the high price for "flawless coverage",plus there was no local stores that sold it so i always had to order it online,so instead i drove my self to the local wal-mart where i found the Bare Naturale foundation by loreal, and come to find it works 100x better and is half the price a whomping $12.95. i can use this alone with no other concelers,and my skin looks way better than it ever has.A+ for me.

Meg said...

Amanda- I'm so glad you loved it!! I'm a big believer that there's an equally good drugstore version of most prestige cosmetics products, so it's always worth a trip to the drugstore to check out the alternatives.

Amanda said...

I've been using the L'Oreal Bare Naturale Foundation for a couple of weeks now. Like you, I've gotten a ton of compliments on my makeup. However, my skin is becoming extremely dry and flaky. Has anyone else experienced this?

Anonymous said...

I have used the Loreal BE also. Only a couple of times though, no irritation yet. Agree the brush that comes with it goes on streaky. Also for me its a hassle to try and use close to the eyes, so I put concealer around my eyes and use the BE elsewhere.
Linda

la sirena said...

Hi, on the topic of mineral makeup, where should one buy quality brushes that won't break the bank!? I am in need of a kabuki [retractable, long-handled] and a secondary brush to cover up imperfections in the eye area and blemishes.

I have my eye on the "tools" offered by Lumiere... and I guess I could try ebay, but I don't really want to because I don't want to bother with paypal.

Anonymous said...

I'm have an itchy rash all over my lips and bumps on my cheeks. I was thinking I am allergic to my moisturizer, etc. But today I did a search on BE and see so many people have an allergic reaction also. I think it is the BE. I hate to admit that because the product is so nice and expensive.

Katharine said...

Ijust began using Bare Naturale a few weeks ago and I have run into several problems... I am breaking out more than usual, my skin texture doesn't look healthy, and now I am having what I believe to be an allergy that is making my eyes puffy and a little uncomfortable. Prior to buying the Bare Naturale, I had used Bare Escentuals without any of these effects, without any reaction whatsoever and my skin texture when it was clean was great. The only reason that I bought Loreal's version is because I couldn't find Bare Escentuals in Montreal, CA! If anyone knows where I can find it here, please let me know. In the meantime, I have to go out and find a new foundation....

Anonymous said...

I also got an allergic reation. What did you use to stop the red itchy bumps?Mine are getting worse and I stopped using it 2 days ago?? Help!!!!!! Its getting worse....
Christy

Anonymous said...

Please Email me the way you got rid of the red bumps and itching at Christygalich@yahoo.com

Kristi said...

I also tried Bare Naturale before and I started getting hives on my face and then my face turned red and was very irritated. I used cortisone cream to calm my face down, but it took a few days to get back to normal. I have very dry skin right now due to the cold weather and thought maybe this also made my face irritated. I have recently tried using it again and my face is really dry and feels very tight like I shouldn't move it. Sometimes it looks ok, but other times it looks red and irritated. I love this makeup, but don't think I will be able to continue to wear it. :o(