Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mineral Makeup Comparison: Alima Satin Matte Foundation

You know you're dealing with bad foundation when you find yourself frantically applying layer after layer because you can't seem to get any coverage. Finally you look closely enough to realize that you look like you've dipped your face into a thick layer of flesh colored chalk, but that your blemishes, circles and imperfections are still totally visible.

This is what happened to me when I gave Alima's Satin Matte Foundation a try. It looked like the makeup particles were so offended to be sitting on my skin that they refused to blend, preferring to sit in thick layer on the top of my skin in protest. Was my skin too oily in places? Too dry in others? What did I do to deserve this?

In my experience, many powder foundations need a little time to mix with your natural oils and blend naturally with your skin tone and texture, so I gave myself some time for this to (hopefully) kick in. A few hours later, it looked like I hadn't applied any foundation at all, and my skin was shinier than usual. I'm not sure where it all went, but it certainly kicked my oil glands into overdrive.

My problems with Alima began even before I'd even applied any product to my face. With my cool toned pale skin, I ordered samples in the three lightest cool shades. I normally wear the lightest or second lightest shade in foundations, so I was sure that one of the three would match my coloring, but they were much paler than I'd expected, and none of them looked right. The lightest shades, Lily and Gardenia, are truly Casper pale, and combined with the chalkiness, I looked sickly.

Of course, I can only speak for myself when it comes to colors, so they could very well match other skin tones, but I'd recommend trying more than 3 shades before you buy. Samples cost $1.50 for 1/4 teaspoon of product.

I don't want to totally hate on Alima, as my experience with them wasn't completely negative. First, their customer service is very friendly, prompt and helpful, always a plus when you're dealing with an online-only company. Second, their foundation doesn't contain bismuth oxychloride, talc or fragrances, all of which are known to irritate sensitive skin, and I was happy not to have an allergic reaction from the product. Finally, the prices are reasonable ($18.50 for 10 grams of product), comparable to drugstore mineral makeup brands.

Of course, when it comes down to it, who wants to spend any money on a product that sucks? I know that some readers have had good experiences with the line (I can't speak to products other than the foundation), and I'm curious to hear what you liked about it, and why it's worked well for you. And if you totally hate it... well, I can sympathize.


tebro said...

I have to say Alima has been the best out of all the mmu that I've tried (PL and EM). I have very small pores but an uneven skintone, and a light dusting of Alima will even it out. I'm also really, really yellow and pale, and the line's G-1/G-2 are THE most perfect shades for me. Plus, I'm oily, and I think Alima's best for oily complexions.

I'm the Wellesley girl who messaged you yesterday--my profile picture (the two idiots in their boxes) was taken with Alima.

Have you tried a different application method? I use a large powder brush instead of the typical Kabuki. Leave only little on the brush, and brush like ordinary powder. Buff when necessary. I also set with thermal water when I think of it (rarely).

Anonymous said...

and I felt so guilty for hating Alima! Really though, even the feeling of it on my skin was awful. And my skin did break out for the first time in ages. Bah. Back to chemicals for me.

The Glitterati said...

Aw, sorry this one didn't work out Meg. MMU is such a funny thing... I haven't tried Alima (or, well, most of the brands, really), but I did try one other brand that I HATED. It was itchy and chalky and gross. Thing is, it couldn't have been THAT bad, as there were lots of good reviews from other people about it. Just wasn't right for me, I guess. Ah well, I've found one that works for now, and you never know 'til you try!

Terresa said...

I just had to write and say that I'm sorry your first experience with Alima wasn't the best. I think you're right that the foundation samples were too light for you. One of the great things about Alima is that we offer over 40 foundation shades, instead of the 9 or 12 shades that most brands make, but as a result, our light shades are very light. You're welcome to email me at the "Ask the Makeup Artist" link on and I can help you choose the right shade and give you some application tips to give you better coverage as well. :) All the best, Terresa, Alima Cosmetics Makeup Artist

Anonymous said...

I also had a bad experience trying Alima. I am normally the palest warm shade and ordered a sample of that in their foundation. It was exactly as you described, chalky, and settled into fine lines making me look at least 20 years older. I use Jane Iredale's Ivory pressed powder now with the handi brush, and it is excellent. The application is easier with the compact and sets in a few minutes.

Anonymous said...

Unlike you, I have had great luck with Alima. It did take me a couple of tries to get the right shade. I thought I would be a 0 or 1 shade, but it turned out that Neutral 2 is my perfect color - who knew? I have a full sized N2 as well as many samples (some too light and too dark which will be mixed to try to get something useable. I hate wasting.

I am oily, and Alima keeps me looking matte. And it evens out my skintone.

Of the shadows I have tried, I notice that they go on VERY sheer. In some cases, I would expect more "color payoff." But the colors are lovely.

Alima's Guava blush has become my go-to blush. Fabulous shimmery peachy-pink. Very close to the very spendy Nars Orgasm.