Sunday, 19 August 2012

Bare Minerals : Holy Grail foundation!

'Ooh, you have olive skin! You're so lucky!'
It's something I've heard many times and I've always thought 'that's what you think'. Sure, olive skin can look beautiful, bordering on exotic, hinting at mediterranean origins - and sure, it looks great when we tan (not to mention the way that olive skin rarely burns). But considering we have about 2 minutes of sun in the UK per year, unless you want to live on a sun bed it feels like a pretty lame trade-off against the major draw back of having a light olive skin tone: never, ever being able to find a foundation the right colour. EVER. I've tried truckloads of foundations and concealers from drugstore to high end and not one of them, from Rimmel to Dior, has come through. Cosmetics manufacturers all seem to think that we're pink, or orange, or deathly white, none of which apply to us olive skinned girls!! The very few I have found who catered for olive skin tones all seemed to think that olive = dark mediterranean, so their offerings were way too swarthy for my light olive skin. This wouldn't matter so much if I had perfect skin but I don't. I NEED foundation. For about 20 years now I've been 'getting by' with foundations that made me look satsuma orange or chalky pale. Until now.

Enter Bare Minerals foundation - now officially my Holy Grail Foundation. It has SPF 15, it covers without looking heavy, it's buildable, and it comes in 20 different shades to suit pink, yellow/olive, rosy, neutral, and even rich red undertones, from porcelain-pale to deepest dark. I bought it as part of the 9-piece Get Started kit, which cost £49 but is absolutely worth every single penny (the brushes alone would cost £57 if bought separately!) You get three really great, high quality brushes (concealer brush and two different face brushes, for full and lighter coverage), two different shades of foundation (I have the 'Light' kit, which comes with 'Light' and 'Fairly Light' foundations), a Mineral Veil (translucent fixing powder), a 'Warmth' bronzer and a 15ml tube of Prime Time foundation primer, plus a DVD that teaches you the swirl, tap and buff method of applying powder foundation. The foundations, veil and bronzer are all reduced size 2g pots, whereas the full sizes are normally 8g (and cost £24 each), but I've used the 'Light' foundation at least 20 times since then and have barely even scratched the surface. A little bit goes a very long way!

Application is really easy. Moisturise as normal, use a teeny bit of primer if you like (I've used it with and without primer and been happy with the results both ways), then apply the powder, just tapped into the lid and picked up by swirling with the brush until it disappears into the bristles. Tap to remove excess, then buff into your skin - face brushes with a circular motion, and the concealer brush kind of 'scrubbed' over the blemishes as if you're trying to rub them off with a pencil eraser. You use the concealer brush with a little of the powder foundation to conceal your worst flaws, then the same powder with the face brush over your whole face, applying as many layers as you need to get the coverage you want. On its' own, you get a glowy, fresh faced look, but you can fix it with the mineral veil if you prefer a more matte effect. Wear is impressive, too - I'm a subconscious face toucher (yes, I know it's bad, but I can't seem to help it) and by the end of the day most of my skin has normally gone back to its' pre-foundation state, my fingers having undone all my hard work by about lunchtime. Not so with Bare Minerals, which still looks freshly applied at the end of the day.

Want evidence of how great this is? Check out these before and after shots. Brace yourself, the 'before' is a little scary :-p

It hides dark circles like they were never even there. I can't believe it covers so well and yet it feels like I'm not even wearing anything.

Blemishes, too.  No cakey, mask-like feeling. And it's the right colour for me! 'Light' is perfect right now, while I have a little bit of colour. 'Fairly Light' is a little pale for me, but it's not meant for olive skin anyway (it's for pink undertones, and just came as part of the kit). However, it's easy to mix shades, and I'm going to keep the 'Fairly Light' because combined with 'Light' it looks like it'll be perfect for the depths of winter when my skin turns even more pale.

Incidentally, I've had fewer break outs since using this. I don't think that this is down to some magic skin treating property in the Bare Minerals, but I do suspect it's because it's gentler on the skin than my old foundation. Since it's just mineral powder and none of the other chemicals and junk they put into traditional foundation creams and lotions, Bare Minerals should be less likely to block my pores. Either way, I'm not complaining!
With just a hint of 'Warnth' bronzer, used as blusher

A few days ago, someone said to me yet again: 'Ooh, olive skin. You're so lucky'. And you know what? For the first time ever, I agreed with them. Because for the first time ever I can look in the mirror and actually enjoy the colour of my skin instead of cringing at my dark circles, blemishes, and tell tale orange tide mark of mismatched foundation.

What I Liked:
Perfect colour for my light olive skin (YES!!)
So easy to apply you could do it without a mirror
Flawless finish and amazing coverage without feeling heavy
Lasts all day
Fewer breakouts
No need for separate concealer

What I didn't Like:
The click-lock lid (specially designed lid that you twist to close up the holes after use, so the powder doesn't get everywhere) on my Light foundation sticks and makes it hard to open. I don't know if this is a common occurrence with all Bare Minerals foundation, just a quirk of the smaller pots, or whether I was just unlucky (my other three pots are OK so far), but I've had to stop closing it and block the holes with a cotton wool pad. Hoping it won't happen again when I buy the full size!

Stash or Trash:
Are you kidding me? Just try and take this stuff away!!


  1. Oh, I love Bare Minerals! I have been using their products for years now and have yet to be disappointed. Looks great on you too!

    1. Thank you! I wish I'd tried them a long time ago! It really is good stuff :)