my MUA reviews: primers, foundations, powders

To these, add current foundation: used very little (ahem–last used in March…), but Silk Naturals mineral one.

Silk Naturals – Perfecting powder (untinted)  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 7/3/2010 6:00:00 AM

It’s a powder. It perfects. And it’s perfect at it. An unreserved 5 lippies.
A fine, lightweight powder. White, translucent on the skin. Also available in darker tints; the untinted one is perfect on NW05-15. I’ve applied it using a sponge, a velvet puff, and a brush; I prefer the latter, being faster and easier and easier to clean. Tool of choice: EcoTools retractable kabuki. Or using the Clinique “powder rub-down” method: tip a small amount into palm of hand, rub palms together, and pat around face from there. Use fingertips to ensure you’ve got the nose.
I just generally buff this all over as a finishing powder. Indeed, my only facial slap other than dabs of concealer if and as necessary. Using this on top of moisturiser and sunscreen. Makes only a tiny amount of difference to skin– but that’s the idea, and the difference is definitely there. Everything is smoothed out, softened and blurred, pores vanish (well, to be fair mine were small to start with–but you can see this around the corners of the nose). Not matte; not shiny either. Just sort of soft-focus. In a word, “perfecting.”
Very good in hot weather; though SN also offer special oil-control version(s), probably a better bet on oilier skin and/or in a hotter and more humid climate.
In the past, my best plain translucent powders have been silk, rice, and arrowroot powders. Arrowroot is by far the cheapest; it and rice the best at dealing with summer heat & humidity. But this is the best year-round finishing-touch flawless perfecting thing ever.
Minimal ingredients, zero irritation, no clogging. Fragrance-free, cruelty-free, nice company to deal with, and pretty cheap. The full size is 0.14oz / 4g (USD8.95 in baggie, $1 more with jar): similar price range to Laura Mercier’s Mineral Finishing Powder ($32/12g), Lancôme Ageless Minérale ($42/similar). Cheaper if your skin’s OK with their stuff (mine isn’t: grittiness, result/finish, colours, and then the irritation): BM, Everyday Minerals, CoverFX.
SN’s jars are pretty good; but I’m using an old LM jar, which has a nifty second cover inside that moves to slide over the sifter-holes, so you can close them off between uses, and not end up with lots of powder in the lid when you next open it (and then powder everywhere).
INGREDIENTS: mica, silk powder, silica microspheres.

Laura Mercier – Mineral Finishing Powder  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 3/23/2010 4:30:00 PM

UPDATE 05/2010: breakouts. Possibly bismuth oxychloride, though not sure; had issues with that in the past, and the LM products are the first bism. ox. ones I’ve used in a while. Back to TheBalm Sexy Mama as a finishing powder: no reactions, cheaper, and pressed so more practical.
Lovely delicate fluffy finishing powder. Available in two shades; I’m using the lighter, being pale. Fragrance-free, talc-free, cruelty-free. Contains ingredients of lamb-like gentleness: rice starch and oat flour, copper and zinc gluconate (though NB there is also mica and bismuth oxychloride). And much preferable to the regular LM finishing powder.
PRO #1: It works, so far, for my purposes. Am using this on top of sunscreen and the odd dab of concealer where and as required, just in those areas, not all over the face. Applies like a dream; using a nice soft kabuki brush (currently Eco Tools or The Body Shop). No reactions, stays on well, and because little is needed, it looks like it’ll last a good while.
PRO #2: Very fine indeed, like spun air. The finish is just right, neither shiny nor matte, and it’s super lightweight. Feels like there’s nothing on the skin, looks invisible.
PRO #3: Excellent container: sifter-pot, but with a swivelling middle section that covers the holes in between uses, so you don’t spill and lose powder (Lancôme’s mineral powder has a similar inside).
CONS: it’s pricey (CAD40.00 for 12g), tho’ similar price to plenty other powders. Similar result to fine-milled silk powder. For a matter effect, on oilier skin or in warmer weather, try a good rice or arrowroot powder. Also, I prefer pressed powders as they’re more practical, especially first thing in the morning when my coordination isn’t at its best. [05/2010 Hence returned to Sexy Mama as solves all these cons, as well as the irritation-one.]
INGREDIENTS: aluminum starch, octenylsuccinate, oryza sativa (rice) starch, zinc stearate, silica, pearl powder, avena sative (oat) kernel flour, silver, silybum marianium (milk thistle) extract, vitis vinifera (grape ) extract, copper gluconate, zinc gluconate May contain (+/-): mica (CI 77109), bismuth oxychloride (CI 77163), titanium dioxide (CI 77891), iron oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499).

Laura Mercier – Mineral Pressed Powder SPF 15  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 3/22/2010 1:34:00 AM

UPDATE (05/2010): breakouts around the nose; returned to TheBalm’s Sexy Mama for a pressed finishing powder. Which is 100% failsafe on me.
It does remain true, though, that (unlike most of the reviewers here) I prefer the Pressed to the loose version.
Used lightly and selectively, applied with a brush (EcoTools kabuki). Mainly for touch-ups, LM Mineral Finishing Powder (#1) as principal powder [05/2010: back to using Sexy Mama for that too].
The lightest, Soft Porcelain is a fraction too yellow for me, but pale enough in intensity (a welcome rarity: NW5-15ish, between freckled and non-freckled parts). Fair range of shades available.
Pros of the pressed compared to the loose: I found it easier to apply as a sheer thin layer. More natural in effect. Doesn’t collect in pores. Much less dry and drying. Mind you, used *very* lightly indeed, sheerer than sheer, and not all over my face.
Costs CAD40.00 for an 8.1g compact. Which is about par for the course for a decent-quality pressed powder, whether dept-store or smaller eco-company plus shipping (worse still if coming here to Canada from the US). [Sexy Mama: 7.08g for CAD26.00]. Nice packaging: dark brown with a slight burgundy glimmer to it, tasteful silver lettering in a tall sans-serif, doesn’t bring out all my Cayce Pollard allergies. Fragrance-free, talc-free, oil-free (but with rice lipids and jojoba esters), zinc oxide rather than titanium dioxide based, and cruelty-free. May contain bismuth oxychloride; there’s unlikely to be much in a pale non-pinkish shade, but worth knowing if you’re very sensitive. [slight suspicion it was enough for me, I’ve had issues with the stuff in the past]
INGREDIENTS: (Soft Porcelain, Warm Chestnut, Golden Suntan, Classic Beige, Rich Vanilla, Natural Beige, Tender Rose, Real Sand): Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide. Ingredients: Silica, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Lipids, Jojoba Esters, Pearl Powder, Lauroyl Lysine, Copper Gluconate, Zinc Gluconate, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extract, Lycium Chinenesis (Lycii) Berry Extract, Silybum Marianum (Milk Thistle) Extract. (+/-): Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Mica (CI 77019), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Ultramarines (CI 77007).

TheBalm – Sexy Mama  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 2/18/2010 3:15:00 PM

Recent discovery–one of those snap decision purchases. And it’s one of the best transparent pressed finishing powders I’ve ever used.
Finely-milled, applies like a dream (use a brush on clean fingertips), simply evens, smoothes out, and slightly mattifies skin without adding any colour. So long as you just add a rapid sheer once-over: yes, like anything, you can pile it on and overdo it. I’m pale (somewhere around NW05-10, can look NW15 when you take freckles into account) and this doesn’t change the colour of my face.
No irritation, no clogging, and neither drying nor greasifying: I guess due to the cunning balance between corn and rice starch and cotton powder on the one hand, and silica and dimethicone on the other. Beautiful finish, anyway.
I’m really just using this as a finishing touch on top of sunscreen (Vancream 30: even once settled to its nice velvety finish, it can still look a bit greasy). I do use a mineral powder, but just for spot-concealing, and otherwise am not a big fan of loose powders cos I tend to spill them everywhere. The Sexy is great, as it’s pressed rather than loose; yet is more or less “mineral” and lacks talc; and, unlike many pressed powders, isn’t chock full of oily things to get the powder to stick together in pressed form. The sticky bits here are silica and dimethicone (yay for my skin’s favourite ‘cone–dislikes cyclomethicones which are everywhere these days) and the polymer-items. Otherwise, a minimal formulation, fragrance-free, and cruelty-free.
I don’t get very greasy, but this stuff is also good for touch-ups at the end of the day, without looking like you’ve caked on extra layers of slap.
May seem slightly pricy compared to drugstore, but cheap as chips compared to “green” brands (that are often about as green as this stuff), let alone department store and high-end; and worth every cent as it works as well as the best translucent powders I’ve used, of any sort. USD 19.00, CAD 26.00 for 7.08 g. Ooh yes, and the packaging is ever so pretty! Little cardboard rectangular compact with mirror, magnetic closure, and an outer sleeve. With ’50s pinup on the front of each. Don’t be deceived by the cutesyness: this stuff works. UPDATE 05/2010: went over to Laura Mercier’s much pricier stuff for a while, had some breakouts, now back on Sexy Mama. Which is–on me, anyway–much, much better.
INGREDIENTS: boron nitride, zea mays (corn) starch, polyethylene, silica, isoeicosane, zinc stearate, PTFE, styrene/DVB crosspolymer, polyisobutene, dimethylimidazolidiinone rice starch, gossypium herbaceum (cotton) powder, sodium dehydroacetate, dimethicone [+/- mica, iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)]

The Body Shop – Nature’s Minerals Foundation  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 1/19/2010 3:20:00 AM

Well, count me in the minority but I like this stuff.
Bought on impulse as I was repurchasing the accompanying brush (which I use for all sorts of things, mainly for swiping on finishing loose powder). Delighted that NMF is the second of two successful impulse buys in a row this week. Unheard of.
Minimal formula: titanium dioxide–24%, from which SPF 25–two forms of clay, mica, and iron oxides. The lightest shade available, 01, is an OK match for my skin. No oxidising to report, nor oiliness, nor dryness, though my skin’s approximately normal-dry right now. No irritation. Just feels nice and soft, and easy to apply in the usual mineral-makeup way (that tapping and swirling business). It is sheer – as others report – but is substantial enough for a quick swipe to give a subtly airbrushed effect.
Can also be dotted onto smaller areas with a small/concealer brush (e.g. for previous irritations and zits, healed but not yet faded away): this is actually my main use, and why I’m not too bothered that the colour match isn’t perfect. I did subsequently improve that a bit, by mixing in some silk and rice powders: makes it more sheer, slightly paler, but usable both for concealing and as a loose finishing powder. Thereafter NMF just sits there nicely and quietly.
Nice and quiet sums it up, really. And very welcome, especially after too many lousy previous experiences with mineral makeup (high end, low end, online special super-green super-pricey,…): combinations of irritation, crap colour, oxidation, too shiny, too chalky, and/or nasty feel.
It’s a keeper. Thumbs up. Though a greater range of colours wouldn’t go amiss, for this to be usable to its full extent, i.e. as a foundation and/or powder as well as a spot-concealer.
The packaging isn’t anything to write home about, but keeps the powder in its place, and lets it out when required: shallow plastic container, sieve-like sifting-lid, dark grey slightly sparkly plastic screw lid on top.
Costs CAD 25.00 + tax for 5 g. Which, NB, is not a great price given the quantity: some higher-end powders (ex. Lancôme’s Ageless Minerale) work out the same price. Like other Body Shop products, cruelty-free.
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Titanium Dioxide (24.0%). INGREDIENTS: Kaolin, Illite, Mica, Iron Oxides (ci 77492, 77491, 77499), Titanium dioxide (ci 77891).

Physicians Formula – Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Loose Powder  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 1/15/2010 2:32:00 AM

Great stuff: does what it says on the tin, no more, no less, with no fuss, and at a low price. BUT on the other hand I’m really only using this as a concealer, not as it’s supposed to be used properly…
This is a loose powder that’s free of talc, bismuth oxychloride, fragrance, and assorted other things. Comes in a plastic sifter-jar, with huge lid (can be discarded), and a crappy wee brush (that fits between the sifter-lid and the outer giant domed lid). Discard brush and chop off the neat prongs that fix it to the lid. Use a decent kabuki instead (recommend: The Body Shop’s kabuki – a.k.a. their mineral makeup short stubby brush – or their retractable blusher brush, Eco Tools retractable powder etc. brush).
Very fine, easy to apply. Six shades available, all fairly middle-of-the-road but tending towards the light to middling, and towards the yellow (possibly due to the lack of pinker pigments in this?). I’m using this in the lightest, TRANSLUCENT LIGHT, and it’s pretty good. It’s not perfect, but at least it’s pale and so long as applied lightly, looks like many another translucent powder.
NB I’m only using this (with teeny brush) as a concealer on spots or other reddish marks; not as a powder foundation, nor as an all-over finishing powder (the shade and texture are wrong for me, for both).
Best of all, no shine or chalkiness (though NB applied lightly), and no reactions. Thumbs up, especially considering I bought this in the local supermarket on a whim and as it was reduced (and no, it’s not being discontinued, AFAIK).
Caveat (hence not a 5): use lightly. Any more than a light dusting, and it feels gritty and looks chalky (and it becomes clear that the colour match isn’t perfect). Quick three-second swipe, though–like the old Clinique “powder rub-down”–or a dab on spots, and all is well.
Cost CAD 9.99 – usual price around 15 bucks. Cruelty-free. They had a few other sorts of talc-free powder, but the pressed version of this has squalane (not good on my skin), another one has tourmaline, and the organic ones have more olive-based oiliness etc. But, in general, a goodly bunch. This happens to be my pick, as the one with the most minimalist formula (and, indeed, the front of the box says exactly that).
INGREDIENTS: Mica, Zinc Oxide, Zinc Stearate, Boron Nitride, Lauroyl Lysine, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides

Clarins – Express Compact Foundation Wet and Dry [DISCONTINUED]  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 11/28/2008 11:05:00 AM

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful stuff: if you happen to fit one of the few available shades, this is a brilliant multi-purpose makeup.
One of the few face things that exists in a decent colour for pale people, i.e. the colour of one’s actual own skin: 01 Ivory Beige.
No skin reactions, no clogging, no greasing-up, no drying out. The ingredients listing includes fragrance and other scented ingredients, but there is barely any discernible odour (a touch of the classic Clarins smell, but just a slight waft). Especially good applied over Clarins’ Instant Smooth primer (or indeed any other silicone-based one).
Can be applied wet or dry, and in various ways and thicknesses: as foundation, or like a light compact powder, or as a finishing powder, or indeed as concealer. I tend to go for a very light layer – just to smooth things out – on nose, and dabbed on like concealer on discoloured bits. I’m getting over hormonal acne (now under control, touch wood), but being pale, any pink bits healing over show up quite a lot.
Great shade, texture, and finish. Basically, looks like skin in good condition, which is exactly what I’m looking for in makeup. No oxidation (hellooooo Clinique and all things mineral) on notoriously fickle redhead skin. Nice compact (flat, sleek, matte metallic red), and refills available.
The bad news: it’s hard to find 01 – for example it doesn’t exist in Ireland, of course, you know, home of lots of pale people and crap cosmetics counters. Most places only carry four shades of the Express, which are in the middle tones (and a bit pink or peach). Pale people aside, completely unsatisfactory range of shades and tones to cover the full human spectrum. Mac, Bobbi Brown, MUFE, and Laura Mercier much better: so long as you don’t get skin irritation from their stuff (as is the case here). And Clarins is in process of discontinuing the Express. Sigh.
Costs GBP 24.00 for the compact, 16.00 for the refill (bought in the UK, haven’t found it in the Eurozone in this shade so price unknown).
INGREDIENTS: talc – mica – dimethicone – nylon-12 – nylon 6/12 – cyclopentasiloxane – diisostearyl malate – octyldodecyl stearoyl stearate – silica – bis-diglyceryl polyacryladipate-2 – ascorbyl palmitate – tocopheryl acetate – methylparaben – fragrance – propylparaben – sorbic acid – dehydroacetic acid – lauroyl lysine – polyperfluoromethylisopropyl ether – sorbitan sesquioleate – amycinnamyl alcohol – benzyl benzoate – benzyl salicylate – coumarin – eugenol – geraniol – hydroxycitronellal – butylphenyl methylpropional – limonene – linalool – alpha-isomethyl ionone. May contain: [± iron oxides (ci 77491) – titanium dioxide (ci 77891) – ultramarines (ci 77007) – yellow 5 lake (ci 19140)].

Dr. Hauschka – Dr. Hauschka Loose powder  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 11/7/2008 6:44:00 AM

This is for the LOOSE POWDER (the pressed is not as good – much like many others, and a little chalky). I thought the Clinique was excellent; was dried out by or reacted to many others (LM, Nars, BB, etc.); the Hauschka is the best I have used so far. Losing one lippie because it sometimes makes me sneeze (the scent), then my nose gets red and irritated, and before I know it, lo and behold – dry flakes and/or spots.
Fine quality, colour match, and end result. As others have said, the packaging is poor: there’s retro, and there’s unforgivably unreconstructed. For everyday use, I decant a small quantity of this into an old Clinique loose powder demonstration tester container (obtained from a Clinique counter, as they were discontinuing that shade – 01, the one that works on pale blue people, grrrr). Can be applied using one of these microcellular latex sponges, or a brush, or using the Clinique powder rub-down method, or some combination of all three.
Works well as a very light and discreet concealer, using sponge. Used as a powder, the finish is light and impeccable. No greasiness (obviously, given the ingredients), no excess shine, no dry chalkiness, no flakes around the nose. Perfect.
So far, no reactions or clogging leading to spottiness (though I use little, and seldom). No talc, no bismuth oxychloride, no tourmaline; mainly tapioca starch, silk powder, and three minerals (silicates, roughly speaking; and all naturally derived, if you’re worried – from The Earth, just like good old mineral oil, heheh). And it’s a fantastic match for very pale skin: this might make it too light on others, and not a true “translucent.”
I *do* find this a little over-scented, though, and for everyday purposes much prefer Clarins Express Compact Foundation (can genuinely be used as concealer, foundation, and/or powder). But this is certainly the best fully Green face make-up I’ve yet used.
Expensive – around EUR 25.00 for something like 12 g. But used with a light hand, and very little (my skin not needing too much), it’ll last a fair length of time. As with all Dr H, no animal testing and other virtue and greenery.*
INGREDIENTS: Manihot Esculenta/Manihot Ultilissima (Tapioca) Starch, Silk/Serica Powder, Mica, Diatomaceous Earth/Solum Diatomeae, Silica, Anthyllis Vulneraria Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Black Tea) Leaf Extract, Fragrance/Parfum (Essential Oil), Limonene, Linalool, Geraniol, Citronellol, Coumarin, Citral, Benzyl Benzoate, Eugenol, Farnesol, Iron Oxides
* [There is some cultish near-religious New Age bunkum attached, but I’m willing to forgive them that, as the end result is that the company’s production standards and methods are good, and the resulting end products stellar – except, of course, for insisting on ruining many otherwise fine items by putting in St John’s Wort …]

Dr. Hauschka – Dr. Hauschka pressed and loose powders  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 11/7/2008 6:43:00 AM

This is for the LOOSE POWDER (the pressed is not as good – much like many others, and a little chalky). I thought the Clinique was excellent; was dried out by or reacted to many others (LM, Nars, BB, etc.); the Hauschka is the best I have used so far. Losing one lippie because it sometimes makes me sneeze (the scent), then my nose gets red and irritated, and before I know it, lo and behold – dry flakes and/or spots.
Fine quality, colour match, and end result. As others have said, the packaging is poor: there’s retro, and there’s unforgivably unreconstructed. For everyday use, I decant a small quantity of this into an old Clinique loose powder demonstration tester container (obtained from a Clinique counter, as they were discontinuing that shade – 01, the one that works on pale blue people, grrrr). Can be applied using one of these microcellular latex sponges, or a brush, or using the Clinique powder rub-down method, or some combination of all three.
Works well as a very light and discreet concealer, using sponge. Used as a powder, the finish is light and impeccable. No greasiness (obviously, given the ingredients), no excess shine, no dry chalkiness, no flakes around the nose. Perfect.
No reactions or clogging leading to spottiness. No talc, no bismuth oxychloride, no tourmaline; mainly tapioca starch, silk powder, and three minerals (silicates, roughly speaking; and all naturally derived, if you’re worried – from The Earth, just like good old mineral oil, heheh). And it’s a fantastic match for very pale skin: this might make it too light on others, and not a true “translucent.”
Con: the scent does bother me. And for everyday purposes, I prefer Clarins Express Compact Foundation: genuinely multi-purpose concealer, foundation, and/or powder. But Dr H is the best full-on Green make-up I’ve yet found: most such stuff is not up to cheap drugstore quality, and this is definitely department-store level.
Expensive – around EUR 25.00 for something like 12 g. But used with a light hand, and very little (my skin not needing too much), it’ll last a fair length of time. As with all Dr H, no animal testing and other virtue and greenery.*
INGREDIENTS: Manihot Esculenta/Manihot Ultilissima (Tapioca) Starch, Silk/Serica Powder, Mica, Diatomaceous Earth/Solum Diatomeae, Silica, Anthyllis Vulneraria Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Black Tea) Leaf Extract, Fragrance/Parfum (Essential Oil), Limonene, Linalool, Geraniol, Citronellol, Coumarin, Citral, Benzyl Benzoate, Eugenol, Farnesol, Iron Oxides
* [There is some cultish near-religious New Age bunkum attached, but I’m willing to forgive them that, as the end result is that the company’s production standards and methods are good, and the resulting end products stellar – except, of course, for insisting on ruining many otherwise fine items by putting in St John’s Wort …]

Aveda – Inner Light Dual Foundation  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 8/8/2008 7:40:00 AM

UPDATE: SKIN IRRITATED. What follows still stands, except I turn out to react to tourmaline (alas, in several Aveda products). Badly. Skin now recovering. This stuff is definitely still a lovely shade and texture, and worth passing on, and trying out. But the rating has to go down from 5 to 3.
The search for good foundation is officially now over.
010/Cream is one of the few shades that are actually suitable for pale skin. Properly neutrally pale – most very pale tones are too yellow, and some too pink. Doesn’t oxidise and go orange, on me anyway. Just looks skin-coloured. The only other one I’ve found that does this – and in a similar texture, and with no irritation – is Clarins Compact Express in 01, except the shades start with 03 where I live (err, yes, that’s in Ireland, where there are many pasty people – what were the marketing people thinking???)
Whatever you do, don’t apply it dry like a pressed powder.* Apply wet. Whether with the accompanying sponge, or any other similar microcellular sponge (the Clinique/Origins kind), or a softer brush (like the Body Shop or Muji ones). Can be used for dabbing on individual discrepancies (aka spots) as a concealer. The result is a fine, light finish, smooth, barely perceptible, and excellent over sunscreen and/or primer.
Best of all, no irritations on this otherwise sensitive skin. No oilies, no drying out, no breakouts. Also, talc-free, if that’s a concern (my skin certainly seems happier without it).
Fragranced ingredients are listed, and fragrance is mentioned on Aveda’s website, but barely discernible. You really have to shove your nose right into the pan and snuffle deeply to get anything. No detectable fragrance once on face (checked by SO kiss). And nothing like the heavy, heady Chanel, Bourjois, some Lancome, etc.
Like other Aveda products, no animal testing, people-tested, and all very green and nice.
Packaged in a metal pan, with a microcellular sponge, inside a small plastic closeable sleeve. Could be put into any of the Aveda magnetised compacts, or any other similar ones available (seen them in Mac too); but I find the plastic sleeve to be fine – I’m not using this very much or often.
Expensive: EUR 32.50 / GBP 20.50 / USD much less… But worth it, to find, at long last, a fairly readily available foundation that does everything I require of it. Aaaaah.
INGREDIENTS: mica, dimethicone, silica, zinc stearate, squalane, rice starch, magnesium myristate, murumuru butter, Japanese knotweed root extract, tourmaline, malachite, soybean oil, tocopherol, ascorbyl palmitate, methicone, sodium dehydroacetate, fragrance, linalool, limonene, geraniol, citronellol, methylparaben, propylparaben, [ ± titanium dioxide (ci 77891), ultramarines (ci 77007), iron oxides (ci 77491, 77492, 77499) ]
* That having been said: it can also be used dry *for very light touch-ups* – and indeed the ingredients are nearly the same as Aveda’s pressed powder (one single difference: silica and zinc stearate swap places). But this should be done with a very very very light hand indeed. The pressed powder weirdly works better at this. I don’t understand it myself. Also, it’s a bit hard to use this wet then dry, as it takes most of a day (minimum!) to dry out in the pan. So the double technique isn’t going to be much use if you need to touch things up every couple of hours (mind you, I’m not sure the Dual would be appropriate for oilier skin).

Clinique – Blended Face Powder  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 10/3/2008 6:32:00 PM

Yes, this is a very simple powder. Yes, it has no frills. And that’s the point. It works and is reliable. I used this off and on for decades; until developed sensitivity to bismuth oxychloride. Some of its many advantages:
(1) No fragrance, contains mainly talc, little irritation.
(2) A not unreasonable colour selection. As ever, Laura Mercier, Mac, Prescriptives etc. have a bigger range. But they’re a lot more expensive here in Europe, and harder to find.
(3) Including one (two if you’re outside Europe) that work on pale redheads. 02 Transparency 2 is pink enough to work with our pale-blue-lavender undertone, and doesn’t oxidise (this is a weird redhead thing: we freak makeup out that way; more acidic skin, purportedly). But applied with a light hand – it is slightly pink. 01 is very very pale, almost white, and ace on the pale in most seasons. Can be mixed in with 02 to make it paler: if your skin changes shade through the year, it’s worth buying both. 01 has been discontinued in Europe apparently. Doubtless, as ever, because it’s great and because it’s good on us redheads. I shall stop there before I go off on my habitual rant on rampant anti-redhead discrimination.
(4) Nice fine texture, goes on smoothly, doesn’t settle in cracks and crevices, makes one look airbrushed. Put on too much and yes, you’ll look a bit chalky and dusty.
(5) Works with a range of application techniques depending on your skin. For drier skin, just apply with a powder brush – I found the recommended rub-down settled on every (small-scale, obv.) peak and in every hollow, and accentuated flaky bits. The powder comes with a small retractable brush; I happen to prefer a softer synthetic one (currenty Muji and The Body Shop, using the one when the other has been washed and is drying out).
(6) Produces the required results. Makes skin look more or less flawless, smoothed out, “finished”; I use it just on top of sunscreen for every day; can also be used to set foundation. Can be used dabbed strategically onto localised imperfections, like a powder-concealer.
Cost EUR 27.50 I think. Lasts at least two years. I’ve never finished one – either accidentally broke or lost it, usually moving house, to bring the poor creature to an untimely and undeserved end. After all its hard work. I hope this praise is of some consolation. It is great stuff (the old bismuth business aside).
INGREDIENTS: talc – zinc stearate – magnesium carbonate – kaolin – squalane – isopropyl myristate – trisodium edta – potassium sorbate – methylparaben – butylparaben – propylparaben – [± (may contain) titanium dioxide (ci 77891) – mica – iron oxides (ci 77491, 77492, 77499) – bismuth oxychloride (ci 777163) – ultramarines (ci 77007) – manganese violet (ci 77742) – carmine (ci 75470) – ferric ferrocyanide (ci 77510)]

Origins – Silk Screen  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 9/28/2008 1:43:00 PM

Lovely. One of the few pressed powders I’ve found that do their job, come in a decent colour (for the pale-blue but freckled redhead), don’t irritate, and don’t oxidise. Skin is left neither over-matte (dull, chalky) nor over-shiny (glowy, glittery,…). Just nice and smooth and smoothed-out, evened-out, airbrushed.
I bought this on a whim, in 01 PORCELAIN, in a sale. Now there’s the rub: ’twas in a sale, for Origins cosmetics were being discontinued in Europe at the time.*
Anyhoo: great stuff, lovely and fine and YBB, leaves skin happy as well as good-looking, and exists in a very decent range of shades to suit many skin-tones. Adaptable, too: using different tools each time, can work as a sheer layer as a setting powder, or as a powder foundation, or dotted on as a spot-concealer (my usual tactic). Finely milled, leaves a nice smooth non-obvious finish. Beware of over-application as it can then look chalky. Probably better for skin that’s in fairly good condition with little to cover up. I find it better on the odd spotty or post-spotty patch than the more usual liquid or cream concealer, with no change in skin feel during the day, no clogging or greasifying, and no changes in colour from oxidation. (I am one of these people who oxidise stuff, and being pale, any marks show up a lot more – even if they’re fading left-over ghosts of old zits.)
UPDATE (11/2009): have bought this again – this time in 08 CLOUD – and still loving it.
No idea what the usual price is, this having been a bargain bottom-of-bin … I got it for under EUR 10.00 (can’t recall exactly, but I had changed from a tenner).
UPDATE: around $25.00 US/CDN.
INGREDIENTS: talc – polymethyl methacrylate – silica – corn starch – octyldodecyl lactate – isononyl isonanoate – dimethicone – zeolite – zinc stearate – bht – tetrasodium edta – sorbic acid – dehydroacetic acid – methylparaben – propylparaben – butylparaben [± bismuth oxychloride (ci 77163) – titanium dioxide (ci 77891) – mica – iron oxides (ci 77491, 77492, 77499) – ferric ferrocyanide (ci 77510) – ultramarines (ci 77007) – chromium hydroxide green (ci 77289) – chromium oxide greens (ci 77288) – yellow 5 lake (ci 19140) – manganese violet (ci 77742)]
* RANT ALERT: That is, so long as you’re not in Ireland, where (a) Origins is being discontinued, (b) there’s never the full range in any bally thing in any brand anyway, except (c) a preponderance of the mid-orange tones, none of the pales and deeps, and furthermore (d) everything is at least twice the price it is in the US, and invariably a lot more than in the UK and in the rest of the EU (thanks to double exchange rates, as far as I can tell, and high taxes). *Le sigh.* If I don’t move back to the NY area soon, I’m going to have to ruin all my green credentials with twice-yearly shopping trips to that finest of proper cities, a place with proper shops.
Mind you, there are also many very nice things about Dublin, that wouldn’t be true of New York. And I really love living here. But the fact remains that either the shopping’s a bit pants, or I was spoiled rotten before …
UPDATE: yay. Moved back across the ocean. Now have access to Origins makeup again, as well as many other things, and at less indecent prices.

Aveda – Inner Light Pressed Powder  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 8/8/2008 7:14:00 AM

UPDATE (2008-10-05): SKIN IRRITATED. What follows still stands, except I turn out to react to tourmaline (alas, in several Aveda products). Badly. Skin now recovering. This stuff is definitely still a lovely shade and texture, and worth passing on, and trying out. But the rating has to go down from 5 to 3.
EDIT (2008-09-28): going gritty and sparkly as I get to the bottom of the pan, and I’m getting irritated bits where I apply this (like zits, but more pink and inflamed and painful). I still consider this a great pressed powder: but already expensive for what you get, and now I have to take into account that the last 1/5 of it is not as good as the first 1/3.
Excellent pressed powder: fine, light finish, smoothes over any discrepancies, barely perceptible, and excellent over sunscreen and/or primer. Best I’ve found so far (since the demise, some time ago, of my favourite old Cliniques).
010/Cream is one of the few shades that are actually suitable for pale skin. Properly neutrally pale – most very pale tones are too yellow, and some too pink. Doesn’t oxidise and go orange, on me anyway. Just looks skin-coloured.
Best of all, no irritations on this otherwise sensitive skin. Also, talc-free, if that’s a concern (my skin certainly seems happier without it).
Fragranced ingredients are listed, and fragrance is mentioned on Aveda’s website, but barely discernible. And nothing like Chanel, Bourjois, some Lancome, etc.
Like other Aveda products, no animal testing, people-tested, and all very green and nice. Comes in a metal pan inside a small plastic closeable sleeve, that’s actually fine for everyday purposes. Works well with a brush or with one of those microcellular sponges (the Clinique/Origins kind).
I also got the Total Face Envirometal Compact at the same time, to hold this and a blush (the lovely Apricot Glow) while in transit. Adding the accompanying greaseproof paper on top of contents (to prevent powder migration). I trimmed down a sponge to the powder pan’s size, for travel purposes.
Expensive: EUR 31.00 / GBP 19.00 / USD much less… NB the ingredients list is identical to the Inner Light Dual Foundation, except that silica and zinc stearate have swapped places. Having experimented with both, that slight difference does still mean that the Dual Foundation is better for wet application, to use as a dabbed concealer and very light foundation; it can actualy be used – but with a very light hand – as a touch-up powder too.
INGREDIENTS: mica, dimethicone, zinc stearate, silica, squalane, rice starch, magnesium myristate, murumuru butter, Japanese knotweed root extract, tourmaline, malachite, soybean oil, tocopherol, ascorbyl palmitate, methicone, sodium dehydroacetate, fragrance, linalool, limonene, geraniol, citronellol, methylparaben, propylparaben, [ ± titanium dioxide (ci 77891), ultramarines (ci 77007), iron oxides (ci 77491, 77492, 77499) ]

Maybelline – Mineral Power Powder Foundation  rated 1 of 5 gingerrama on 8/6/2008 10:13:00 AM

The lightest shade currently (08/2008) available, 02 ROSE IVORY, is still too dark on pale skin; also, it oxidised and went orange on me. That’s pretty rare…
Therefore not recommended for the pale of hue. Still looking for a decent mineral foundation, and otherwise I’ll be staying with my trusty old Boots No. 7 Perfect Light Pressed Powder in Translucent – used not just as powder, but also applied with a fine brush to even things out.
UPDATE: found excellent alternatives – not labelled as “mineral makeup” but effectively they are, and no talc: Aveda Inner Light Pressed Powder and their Dual foundation/powder. Between the two, I’ve got concealer, foundation, and powder, and all manner of finishes from the minimal everyday to flawless coverage for Occasions. No breakouts, no oxidation, and a perfect match with 01 Cream.

Boots – No7 Perfect Light Pressed Powder  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 7/1/2008 6:28:00 PM

Deceptively “good and basic” pressed powder. Excellent on more sensitive skin – both on the drier and oilier parts. I’ve used it off and on for years. This is a fine, sheer, light powder; slightly mattifying, slightly glow-giving – very subtle, so subtle that for a long time I was convinced it was “just” good and basic. Hence new review, as I am now officially wowed.
I used Translucent, which works nicely on pale skin with freckles. Partly because it is much lighter and finer than the more tinted versions: I gather it may be genuinely suitable for quite a wide range of skin tones. No oxidation and turning orange, either (this will depend on what you’re wearing under the powder, to be fair).
I lucked out on the colour, though. Of the more tinted versions, there are not enough shades – I think another three or four, none suitable for darker skins, and little variegation. Fair, by the way, is too yellow for cool-toned pale blue people – Translucent is markedly better.
This was bought as a replacement for the gorgeous and discontinued Clinique Soft Finish; the effect was near enough, comfortable and silky-velvety, and approximately as finely luminous. The only comparable powder I’ve found, searching high and low, has been Prescriptives: similar end result to the Boots, at about 3 to 4 x the price.
Importantly, it is *great* on this sensitive skin. Fragrance-free. Minimal ingredients list: no parabens but does still have a milder preservative and bactericidal agent (thank goodness), and includes ingredients my skin happens to find blissfully soothing – borage oil, mineral oil, and titanium dioxide (I haven’t ascertained the likely SPF/PPD). Silicones for smoothing, talc for oilies, mica for the right kind of shine. This is why it’s deceptively basic – roughly the same ingredients list as many other pressed powders, but well-formulated and no faffing about with unnecessary extras.
Sturdy, plain compact. Plenty of product, lasts a good year. The sponge, as usual, is poor: but this stuff works wonderfully well with a big fluffy brush. The catch on the compact varies from lot to lot. On some, it is diabolically over-resistant. But it’s an excellent buy – here in Ireland, it’s EUR 14.25 and so closer to the drugstore than the department-store price bracket, but for department-store quality.
UPDATE: I tried out several other pressed powders, high end and low, then returned to No. 7 as I realised quite how very good it is. It remains the nearest I’ve found to my beloved discontinued Cliniques …
INGREDIENTS: talc, mica, paraffinum liquidum, phenyl trimethicone, dimethicone, borage, titanium dioxide, tocopheryl acetate, silk, nylon-12, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, silica [+/- ci 77891, 77492, 77491, 77499]

Arrowroot Powder or Maranta arundinacea  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 6/20/2008 7:17:00 AM

I would never have tried this if it weren’t for MUA: particular thanks to abbyten and 70496 (and yakkoooew) on the boards, and the reviews here by RtiQlitQT. Good alternative to regular loose powder, or to talc-base alternatives such as cornstarch, rice, or silk powder. Indeed, several “natural” cosmetics brands are using arrowroot powder as the base for their powder cosmetics (face powder and eyeshadow for ex.)
Decanted to a sifter-jar, applied to face using brush or good microcellular-type sponge, this is the best translucent powder I have thus far ever used. Can also simply be tipped into palm of hand and used with the Clinique powder rub-down technique.
A short list of the many pros:
(1) Texture: extremely fine. Fills in all pores. Excellent on top of facial sunscreen, even quite a solid physical one (Lavera here).
(2) Colour: none at all. Great for setting whatever’s underneath, without adding any colour to it – be that sunscreen, or foundation or other makeup. Brilliant on very pale skin – I find even the lightest powder colours show up on my skin, as do many “translucent” powders, and the pale/white ones tend to look like, well, I had an incident with a clown and some flour. I’ve also now tried the Arrowroot out on a few friends with a range of skin tones, and we’re agreed that once on the skin, it’s clear.
(3) Suitable for even very sensitive skin. Indeed, I found it soothing. Even when skin was in a very irritable phase (due to stupid optimistic experimentation with a Mexoryl sunscreen I’ve tried before, reacted then, reacted even more this time).
(4) Mattifies skin without dulling or drying it. (One could put on too much and be left a bit cakey, as is the case with any powder.)
(5) Cleans off easily with regular cleanser (oil then emulsifying ointment here).
(6) Very very cheap indeed. Available from most grocery stores, supermarkets, health food stores, etc. In the baking section, usually (due to mainstream culinary use as a thickener). A jar that’s 3x the size of regular loose powder cost me EUR 1.80 – so probably in the region of GBP 1.20 or USD 2.50.

Barbara Daly for Tesco Ultra-Light Pressed Powder  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 5/31/2008 1:57:00 PM

Excellent basic pressed powder: fine, leaves a smooth fine finish, sheer, not drying, not oilifying, no breakouts. Not a huge range of shades, but not bad, and Fair (very pale, but in the pink rather than beinge/yellow/orange end of the spectrum) is perfect for the pale of redhead hue. Unfragranced, and like other products in the range, not tested on animals. And cheap.
Not only that: in performance and end result, this is indistinguishable from my other favourites, Boots No. 7 Perfect Light (Translucent) and the much-lamented old discontinued Clinique Soft Finish and Gentle Light. At least I think they’re discontinued – certainly are over here (Ireland). Light enough not to cover up freckles; enough pigment to smooth out discoloration etc.; good match for my pale blue skin with pink/lilac undertone.
Pale people in the UK and Ireland – try it out. It was in the region of EUR 5.00 or thereabouts for the usual 10g. Won’t break the bank if it doesn’t work for you. (Unlike my recent experiments with Origins pressed powders.)
INGREDIENTS: talc, octyldodecyl stearoyl stearate, silica, zinc stearate, mica, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, acrylates/stearyl acrylate/dimethicone acrylate copolymer, zeolite, methylparaben, sorbic acid, propylparaben, tetrasodum edta, butylparaben, helianthus annuus, bht, aesculus hippocastum.

Origins – All or Nothing Pressed Powder  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 5/31/2008 1:38:00 PM

Beautifully-textured fine pressed powder. Very light finish. Silicones and mica. One shade supposedly suits all.
Unless you’re pale.
In which case this looks orange. If you’re lucky, under flattering lighting conditions, this looks beige with a hint of peach. But in any case, not natural – not in the sense of natural meaning “the same shade as *my* skin.” I think this may have changed colour on my skin, too, as it looked OK tested out in the shop and under natural light outside. Unfortunately the change was noticeable only after I’d bought it.
Not, therefore, recommended for the pale.
Pros: no reactions. Unfragranced. Great if you’re looking for a talc-free powder. But there are many other pressed powders out there, for less money (this was EUR 27.00!!!), that do a better job. If you’re absolutely set on Origins, their Silk Screen might be better for skin-matching shades – I found it too thick and foundation-y (well, it is mean to be one of those powder-foundation thingies) and too chalky a finish on me.
If you’re in the UK or Ireland, and pale, and looking for a decent pressed powder, check out Boots No. 7 Perfect Light in Translucent and Barbara Daly for Tesco ultra-light in Fair.
INGREDIENTS: hdi/trimethylol hexyllactone crosspolymer – lauroyl lysine – zinc stearate – phenyl trimethicone – triethoxycaprylylsilane – dimethicone – hydroxyapatite – sorbitan sesquioleate – isostearyl neopentanoate – silica – trimethylsiloxyxilicate – tetrasodium edta – chlorphenesin – potassium sorbate – [± mica – titanium dioxide (ci 77891) – iron oxides (ci 77491, 77492, 77499)]

Paula’s Choice – Sheer Perfection Pressed Powder  rated 2 of 5 gingerrama on 5/7/2008 3:49:00 AM

A pressed powder that’s average at best.
PROS:
(1)Minimal formula, no irritation (on this quite irritable skin), no breakouts, and at a good price (in North America).
(2) Very lightweight – good for just setting makeup.
(3) Zero shine, no glowing and sparkling and the like. Feels like it would be great for oilier skin and/or in a hot humid climate.
CONS: The other side to all of the above, except the first item.
Major cons: (1) I found it drying. My skin was left dulled, ashy, with some flaking.
(2) The palest shade available, SHEER 1, is not pale enough and too beige/touch of light coffee-brown (for reference I’m PPP-issima, delicate shade of pale blue, MAC NW15 at most). Not enough shades available – light or dark. Also, the shades available tend towards the yellow in tone – this beige-tinged one looked like the least yellow. Insufficient variation across the shades to take account of more peach, pink, violet, etc. in human carnations.
(3) Nice solid compact, but weak catch. No puff provided, which is not a big deal as most puffs are rubbish (and I’m using a brush anyway), but not enough room to put in a puff should you wish to carry this around with you for touch-ups.
Not happy with this (and I’m not even going to mention the packaging aesthesics). But feeling the love for PC’s skincare products.
It’s certainly a good deal in North America – USD 12.95 – for a basic pressed powder that’s very non-irritating. But companies like Almay and Maybelline make others that are as good or better and cheaper, and higher-end there’s always Clinique, Prescriptives, and the like. Here in Ireland, it’s too expensive for what it is – EUR 13.30 plus the crazy shipping (EUR 6.50 for some European countries, up to 16.50 to places like Ireland) – and there are several other pressed powders more readily available in shops here that are as good in formula, and way better in colour and price (Boots, Marks & Spencer, Barbara Daly for Tesco, Bourjois if you’re OK with the scent).
INGREDIENTS: Talc, Zinc Stearate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Octyldodecyl Lactate, Dimethicone, Isotridecyl Isononanoate, Zeolite, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Dehydroacetic Acid, Mica (CI 77019), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163)
May contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxide (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Carmine (CI 75470), Manganese Violet (CI 77742), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Ultramarines (CI 77007)

Bourjois – 10hr Sleep Effect  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 5/5/2008 12:15:00 PM

UPDATE: when I see this in daylight, it’s slightly too dark on me. Shame, as otherwise a lovely foundation. Aveda Inner Light Dual Foundation in 01/Cream is perfect, though. In case you’re pale and looking for an appropriate foundation!
10h is an oil-free silicone-based very lightweight foundation, more of a tint or TM. Come in the usual gorgeous Bourjois packaging, chic retro Paris boudoir style. Peach-coloured solid plastic pump container gives it a 5 on packaging quality: no glass, no light or air getting in. As with other Bourjois stuff, no animal testing.
The foundation itself is very like Chanel’s Vitalumière in effect: 10h. is lighter, more fluid, less pigmented; the colour range is different; and it’s considerably cheaper.* 10h. is a thin liquid and so easy to apply it can comfortably be called foolproof. It makes good skin look flawless and evens out any unevenness in skin tone and texture. Smooth, silky, soft. It’s not one of these glittery highlighting light-reflecting concoctions, nor a bronzer, but somehow makes one look more healthy and awake. From other reviews, it looks like it’s not so good for building layers and more coverage, and not much use at disguising blemishes. Bear in mind – this really is just a super-delicate wash of YBB colour.
It does contain fragrance; some may dislike this, or even be allergic to it. No only did I not react to it, but I like it a lot – the scent brings to mind good associations, including nostalgia for some of the very first (Bourjois) cosmetics I used, decades ago. I get rose, vanilla, violet, and peach. A bit flowery, a bit fruity (but none of the awful fake red berry), not too sweet, and very French. It smells like some of the notes in several Chanel scents. But be warned – many people find this scent powdery old lady, be it in a Chanel perfume or a Bourjois cosmetic.
The colour range includes very good peachy-pink based tones, including “my” one, Abricoté Clair 71, the lightest – not available in all countries. This is excellent news for pale blue people (hello other redheads out there) who can’t use those yellow-toned foundations that dominate the market without looking silly and/or ill. And thus far it doesn’t do that amusing oxidisation thing and go orange on me. Though whether or not that happens is often due to skin chemistry and pH variation, so as ever try before you buy.
The good news is that the light formula means you don’t need an exact match with your skin and it blends in astoundingly well. The bad news is that there are just a few shades to choose from, and none are suitable for deeper olive through darker tones [ UPDATE: and for the pale…].
Pro/Con depending: No SPF, if that’s a concern for you.
I’m using this very lightly indeed, and either on top of sunscreen during the day or on top of a silicone base or serum in the evening; I find half a pump is enough for my whole face and throat. I pump that out onto the back of my (clean) hand, dot onto skin, and blend. About half of that blob goes onto face, the rest swept vaguely around the whole neck-to-bosom area. It’s not an impeccable match for my skintone – hence I’m blending beyond face – but so whisper-light that there’s no demarcation line around the jaw. It takes under a minute to apply, just using fingertips. No fuss, no extra tools. I then set it with a very light dab of powder – a matter of seconds.
No skin reactions; and the scent goes away very fast, if that’s a worry for you. 10 h. lasts well all day or all evening, and comes off with my usual evening cleanser (pre-cleansing with 50/50 mineral/sunflower oil mix, then cleansing with emulsifying ointment, aka a simpler unscented form of cold cream).
Costs about EUR 10.00 here in Europe.
INGREDIENTS: Water, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Chloride, Methylparaben, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Propylparaben, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Fragrance, Alcohol Denat, Glyceryl Linoleate, Panthenol, Aluminium Hydroxide, Glyceryl Linolenate, Tocopherol +/- (CI 77491/CI 77492/CI 77499/Iron Oxides, CI 77891/Titanium Dioxide, CI 77019/Mica)
* Is this a dupe ? Chanel is the parent company of Bourjois, and many of the products are made in the same factories. I haven’t found out if that’s the case for 10h. and Vita, but from testing them out, they feel and look remarkably similar – the Chanel version’s palest tint is a better match for my skin, but I prefer the Bourjois’ lightness, and like I said, it’s so light and spreadable that there’s no need for as exact a match as there would be with a fuller-coverage foundation.

La Roche Posay – UNIFIANCE Satin Cream Skin-Like Foundation  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 1/23/2008 11:22:00 AM

UPDATE: Yes – I’ve found better: Bourjois 10 hour Sleep Effect in Abricoté Clair 71!!!
UNIFIANCE Satin Cream is aimed at sensitive, normal to dry skins. It’s a simple, no-nonsense, no-frills, unfragaranced formula (as far as ingredients are concerned, for ex.), but performs with panache. Minimalist elegance. I’ve gone back to this, after some experimentation with other foundations. One lippie off, as the colour isn’t perfect but everything else is. The imperfection is imperceptible so long as applied very lightly. A second lippie off for less good cruelty-free credentials – another reason I wouldn’t buy this again.
There are other products in the range for skins going towards the more oily end of the spectrum, increasing in coverage and matte-ness along the way (Cream Powder, Liquid). There’s also a corrector/concealer. I found the Satin behaved well on drier parts of my face, without contributing to breakouts on chin and nose.
This comes in a 30 ml / 1 fl. oz. tube. The texture is very light, and a little goes a long way. It is moisturizing, without being greasy. The finish is very light, smooth, and dewy: looks natural, but smoothing out the glitches in one’s complexion. It really doesn’t feel like wearing foundation. None of that mask-about-to-crack sensation; it doesn’t feel like I have anything on my face. It’s that “barely there” and “skin-like.” The nearest comparison for texture would be a tinted moisturiser or the old Lancome Photogenic (sampled, lovely texture, then skin reacted…).
Basically, this does what is says it will on the package:
It does indeed “melt in… highly flexible cream texture… smoothly adapts with each and every facial expression for an extreme comfort finish.” That’s the “elastogel polymers” referred to elsewhere, ex. on beaute-test.com. The blurb continues: “…24 hour hydration. Purified mineral pigments hide imperfections without drawing attention to them, to ensure a completely unified complexion with a delicately satin-smooth finish. Fragrance-free, … tested on sensitive skin, non comedogenic, high tolerance formula.”
One problem: alas, not enough shades available. The shades are more genuinely neutral than is often the case with foundations with such limited colour ranges: not too yellow, and the one I’m using doesn’t oxidize and go orange.
I used this in the lightest shade, 01-IVORY. UNIFIANCE isn’t light enough to be an exact match for this PPP (MAC NW15-ish) redhead’s delicate shade of Smurf blue. But it’s a good enough match if applied very very lightly, as a tint. I use it during the day, mixed in with or on top of sunscreen. It’s one of the only foundations that neither masks nor irritates my skin, and matches my skin better than most other foundations as it’s more pink- than yellow-based. Just enough coverage to even out skin tone, and with a dab of powder on top of nose. For a really good match (when it might matter, like meetings or family photos) I use my MAC Select Cover-up mixed with serum (or sunscreen, if during the day) to make up a sort of very light pretend foundation. The ghost-face in photos issue doesn’t really arise, as all my exposed areas are always equally sunscreened…
Although they come in good tones, I’m not using the MAC foundations as there’s only one I didn’t react to, Face + Body, and I find its finish too heavy. But fine with the Select Cover-up – hence using that as a mix-in tint.
Costs EUR 24.00 – I was unable to find prices for elsewhere, and am no sure if this is readily available in the UK, US, etc.
INGREDIENTS: water, cyclopentasiloxane, glycerin, nylon-12, dimethicone/peg-10/15 crosspolymer, dimethicone/polyglycerin-3 crosspolymer, popylene glycol, peg-10 dimethicone, magnesium sulfate, phenoxyethano, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, disodium stearoyl glutamate, methylparaben, butylparaben, aluminum hydroxide, [± CI 77891/titanium dioxide, CI 77492, CI 77499, CI77491/iron oxides]

Clinique – Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector   rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 11/21/2007 1:37:00 PM

Good make-up base; can also be used alone, just over moisturizer and sunscreen and under pressed powder. Not dissimilar to Clarins’ Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch. Except the Clinique one is way cheaper, there’s more of it, and it’s in a tube. Colour 01-Natural Light has a slight tint, so not completely neutral, but that fades away once applied. Provides a good even base for make-up, reduces minor pores, and generally smooths things over.
Issue: not something to wear all day every day – in my case at least, brings me out in spots the next day, and those odd bumpy cysty things, all of which then take a couple of days to go down. Fine for an evening out, if washed off as soon as I get home. So be warned – it’s certainly worth getting, if one of the few shades avaiable suits you, and keeping as a wardrobe staple. But I’d start by having it on for a short evening out – maybe 3 hours or so – and see how that goes the next day. The build up wear, until either you find the point at which your skin says “no” and breaks out, or you find that you’re one of the lucky ones for which the Minimizer is indeed Perfect.

Clinique – gentle light pressed powder  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 11/21/2007 1:17:00 PM

This was one of the top two powders I have ever used. Very finely milled, with light-reflecting particles, and in a good pale colour. So subtle your skin looks naturally perfect but all freckles are still there. Now that’s a sign of a superb powder: many loose powers will do this, applied with a nice brush, but the pressed powder that does is a rare and precious thing. Not greasy, not drying, no reactions, just perfect.
Alas not available in Ireland. Sigh.

Clinique – Soft Finish Pressed Powder  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 11/21/2007 1:14:00 PM

This was one of the top two powders I have ever used. Fine, subtle, leaves a flawless and slightly luminous finish. Great on dryish skin that’s prone to react to things it doesn’t like (going spotty and flaky: yum). Good tone for pale skin: skin-coloured, rather than slightly pink/orange. Just enough for coverage, freckles are still visible.
Alas not available in Ireland. Sigh

Clarins – Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 11/4/2007 4:15:00 PM

Lovely base/primer. Works well on fine, dryish skin that’s prone to sensitive and downright temperamental moments – no drying out and flaking, and no irritations and rashes. Two main uses here: (1) does a fine job of smoothing everything out; (2) as “spackle” around the eyes.
Packaged in a small red glass jar with lid; and the small amount you get for your hard-earned money does indeed go a long way. Can be applied with the small spatula, or indeed any other device. To minimise the luscious contents’ exposure to nasty wildlife, best to scoop out a small amount (pinkie is ideal), place on back of hand, and work from there. A small amount: seconding what other reviewers have said below, somewhere between lentil and pea: say, 2-5 mm diameter for the whole face, or a teeny 1 mm for the undereye area.
Use (1): It’s smooth, with a similar texture to other silicone-based primers, and not a million miles from Clinique’s Pore Minimizer. The Touch is, however, a finer grain, less drying, more comfortable, and didn’t break me out. Creamy, non-greasy, and very easy to spread. The smooth operator all round. Gets fine lines and pores (though we’re talking finer ones here, no guarantees on deeper lines and larger pores). Bonus: gives a very discreet gentle glow, which wasn’t promised.*
Use (2): Lovely and easy to use all over, this is also excellent for use dotted and smoothed around the eyes, where the wrinkly bits lurk. Smoothes out lines and illuminates discreetly. Works like many other eye-area silicone primers (Bobbi Brown, one end of Lancôme’s Rénergie concealer, a similar L’Oréal one, etc.) – but works out much cheaper, as that’s basically all I’m using it for.
Price-wise we’re less ecstatic. EUR 25.00 / GBP 21.00 / USD 27.50. Expensive if used as an all-over facial primer daily (4 lippies for price), but rather a good deal if just used under the eyes (2 for price – so an average of 3).
INGREDIENTS: cyclopentasiloxane – dimethicone – dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer – hydrogenated vegetable oil – vinyl dimethicone/methicone silsesquioxane crosspolymer – silica – disteardimonium hectorite – pentaerthryityl tetrtaisostearate – alcohol denat. – tocopheryl acetate – butylene glycol – silica dimethyl silylate – acacia senegal gum – methylparaben – mica (ci 77019) – iron oxide (ci 77491) – titanium dioxide (ci 77891) – carmine (ci 75470).
* I had originally bought this for Entertaining Slightly Grandly, a.k.a. I had lost my Major Makeup somewhere in the last two moves and was feeling in need of topically applied reassurance. Was complemented on radiant complexion. Now, while a hot steamy kitchen may have had something to do with that, the Touch did impart a lovely finish, when examined critically in the mirror after all the clearing up was finished. Though I’ve rarely used it all over since then, only for Going Out and Special Occasions.

Clarins – Instant Light Eye Perfecting Base  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 11/4/2007 3:44:00 PM

[UPDATED 07/2010]
This looks like Clarins’ sort-of-version of the YSL Touche Eclat, but appearances can be deceptive (the one in the red tube is). It’s actually a double-duty eye base: to neutralize blue-purple and generally even out colour on the eyelid and in the undereye area. It can then be worn alone, to create an illusion of flawless skin. Or used as a base for shadows and so on to help its staying power and stop it creasing (the product’s French name suggests this better – “fixative base for the eyes”).
One of four products in Clarins’ Instant Light series of “skin-perfectors that deliver incredible radiance.” I’ll spare you the rest of the purple prose – scepticism and cynicism aside, the product itself is a goodie. As is often the case with Clarins, the sheer plethora of similar-looking products can be confusing. This one’s the slim white tube with silvery cap.*
The idea is the same as for BeneFit’s F.Y.Eye and MAC Prep+Prime Eye. I found that this version has a far better texture and staying power than other interpretations of the same idea. In that it’s moist and remains so – though I do have eye cream on too. It’s not greasy and doesn’t settle into the crease or slip into eyes and irritate them.
The EPB is available in two shades only; I’m using 00, a light pink with peach undertone. This may well be fine as a base, but is way too limited a colour range for use as a naturalistic product to use on its own. It is currently being used mainly as a base/eyelid discolouration concealer, for everyday purposes.** EPB is also OK in the undereye area: when used right under the lower lashes, I’ve had zero mascara smudges.
Application: Turning the base twists the product up, and it appears in the middle of the brush at the top. It can be applied with the brush, or deposited on a fingertip, Q-tip or other tool, whatever means suits you best. Pleasant, quite liquid, and happily concentrated. Seems moister than my previous bases (the three mentioned above), especially under the eyes – it’s practically invisible there. Doesn’t move at all, no balling on application, and later on, no creasing, drying out, or changing colour. Stays on like that, perfectly, all day. And while swimming.
An approximate thumbs up, and recommended with reservations (see below); as ever, do try before you buy, and Clarins ladies are usually lovely and often helpful.
Cons: (1) Non-nice price. For a grand total of 2 ml/0.07 oz, it’s EUR 20.00 / GBP 18.00 / USD 24.00. But you don’t need to use very much.
(2) Hit or miss on the one and only shade – and there are better plain concealers out there, if wearing this alone.
(3) Some alternatives: Laura Mercier Secret Concealer #1, TheBalm Time Balm (less peachy-pink: try the Lighter than Light or the Light). It and the LM have a waxier texture, are moister, and work out cheaper.
INGREDIENTS: water – isononyl isononanoate – cyclomethicone – cyclopentasiloxane – methyl methacrylate crosspolymer – butylene glycol – glycerin – cetyl peg/ppg-10/1 dimethicone – hexyl laurate – polyglyceryl-4 isostearate – silica – sodium chloride – disteardimonium hectorite – polyglyceryl-3 ricinoleate – sorbitan oleate – peg-30 dipolyhydroxystearate – magnesium stearate – polyhydroxystearic acid – alcohol – isopropyl titanium triisostearate – disodium edta – ethylhexyl-glycerin – phenoxyethanol – sorbic acid – triethoxycaprylylsilane – bht. +/- ci 77891/titanium dioxide – ci 77019/mica – ci77491/77492/77499/iron oxides.
* Che confusione … The other Instant Light concoctions are:
— the Complexion Perfector (a shimmery base/highlighter),
— the Perfecting Touch (a concealer: a bit like YSL Touche Éclat),
— and the Lip Perfector (a lip base).
Clarins also have an Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch (a siliconey line- and pore-reducing base), in a wider white tube.

Worse still, the Eye Perfecting Base (our friend here) and the Perfecting Touch (the concealer) are both slim brush-tipped pen devices. The latter is red. This one here that’s the subject of this review is white.
And all the writing on the products is rather small. Sorry: discreet and sophisticated.
** Issue here: pale eyelids with freckles and a lot of blueness, and similar blue patches in the corner under the eye and next to the nose, where the skin is very thin–curses on really thin skin, every blood vessel is visible, and the eyes rolling around underneath when closed… maybe too much detail this close to Hallowe’en. Salmon-peaches neutralise blue-purples.

Clinique – Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder  rated 2 of 5 gingerrama on 11/2/2007 6:22:00 PM

This review is for 01 – STAY BUFF.
A pressed powder that does its job, nothing spectacular, and a bit too drying – my skin became ashy and flaky through the day. The powder is quite finely milled, enabling an almost imperceptibly discreet coat. Easy to apply. It could be topped up without looking too heavy, depending on your skin; but, having slightly dry skin, I don’t top up. This colour nearly works on paler skin – only if using a light coat. As it’s apparently the lightest colour (I tried translucent too) and the compact powder most suited to drier skin, that’s not really satisfactory.
This was bought as a replacement for a Boots No. 7 powder (Perfect Light Pressed Powder in Translucent), which was nondescript – not in a bad way, it was OK. I’ve now come to appreciate what a very nice powder it is (see review) and returned to it, duly chastened and contrite.
The Boots had in turn been bought as a replacement for my gorgeous favourite pressed powder, unavailable in Ireland and I think discontinued: Clinique Soft Finish. Gentle Light was also nice. Clinique have reduced their pressed powder range to a grand total of two: this one for combination through drier skins, and another for the oilier. Again, not good enough!
So – looking for a powder to give a light finish, normally used as my only face makeup (not counting eyes; it’s a basic human right to prettify light lashes). I have pale skin with some freckles, and besides not really needing any evening-out of the complexion beyond the odd dab of concealer, foundations are a disaster area given the skin-matching issues. A warning to other pasty-faced people out there: Clinique’s not too friendly towards us. I went back to complain about the powder, and a SA tried to sell me one thing that looked orange and another that was chalky over freckles and made me look dead, buried, and dug up a few days later… ah, one day, Prescriptives custom blend, one happy day…
On dryish to really very dry skin, the powder-lover might also like to try Lavera, Dr Haushka, Origins, Clarins, and Prescriptives. The latter is also, as ever, the best bet for the best skin-tone match.
UPDATE: Leaving skin looking dull, and drying it out. Down to 2 lippies. I’ve abandoned this and have returned to the Boots No. 7: it’s better, cheaper, and they had a voucher that made it half-price.
INGREDIENTS: talc – octyldodecyl stearoyl stearate – calcium stearate – calcium silicate – trimyristin – nylon-12 – ppg-12/smdi copolymer – methicone – dimethicone – hydrogenated lecithin – tetrasodium edta – phenoxyethanol – methylparaben – propylparaben – [+/- mica – bismuth oxychloride (ci 77163) – titanium dioxide (ci 77891) – iron oxides (ci 77491, 77492, 77499) – ultramarines (ci 77007) – carmine (ci 75470) – manganese violet (ci 77492)]

2 comments

  1. Sara Bergeron

    Hi,

    I have been using Aveda Inner light dual foundation (Teak tone) for over 10 years and now it’s been discontinued. According to the Aveda specialist, almond or Ginger should’ve done the trick but in fact, they don’t so I am back to square 1 because I can’t find in Aveda a tone that fits my skin tone. I loved it because my nose tends to get red (no clue why) and I can apply this product several times a day and only on my nose or cheeks easily. Would you happen to know another product that could do the same job… 😦

    • gingerama

      Sorry 😦 I never could use Aveda’s skin makeup, too many irritants (starting with tournmaline). Their stuff is often very similar–same parent company–to Origins, so their foundation might be worth a look? Otherwise, and if you’re staying with sorta-kinda-“greener” ones-ish: CARGO, FACE Atelier, Ilamasqua, Stila, Tarte, Too Faced. Plus indies, for great colour-matching, like Alima and Silk Naturals.

      If I were you, I would also try to investigate what’s causing the redness. Could be rosacea, sebhorrheic dermatitis, or all manner of other things that are all proper actual clinical conditions and for which you can get proper medical help. Fixing root causes is always a better solution, in the long term, than applying temporary cosmetic patches. Also, there might be other conditions involved or associated, and fixing all that would provide benefits to general health.

      I’m currently using and loving Silk Naturals cream HD foundation (C10).

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