Creme-to-Powder Foundation
Last Updated:04.01.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Creme-to-Powder Foundation is smooth without feeling greasy or too thick, and provides medium coverage with an effect that’s not too powdery or too creamy. This is more akin to traditional cream-to-powder foundation, which means it is best for normal to slightly oily skin without dry patches—which this foundation’s finish exaggerates. Several shades are available; among them, Ivory 2, Beige 2, Bronze 1, and Bronze 2 are best avoided due to overtones of rose or orange.


Octyl Isononanoate, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Boron Nitride, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Tribehenin, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, C20-40 Alcohols, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Methicone, Disodium EDTA, Propylparaben, Fragrance, PEG-4 Laurate, Butylparaben, BHA, BHT, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride May Contain: Ultramarines

Brand Overview

Mary Kay At-A-Glance

Strengths: Most of the products are fragrance-free; packaging that keeps light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use; a handful of well-formulated moisturizers; very good eye-makeup remover; effective wrinkle filler; excellent cream blush and several other impressive makeup products.

Weaknesses: The overall collection is a mixed bag of exciting and disappointing products; several outdated moisturizers and cleansers; no AHA or acceptable BHA products; the CC Cream doesn't provide good enough UVA protection; some lackluster makeup products.

The last few years haven't been glamorous for one of the world's largest direct sellers of cosmetics. Mary Kay lost a lawsuit filed by TriStrata, the company whose founders hold over 100 patents on the use of AHAs in skin-care products. It was revealed that Mary Kay's former AHA products infringed on three of these patents, and, after some back-and-forths in court, Mary Kay ended up paying royalties of over $40 million (interest included) to TriStrata. Perhaps because they're still licking their wounds after this defeat, the company has not launched any new AHA products, and no longer sells the ones that were in question during the legal battle (Source: www.bizjournals.com/dallas/stories/2006/04/03/daily26.html).

However, the company's spin on the issue of AHAs is that they no longer use them because skin-care technology has advanced. That's an interesting twist, but the fact of the matter is that AHA products, when well-formulated, are still considered advanced and capable of doing far more for skin than the alternatives Mary Kay has devised (including an at-home microdermabrasion scrub and products with vitamin C derivatives).

Although they're not a company for you if you are looking for exfoliants (though you should be looking for a good exfoliant), Mary Kay has recently developed a surprising number of excellent products. With over 1.6 million Mary Kay consultants selling products in 30 countries, this family-owned company (founder Mary Kay Ash passed away in 2001) has slowly been proving that they intend to remain competitive with the best of the best. A refreshing change of pace is the omission of fragrance from almost all of the products. Now that is what we call progress!

Despite its size and capital (wholesale figures were $3 billion in 2012), Mary Kay still has a lot to learn. For instance, although their guiding philosophy of empowering women is admirable, the assortment of products still leaves much to be desired. Yes, things are looking up, but there are several weak spots that keep Mary Kay from being in the same league as Avon, Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble (Olay), and Johnson & Johnson (Neutrogena, Aveeno, RoC). These include outdated cleansers, toners, and moisturizers, along with letdowns in products designed for oily, blemish-prone skin. The TimeWise product range has expanded considerably, and offers a few state-of-the-art products worthy of its name (although, as with all skin-care products, they're not going to turn back the hands of time and erase all signs of aging).

If improvements like those in Mary Kay's latest products were translated to the entire line, it would be standing much taller, at least as far as what current, substantiated skin-care research indicates is optimum for creating and maintaining healthy skin. As is, this is a line to approach with a keen understanding of what to focus on and what to avoid. One last bit of good news: Mary Kay offers well-packaged samples of selected products, either directly or from your consultant.

Unless mentioned otherwise, all Mary Kay products are fragrance-free.

Note: Mary Kay is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because their products are sold in China. Although Mary Kay does not conduct animal testing for their products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brand’s state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law”. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Paula’s Choice Research Team.

For more information about Mary Kay, call (800) 627-9529 or visit www.marykay.com

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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Love this foundation!

I do love the silky finish provided by this foundation. It's very light and covers well. But yes, if you have dry patches, it will highlight them. I recently began using a retinol product and noticed it slightly exaggerated small dry patches on the sides of my nose caused by the retinol. Fortunately, the patches aren't that dry (I moisturize well), so I still use it. Nice foundation!

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Mary Kay Creme to powder foundation

My constant search for a foundation that covers with ease of application led me to this product. I use a Bronze 1, and the orange-y undertone goes well with my complexion and that is not a problem to me. I usually apply with a dry sponge and pat on setting powder once I'm done. My face cream has spf 15 and that is just fine for me. I love.

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Can't live without this foundation

I have used this foundation for many years, i.e., more than 5. I try other foundations from time to time, but I always come back to this one. I love the ease of application. I use a dry sponge. I found a color in this line that matches my skin perfectly. I also like the fact that you can easily vary the type of coverage you want. To me, it feels weightless on my face. Give this a try being mindful of the shades in Paula's review that won't work for most people.

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