Mineral Foundation SPF 20
0.21 fl. oz. for $62
Category:Makeup > Foundations With Sunscreen
Last Updated:03.13.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

This is one of Colorescience’s star products, and it’s easy to see why: It’s an outstanding medium- to full-coverage powder foundation with built-in broad-spectrum sunscreen via titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. If only the price weren’t so shockingly high, but more on that in a moment.

Packaged with an attached natural-hair brush dispenser, it does an impressive job of depositing powder evenly and applies best when swirled onto your skin. The powder itself is silky and readily adheres to your skin, without grabbing or streaking, leaving a finish that’s somewhat luminous, but not shimmery.

The richness of the pigments and the finely milled texture make it incredibly easy to build natural-looking coverage that enhances your skin. This is an especially great option for those with sensitive skin (including rosacea) because it contains mineral sunscreen ingredients, which pose less risk of irritation than synthetic sunscreen ingredients.

The 14 shades range from cool porcelains (My Fair Lady) to warm darks (Toast of the Town), and, with the exception of the pinkish Not Too Deep, they represent a respectable range of skin tones. Due to the inherent blendability of the formula, most skin tones should have an easy time finding a good match.

Colorescience also claims this powder foundation is “very water resistant,” and it certainly does withstand a moderate amount of moisture before it begins to streak, and even then, it doesn’t transfer from skin easily.

Keep in mind, however, that this mineral makeup is really no more “mineral” than hundreds of other powder foundations. “Mineral” is just another marketing gimmick that the beauty industry has successfully turned into a cash cow.

Back to the high price: Although this provides reliable sun protection, it still must be applied liberally to get the amount of sun protection indicated by the SPF rating. You have to ask yourself how likely you’ll be to apply such an expensive sunscreen liberally. As with any powder with sunscreen, it’s best to pair it with a daytime moisturizer or foundation rated SPF 15 or greater.

Note:Although this foundation provides broad-spectrum sun protection on its own, you must apply it liberally and evenly to get the stated level of protection. A sheer or spot application will not provide the amount of sun protection the label indicates. If you’re not likely to apply this foundation liberally, we recommend applying it over a moisturizer with sunscreen rated SPF 15 or greater and setting your foundation with a pressed powder rated SPF 15 or greater.


Active: Titanium Dioxide (18.6%), Zinc Oxide(5.9%); Other Ingredients: Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride, Calcium Silicate. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Carmine, Chromium Oxide Green, Iron Oxides.

Brand Overview

Colorescience PRO At-A-Glance

Strengths: All SPF-rated products provide sufficient broad-spectrum sun protection with mineral sunscreens; excellent loose-powder complexion products; Sunforgettable Eyescreen is a unique loose-powder sunscreen for use around the eyes; attached natural goat-hair brush dispensers work very well; SPF 30 loose-powder sunscreens double nicely as SPF-boosting bronzers.

Weaknesses: Many products contain volatile fragrant oils and/or irritants; not all products are tested to determine their SPF rating; shimmer products tend to be too sparkly; completely ordinary mascara; the makeup-setting mists are nothing but irritant-filled fragrant water.

Colorescience PRO was founded by "the mother of mineral makeup" Diane Ranger, who bestowed that title on herself based on her role as founder of the mineral makeup behemoth Bare Escentuals in 1976. (Ranger subsequently parted ways with Bare Escentuals in 1991). Taking a cue from her Bare Escentuals days, Ranger designed Colorescience PRO to be all about "natural" loose-powder mineral makeup. Her goal was to offer medium- to full-coverage "healthy makeup" that is ideal for sensitive skin, with the added benefit of all-mineral, broad-spectrum sunscreen protection.

Ranger's concept has its strong points, but not all of the formulas jibe with the ideal of being great for sensitive skin. In fact, with the exception of only a handful of products, most include volatile fragrant oils and irritating ingredients, which are the last things that anyone's skin needs to stay healthy, whether sensitivity is an issue or not. This type of needless irritation hurts skin's healing process and disrupts its ability to produce healthy collagen.

Although Colorscience PRO offers some skin-care products, most of our readers' interest is on their color line, primers, and setting mists, so we concentrated our reviews on those products. What we found was that, except for the loose-mineral foundation and some of the brand's Sunforgettable products, this line falls short in terms of performance and value. To make matters worse, it's difficult to shop because it has opaque packaging, confusing shade names, and odd categories.

It's clear that Colorescience PRO knows how to make finely milled, silky powders packed with mineral sunscreens, but beyond that, there's not much to distinguish this line from lots of others that have capitalized on the runaway success of mineral makeup, despite the fact that mineral makeup really isn't anything new or all that wonderful.

The gem of this line is the loose-mineral foundation with sunscreen, and it indeed performs beautifully without irritating. The problem with this product is its price tag—$60—for a loose powder with sunscreen. That's ludicrous! Besides, all SPF-rated products must be applied liberally to get the stated level of sun protection, and how liberally are you going to apply a product that is this expensive?

Speaking of high prices, most of Colorescience's line is overpriced, despite the fact that there are a few worthwhile products. Just because high prices have become the norm for spa- and dermatologist-exclusive lines doesn't mean that the products are any better for you. Another notable frustration with this line is that not all of the products have been tested for their SPF rating, which means that you cannot rely on some of  them for sun protection.

For more information about Colorescience PRO visit www.colorescience.com or call (866) 426-5673.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Best mineral makeup

Of all the mineral foundations, including Bare Minerals, this is best of all. It blends beautifully, regardless of the bush you choose to use; it can adhere well without a primer as long as you are using a good moisturizer; it feels natural, you might forget that you are wearing make up, that is how light it is; it does not dries out the skin; it won't settle into your lines; best of all...it last all day without fading of settling into your pores. It looks fresh even after sleeping with it.

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