bareMinerals Matte Foundation SPF 15
Category:Makeup > Sensitive Skin Products > Mineral Makeup > Mineral Foundation
Last Updated:12.19.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

bareMinerals Matte Foundation SPF 15 is a loose-powder foundation with a very soft texture and smooth application.The formula provides broad spectrum sun protection which is imperative for anti-aging benefit. Just be sure to pair it with another form of SPF to ensure full sun protection (most women won't apply this liberally enough to achieve that). You can expect medium to almost full coverage.

Despite the name, this foundation doesn’t have a truly matte finish; you still get a soft, non-sparkling glow that someone with very oily skin won’t appreciate. The silica base coupled with calcium silicate and the mineral sunscreen agents can make this feel quite dry, which makes it not the best for dry skin.

What Bare Escentuals did well is the closure for this loose-powder makeup. The sifter can be completely sealed so powder doesn’t spill out all over the place, although you’ll still get some residual powder in the cap and on the sifter with each use, but the mess is minor when compared with the mess of many other loose powders.

Where this foundation takes a sharp nosedive is in its shades. Most of the light colors are fine, but all of the darker shades have a strong ashen finish that can make dark skin tones look drab and gray.


Active: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide. Other: Lauroyl Lysine, Silica, Calcium Silicate, Soil Minerals. May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides. Per Bare Escentuals, percentages of the sunscreen actives vary by shade.

Brand Overview

Bare Escentuals At-a-Glance

Strengths: Good makeup removers; a few well-formulated powders with SPF; some nice eyeshadows and impressive mascaras; great “100% natural” lipliner; several elegant brush options; not too expensive.

Weaknesses:The mineral makeup has its share of pros and cons and isn't for everyone; several of the loose powder products with shine have a grainy feel and cling poorly; some of the skin care contains problematic ingredients.

Makeup is what this San Francisco-based cosmetics line is primarily about, and they use the pure and natural marketing angle to entice consumers. The self-proclaimed "healthiest, purest makeup in the world" was founded in 1976 by Diane Ranger, who left the company in the early '90s, and is now run by Leslie Blodgett, who appears regularly on QVC and the company's own infomercials to support and demonstrate her products. Blodgett is largely credited with turning the line she began into a $150 million business—no small feat. The products are sold in most Sephora boutiques and Ulta stores, though the full selection of skin-care products is most often found at the Bare Escentuals freestanding stores scattered throughout the United States.

Supporting the company's portrayal as a leader in purity are the corresponding claims that the bareMinerals makeup does not contain fragrance, oil, binders, preservatives, emulsifiers, or any other harmful chemicals. Although this line does have its advantages for someone with sensitive skin, as it turns out, bismuth oxychloride, a major ingredient in the powder formulations, can cause skin irritation, while the other minerals can be drying (Source: www.sciencelab.com/xMSDS-Bismuth_oxychloride-9923103). Regarding bismuth oxychloride, it is interesting to note that bismuth (a metallic element) seldom occurs in nature. Instead, it is a by-product of copper and lead refining, or is manufactured synthetically. Chemically, it's similar to arsenic, a fact you won't see in any advertising for bareMinerals. However, just as cosmetic-grade mineral oil is not identical to the petroleum from which it originated, neither is bismuth oxychloride identical to bismuth. The bismuth oxychloride used in cosmetics is non-toxic, but this background offers a good example of how skewed a company's definition of "natural" can be.

Aside from the health and purity claims, loose powders are as messy as it gets in terms of your vanity (countertop, not ego) and your makeup bag. The powder just gets all over the place, and the very basic packaging does not do much to minimize the mess. Additionally, while there are softer neutral shades, and some fairly exotic shades as well, most are mildly to extremely shiny and make any amount of crepey skin look more so. The face powder does provide some amount of opaque coverage, but the shine and the thickness can be a bit much. The loose powder eyeshadows and blushes apply in a somewhat lighter way, though they still provide significant coverage. Many women ask me about mineral makeup and whether or not it really is better for skin. The answer to that question is "No."

Although most mineral makeup is innocuous, the texture, appearance, and application have difficulties that make it not comparable to today's best liquid or pressed-powder foundations. We agree with bareMinerals' stance that foundation shouldn't look or feel like a mask, nor should there be a line of demarcation where the application stops. However, their foundations are not the only ones able to achieve this, and there is no inherent benefit to this type of foundation over numerous other options.

There isn't much to say about the skin-care products, but what's worth paying attention to is noted in the At-a-Glance section.

For more information about Bare Escentuals, call 1.888.795.4747 or visit www.bareescentuals.com.

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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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Awesome for oily skin!

I have extremely oily skin and I have tried everything under the sun. I live in the country where it is summer all year round and I always wondered why I was SO SHINY - Was it the foundation I was using? Is it just how my skin was? I was super embarrassed because I always had to blot away oils. So happy I found this because so far it is the only foundation that mattifies for a longer period of time. Nothing will ever stop my oils 100% but this is awesome.

Reviewed by
Jane DOe
Triggered Terrible Cystic Acne

This product triggered terrible cystic acne for me. It took me a while to figure out what was the cause, but when I did I googled it to see if others had a similar experience. I was shocked to see so many other people with the same story. Bare minerals is supposed to be natural and easy on your skin but I definitely had an allergic reaction to it. I just switched to Tarte and already my skin feels waaaaay better

Reviewed by
Christine C.
Excellent mineral powder foundation

I started using this mineral powder foundation 3 or 4 years ago, and it is perfect for my combination skin. It's powder formula makes it is easy to get the wanted coverage : more where you need and less where you don't and get a very natural look. I have even been asked if I had no make up at all although I would never go out without foundation, as my skin is quite uneven. Would recommended it without any hesitation.

Reviewed by
Francoise F.
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