Mineral Makeup: Angel or Devil?

We test some of the most hotly debated products on the market

We had 10 women test mineral foundations and judge quality based on look, feel and packaging. (To play fair, we removed or covered labels and logos.) Each tester received a more natural brand marked Product A and a less natural brand marked Product B. The natural quality of the products was judged by Total Beauty editors based on product ingredients. Find out which makeup fared best.

By Charli Schuler

Tester: Heather, 26 Product A: i.d. bareMinerals SPF 15 ($25, ulta.com ) "Product A had a cute canister, and I tested it with a soft kabuki brush (Bare Escentuals Full Coverage Kabuki Brush, $28, sephora.com ), but when I opened it, there was a powdery mess inside. The product was dry and made it obvious that I was wearing makeup. Also, the makeup smeared off any time I touched my face! Product A provided ample coverage, but in the heat of summer it felt way too heavy." vs. Product B: Physician's Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Loose Powder ($10.39, walgreens.com ) "I was skeptical about using any mineral makeup because infomercials make it seem like a scam. The lid/brush holder on Product B was a convenient and smart idea, but made the product's packaging look cheap. After applying the powder with the not-so-soft brush, I was impressed by its smooth, even and natural, all-day coverage of my skin. I thought Product B was too heavy for daily wear, but perfect for special events." Review Winner: Physician's Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Loose Powder Natural Winner: i.d. bareMinerals SPF15 Tester: Nancy, 22 Product A: Pür Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder SPF 15 ($24.50, ulta.com ) "Product A went on more smoothly, provided great coverage and looked very natural on my face. It was so lightweight, I didn't feel like I was wearing makeup. I especially liked the large bristles of the brush I used (Bare Escentuals Heavenly Face Brush, $30, sephora.com )." vs. Product B: Almay pure blends mineral makeup SPF 15 ($12.40, walgreens.com ) "Product B was okay. I liked the compact packaging and the pull cap that protects the brush. However, it was really messy and hard to apply because you have to pump out the powder first and it spilled everywhere! I think this one seemed more expensive just based on the innovative packaging, but it didn't work as well." Review Winner: Pür Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder SPF 15 Natural Winner: Pür Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder SPF 15 Tester: Lila, 27 Product A: Milani Minerals Compact Makeup ($7.99, walgreens.com ) "Product A glided on evenly, and covered a few dark spots on the first pass, which was impressive. Throughout the day my usually oily skin stayed shine-free. The coverage was lighter, so by the end of the night, some of the makeup had worn off. I would recommend the product for everyday wear, but not for a special event, like a wedding, because it would need to be reapplied." vs. Product B: L'Oréal Bare Naturale Powdered Mineral Foundation SPF 19 ($14.99, cvs.com ) "Initially, Product B didn't provide much coverage, so I applied several layers to cover the dark spots and even out my skin tone. Within an hour it felt like 10 pounds of makeup and my skin was oil-slick shiny. I kept the product on for several hours but eventually had to wash it off because my eyes were irritated and my skin looked awful and cakey." Review Winner: Milani Minerals Compact Makeup Natural Winner: Too close to call Tester: Kristen, 38 Product A: CoverGirl TruBlend Naturally Luminous loose powder with minerals ($6.99, drugstores) "Product A's coverage was great. It was smooth, didn't dry my skin and lasted all day without caking. It didn't have a scent, either. Although it was easy to remove, and I liked the product overall, I probably wouldn't buy it because it was really messy and dusty. I dress before applying makeup and it got all over everything." vs. Product B: ColoreScience Retractable Dispensing Brush Suncanny Face Colore SPF 20 ($60, skincarerx.com ) "I am not a fan of Product B. It was too complicated to use and created way too much dust when applying. I had to swirl so much on my face, I was in a cloud! It burned the skin around my eyes and made my face feel dry and tight. I liked that the product wasn't scented, but it seemed like the package only contained a skimpy amount of foundation." Review Winner: CoverGirl TruBlend Naturally Luminous loose powder with minerals Natural Winner: ColoreScience Retractable Dispensing Brush Suncanny Face Colore SPF 20 Tester: Alex, 41 Product A: Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15 ($35, lauramercier.com ) "The easy-to-use product A might actually convert me away from liquid foundation. It felt light but provided decent coverage, semi-matte but not as flat as powder and not as glistening as bronzer. It brushed on easily (using Jane Iredale Kabuki Brush, $32, janeiredaledirect.com ) if I used a little of the product shaken into the lid. The makeup held up reasonably well throughout the day and added some color to my skin without looking fake." vs. Product B: Urban Decay Surreal Skin Mineral Makeup ($28, urbandecay.com ) "Product B provided coverage but was challenging to apply. It was supposed to come out if I turned the lid of the sponge-top applicator, but it didn't 'bleed' through the sponge top. So I unscrewed the applicator and dipped it into the product. It went on patchy. It held up well through the day and definitely concealed skin issues, but it wasn't very natural-looking." Review Winner: Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15 Natural Winner: Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15 Quiz: Is Mineral Makeup Right for You? Are Natural Products Better? Makeup Tricks that Erase 10 Years Subject Subject Subject Message Message Message http://www.google.com
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older comments

It's interesting that the bare minerals didn't work so well.

by amber.flute Monday, January 14, 2013 at 03:52PM Report as inappropriate

This is a great article. I like that there are several women using different brands. Personally, I can't wear mineral makeup. It looks really bad and causes allergic reactions. Isn't mineral makeup supposed to be good for sensitive skin? Funny, my skin isn't that sensitive to begin with!

by luckygal79 Monday, December 31, 2012 at 08:48AM Report as inappropriate

Minerals are defintely not for me, or at least I haven't found one yet that works for me. They all seem to make my fine lines look worse. So right now I'm sticking to liquid foundation or CC cream.

by EricaF123 Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 05:21PM Report as inappropriate

I use some mineral makeup products. Some are great, while others are not. It's kind of like all cosmetics.

by robyne00 Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 04:37PM Report as inappropriate

I use both Bare Minerals SPF 15 and a Physicians Formula Organic wear 100% Percent Natural Origins Loose Powder, which is mineral based. I find both are good powders. The Bare Minerals one gives lighter coverage but works well on my very oily skin. The primer definitely helps it stay on. I really like mineral makeup and have seen a reduction in the oil on my skin at the end of the day.

by sonya_kinsey Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 01:42PM Report as inappropriate

thanks for the info

by LittleBunny Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 10:27AM Report as inappropriate

I had alot of trouble reading this article because the words were cut of on each side and the picture on the right was also cut off. I guess it's just my computer???

by EmiLaine333 Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 06:24PM Report as inappropriate

I've been eyeing mineral makeup as of late, I'm probably going to buy some. Now I'm hesitant on Bare Minerals. Not a bad thing, that would be a lot of money to spend on a kit. I've been seriously eyeing Maybelline's mineral powder and setting powder. I may go with that. Really appreciate this article!

by catalinahx Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 11:37AM Report as inappropriate

Still not sure if I'm going with mineral makeup or not, at least I know I can buy the drugstore brands and still get good quality.

by mrselliott08 Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 07:54PM Report as inappropriate

There are no mineral products that work for me but I like hearing from people who are trying it for first time...I think minerals are great for younger skin.

by powerwoman033 Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 06:34PM Report as inappropriate

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