Mineral Foundation SPF 15 is the core product of the Sheer Cover line. It’s a fragrance-free loose powder whose primary ingredient is zinc oxide, which lends opacity and allows a small amount of product to provide sufficient coverage, not to mention providing broad-spectrum sun protection (though if you brush a sheer layer on skin you won't be getting the amount of sun protection advertised, which is why foundations like this are best paired with a daytime moisturizer rated SPF 15 or greater).
The good news is that, texture-wise, this is one of the most finely milled mineral foundations we’ve reviewed. That makes it look more natural on skin, though it can still look a bit thick and opaque unless applied sheer.
The bad news (though it may not be bad, depending on your preference) is the amount of shine each shade leaves behind. Unlike other mineral makeups whose shine casts an all-over radiant glow, Sheer Cover’s version makes skin look sparkly, which is distracting for daytime wear and definitely calls attention to the fact that you’re wearing makeup. Eight shades are available and segmented into four kits (Light, Medium, Tan, and Dark). The idea is to blend the shades in each kit to achieve a perfect match, though this won't work for everyone and the process is anything but tidy. The Almond shade in the Dark kit tends to turn peach over oily areas, while the Nude shade in the Light kit tends to go on too pink (Bisque is much better).
In summary, the Mineral Foundation from Sheer Cover has the same basic traits as most mineral makeup. It can provide full coverage (which will conceal redness from rosacea) and leaves a slightly thick, dry matte finish that is laced with shine. It wears quite well except over very oily areas. Unless the oil-prone areas are set with powder (a step Sheer Cover recommends), you’ll notice the color getting darker as the day goes on, or the foundation pooling in pores, neither of which is attractive. Sheer Cover’s point of distinction (and the reason to consider it if you can tolerate the clingy sparkles) is a finer texture that blends very well and lends itself to a more natural look—about as natural as this type of foundation can appear on skin, which is a step in the right direction!
As for the antioxidants this contains, they won't remain stable thanks to this product's clear jar packaging. We wouldn't rely on the antioxidants in this loose powder makeup to keep our skin looking younger, that's for sure! Still, this simple formula can be helpful for those with sensitive or rosacea-affected skin.
Note: This foundation’s rating is due to its overall performance rather than its SPF rating. Due to concerns about people not applying sunscreen liberally enough to get the amount of SPF protection stated on the label, it is often recommended to look for SPFs with ratings higher than 15. If you plan to use foundation as your sole source of facial sun protection, consider using one rated SPF 20 or greater. If the foundation with sunscreen you choose is rated less than an SPF 20, we strongly advise applying it over a daytime moisturizer rated SPF 15 or greater and following it with a pressed powder rated SPF 15 or greater. That way, you’re ensuring sufficient broad-spectrum protection which is essential for having and maintaining healthy, younger-looking skin at any age.
Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide (12.00%)
Inactive Ingredients: Boron Nitride, Bisabolol, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract
May Contain: Bismuth Oxychloride, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Iron Oxides
Ah, the power of infomercials! Next to Patricia Wexler's skin-care line and Procter & Gamble's SK-II products (both reviewed in this book), Sheer Cover is the line my readers ask about the most. It seems that television and radio personality Leeza Gibbons has connected with lots of women who are curious to see if mineral makeup is the answer for them. Sheer Cover is supposed to "transform your life" by letting "the real you shine through." You will be shining, but that's a feature of the sparkling mica particles in these powders.
As far as life transformations go, don't count on Sheer Cover being the ultimate answer. That's not to say these products are poor contenders, because they are decent for this category of makeup. Rather, as is the case in so many other instances in the cosmetics industry, the hype and effusive praise is way over the top and doesn't come close to reality.
The Sheer Cover Mineral Foundation was developed by aesthetician Pauline Soli, who appears in the 20-minute how-to DVD that accompanies every order for the Sheer Cover Intro Kit. Although she tries her best to describe the makeup and all its wonderful attributes, Leeza Gibbons' presence is missed (she appears only at the beginning and end of the DVD). Perhaps more fascinating (at least it was to me) was that Ms. Soli's complexion looked blotchy and uneven, as if things had gone awry after using a self-tanner. It's not a good sign when the developer of a supposedly life-altering foundation wears it on television with less than stellar results. (Of course, Leeza Gibbons looks flawless—but she already did when we met her during her talk-show hosting days, and that was well before this powder was launched.) Although the DVD is helpful, the essential application instructions and extra tips also appear in print; at least the DVD is instructional rather than being a regurgitation of the infomercial.
Fans of mineral makeup may want to give this line a look. We was admittedly impressed with the Mineral Foundation, though its drawbacks were still great enough to not make it my choice for personal use (just as a reminder, it's not my policy to review cosmetics based on my own preferences or needs). The Pressed Mineral Foundation is even better than the loose version, and for a niche line the shade selection is reasonably varied. The ancillary products comprising the rest of Sheer Cover aren't likely to top anyone's must-have list, but there are some worthwhile, albeit pricey, options, as well as a couple of really disappointing products. Sheer Cover is distributed by Guthy-Renker, and comes with a generous, 60-day return/exchange policy. They'll even take back empty containers if you're unhappy with the products, a rarity in the cosmetics industry. That offer makes it almost irresistible if you're curious to see if mineral makeup will work for you, and Sheer Cover is a cut above its competitors in some key respects.
For more information about Sheer Cover, call (800) 506-6281 or visit www.sheercover.com.
Sheer Cover Makeup
Most customers who order Sheer Cover take advantage of the Sheer Cover Intro Kit ($29.95), which allows you to sign up for an automatic replenishment program that bills your credit card the same amount each month. We wouldn't recommend doing that until you're sure you like the products (based on the small sizes, you would need to replenish most of the products monthly anyway). Included in the kit are two shades of the Mineral Foundation, Duo Concealer, Finishing Powder, a sponge applicator, two brushes, and smaller sizes of the Purifying Cleanser and Nourishing Moisturizer SPF 15 reviewed above. Aside from the skin-care products, the color items in this kit are reviewed below because they are also sold separately, and the kit's overall neutral face rating was based on the mixed-bag nature of the products it contains.