Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation
Last Updated:12.23.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation has a fragrance-free formula that provides light to medium coverage, a soft matte finish, and is easy to apply. Its matte finish looks natural rather than flat or dry, but of course this still looks like makeup, not naturally perfect, bare skin.

Coverage, even when you apply it with a sponge, is more sheer than what you get with a standard pressed-powder foundations. Among the eight mostly excellent shades are options for fair to tan skin tones. Honey Beige is best avoided due to its overt orange tone. This powder foundation is recommended for all skin types, but you can ignore the “mineral” element, at least if you think it makes this powder foundation better than others that don’t have “mineral” in the name. In truth, the minerals in this powder foundation are used in most powder foundations sold today.


Mica, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Zinc Stearate, Dimethicone, Silica, Magnesium Myristate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Methicone, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Methylparaben, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Alumina, Silk Powder, Nylon-12, Propylparaben, Panthenol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Pantotheric Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Carmine.

Brand Overview

Neutrogena At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; several recommended cleansers; retinol options, in stable packaging; vast selection of sunscreens, most of which offer excellent UVA protection; several fragrance-free options; many of the Healthy Skin products are state-of-the-art; the foundations with sunscreen provide sufficient UVA protection; some praiseworthy makeup items.

Weaknesses: An overabundance of overlapping anti-aging products that is perennially confusing for consumers; irritating bar soaps; lackluster to downright bad toners; a handful of bland moisturizers and eye creams; some sunscreens too much alcohol or problematic preservatives; most of the Deep Clean products are terrible; mostly disappointing concealers; the lip balms with sunscreen provide inadequate UVA protection.

Johnson & Johnson–owned Neutrogena has been around for over 50 years, and they've come a long way since they launched their first transparent, bronze, detergent-based bar soap (it also contains tallow). The bars are still sold, and while we still don't recommend them (they are too drying for all skin types), the good news is that Neutrogena has come a very long way from where they started. In fact, several of their products represent truly state-of-the-art options.

Strolling the skin-care aisles of any drugstore or mass-market store reveals that Neutrogena vies for shelf space and prominence with only one other brand, Procter & Gamble's Olay. For the most part, both companies offer a similar assortment of products, with Olay being slightly more focused on anti-aging products and Neutrogena going for broader appeal, offering a nearly equal amount of antiwrinkle and anti-acne products. Regrettably the latter category presents few viable options.

Where Neutrogena really excels (and has for years) is with water-soluble cleansers, AHAs, retinol, and sunscreen products. Their Healthy Skin lineup offers some beautifully formulated moisturizers with glycolic acid, and the sunscreens offer something for everyone, including some ingenious options for those with oily skin (or anyone who finds the texture of high-SPF products as unappealing as slathering your skin with Crisco).

A recent self-proclaimed advance in sun protection came with Neutrogena's Helioplex complex. It is not the superior breakthrough Neutrogena makes it out to be. It's a good system to keep avobenzone stable for longer, but Helioplex isn't the only way to get the most out of this important UVA sunscreen. If it were, why didn't Neutrogena scrap all of their other sunscreens that don't use Helioplex technology? And why do they still offer a handful of SPF-rated products that leave skin vulnerable to UVA damage? Although they offer a proportionately greater number of sunscreens that provide excellent UVA protection, it's hard to unequivocally deem them a sun-care leader when they still sell inadequate sunscreens.

It's common to see commercials and magazine ads for Neutrogena's plethora of products designed to combat breakouts and blackheads. It's nothing short of amazing that, after all these years, the majority of these products, while well intentioned, still don't get it right. Far too many of them contain irritating ingredients such as alcohol, witch hazel, and menthol, none of which are the least bit helpful for someone struggling with breakouts. If your dermatologist recommends these products for acne without reservation, definitely consider a second opinion! Even Neutrogena's on-the-spot benzoyl peroxide product contains some potentially problematic thickening agents. Despite this, if you choose carefully, there are some great products (including a BHA lotion) that can make a positive difference.

What's most frustrating and, frankly, surprising, is that Neutrogena's enormous assortment of products represents both the best and the worst the cosmetics industry has to offer. Given their worldwide distribution and research capabilities, they really should be offering a consistent range of effective, irritant-free products to address a variety of skin types and conditions. As things stand now, healthy, protected skin is only assured if you know which Neutrogena products to look for and which ones to never put in your shopping cart.

For more information about Neutrogena, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (800) 582-4048 or visit www.neutrogena.com.

Neutrogena Makeup

Neutrogena's "beautiful and beneficial" pronouncement is a great tag line, but most of their makeup doesn't live up to that assertion. This line was lacking in several key areas when it first hit store shelves in 1999, and although some things have improved, the number of problematic products is a bit startling. (We are not aware of any cosmetic line that uses menthol or its derivatives as often as Neutrogena.) Each product carries on about the vitamins it contains, yet compared to the leading roles played by cosmetic staples like silicones and thickening agents, the vitamins have mere cameo roles, and as such have little to no impact.

There are a few key items to seek out, especially if you're looking for makeup with excellent sun protection. We also found their lip gloss to be one of the best at any price, and a few of their foundations successfully bridge the gap between skin care and makeup.

The most frustrating aspect of this line is that almost all of it is packaged so you cannot see the color. Even worse, the color swatch on the box is a poor representation, not only of how the color looks in the compact, but also how it looks on your skin. What would truly be beneficial is for Neutrogena to offer more revealing packaging or provide testers or offer trial sizes. Their overall collection and in-store displays aren't nearly as tempting as most other drugstore makeup lines, so in most cases they're relying on their constant magazine and television ads to drive shoppers to explore the world of Neutrogena makeup, or they're relying solely on those who don't mind guessing what color they are really buying. It's obviously working, because despite the problematic elements, this is a line that has survived and is very well distributed.

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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Great Option for Foundation for Oily skin

This foundation provides a rather matte and dry coverage that is perfect for oily skinned people. It removes any shine left from a moisturizer and helps provide light coverage.

Reviewed by
yeari c.

I tried switching to this from Clinique's stay matte powder foundation, because beautypedia gave it a "Best" and the Clinique only got a "Good" rating. I really don't understand why it got a higher rating, unless the ratings are based on price ranges? I tried two colors just to be safe, but it really isn't a color issue, the foundation just sits on your face and looks chalky and powdery all day, no matter how much or little you use.

Reviewed by
used to have SPF, new version does not

This product used to include an SPF rating. Neutrogena removed the SPF, updated the label, and kept the same UPC code. This caused some difficulty when I attempted to purchase it online around the transition time. I received some with SPF and some without, and returned the ones without. I haven't used the new version, because I want a product with SPF, but I assume it's acceptable for its new market. I liked the old version, and it worked well for light coverage.

Reviewed by
There are much better products out there

This is probably one of the worst powder foundations, as far as performance is concerned. It has a chalky, grainy texture and applies with a dusty finish. I would only use this product in an emergency and if I had no other options. Rimmel Stay Matte powder, even though it is marketed only as a setting powder, is much better than this product.

Reviewed by
Only Impressive to MMU Noobs

I've tried Everyday Minerals, Alima, Lumiere, Physicians Formula, etc. Alima is the best by far for coverage, color-matching, staying power, & texture. Neutrogena barely beats PF--it's grainy, minimal coverage, & with limited colors. If you're new to MMU, check online for the cheap samples you can find at EM, Alima, etc. Frankly, this is only impressive by drugstore standards. Far better MMU at comparable prices is available online. I'd only wear this if I was out of my Alima.

Reviewed by
Alyssa L
Great lightweight coverage

I love the lightweight yet even coverage of this foundation. I've applied it with a brush and with the included sponge. Both work, with a little more coverage from using the sponge. I have eczema on my hands, so I use a foundation that leaves my hands clean (less washing helps). I've noticed that the main stores that used to carry this now do not even have a row for it, and the few that have some in stock are very limited in color choice. I'm afraid it's being discontinued, so I've stocked up.

Reviewed by
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585632-IIS4 v1.0.0.431 10/9/2015 5:02:39 PM