The best mineral foundations aren’t what you’d expect

Anna Hunter 13 September 2018
Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

1 / 10

The best mineral foundations aren’t what you’d expect

Mineral makeup can have a bit of a holier than thou rep- you’re aware it might be better for your skin owing to the fact that it generally doesn’t contain fragrance, mineral oil, talc or potentially drying alcohol (although always check the ingredients list), but on the other hand, its traditional powdered format isn’t for everyone, as the fine particles can clog pores . Some love the light coverage and velvety feel of a loose mineral foundation, but these days there are liquid, gel, stick and hydrating cream foundation formulas that bring the generally sensitive skin friendly benefits of mineral makeup to a wider range of skin types. In fact, probably the vast majority of foundations you’ll see on shelves these days contain minerals of some description, so the ‘mineral’ labelling is often a little deceptive. That said, here’s our edit of heavily mineral based foundations on the market, from full coverage to barely there.

2 / 10

Bareminerals Barepro Performance Wear Liquid Foundation, SPF 20 £29 for 30ml

Great for: Full coverage for combination and oily skins.

I’m going out on a limb here to say that this is hands down one of my favourite foundation launches of the past few years: it’s creamy, smooth and easy to apply, covers redness, blemishes and uneven skin tone and lasts throughout the day without going claggy. Mineral pigments are suspended in a lipid rich formula for long lasting coverage and hydration, and papaya enzyme helps to lightly exfoliate and improve skin texture as you wear it. If you swerve mineral foundations because you’re spot prone or due to the fact that they don’t offer enough colour or coverage, this is one for you. There are thirty shades too, which trumps many loose mineral offerings.

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3 / 10

Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation, £32 for 12g

Great for: Oily skin.

With 40 spot-on shades and kaolin clay to mop up t-zone shine, this silky smooth powder provides medium coverage and doesn’t come off remotely cakey or chalkly. I find that it applies best with a sponge or Beauty Blender rather than a brush, and the fact that it’s fragrance-free, talc-free and water based makes it ideal for sensitive and reactive skins.

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4 / 10

MAC Mineralize Moisture SPF 15 Foundation, £30 for 30ml

Great for: Dry skin.

A nourishing yet lightweight medium coverage foundation that glides on evenly, doesn’t cling to dry patches and makes even the most tired skin look more radiant. Apparently it contains a whopping 77 minerals, and while we’re not sold that they all bring bonafide skin benefits to the table, the refreshing, hydrating formula, extensive shade range and fragrance-free status wins big plaudits from us.

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5 / 10

Bareminerals Original Foundation SPF 15, £27 for 8g

Great for: Old skool mineral makeup devotees.

The mother of all loose mineral foundations, this classic ‘swirl and buff’ base has a cult following, likely owing to its light feel, minimalist ingredient list (just five) and smooth finish. It’s been on the scene for 20 years and many swear by its customisable coverage, although if you’ve got active acne, pigmentation or scarring, you might find you need something more heavy duty coverage wise.

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6 / 10

NYX Mineral Stick Foundation, £5.95

Great for: Two-in-one coverage- you can spot apply as a concealer too.

This fragrance-free mineral base is currently on sale, which is excellent news from a happy face and healthy funds point of view, but it does mean that it could be tricky to get hold of in some shades. Which is a shame, because it’s a good ‘un. Matte without being dull, it blends well and covers blemishes without looking obvious, and the fragrance-free formula is most welcome from a skin health point of view. It layers without telltale tidemarks, and while it’s not the most long lasting of the bunch, it’s easy and handy to reapply.

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7 / 10

PUR Cosmetics 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup SPF 15, £24 for 8g

Great for: A luminous finish.

If you associate powders with a ghostly matte pallor, this mica based mineral option will change your mind- it’s somehow glowy, even when layered. You don’t need much if you’re after to light to medium coverage, but while this also claims to sideline as a concealer and SPF as well as a foundation and finishing powder, it’s not really strong enough to accomplish either (coverage is on the sheer side, SPF is too low and you’re likely to miss bits in application). Despite this, it enhances without caking and looks convincingly ‘skinny’. There are eight shades to choose from, so could do better there, but they do cover the colour spectrum from very light to deep.

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8 / 10

Nude by Nature Flawless Liquid Foundation, £25 for 30ml

Great for: A non-nonsense matte effect.

If nothing but opaque matte will do, and you’re after an oil-free, fragrance-free formula, this Aussie base could hit the spot. It’s full coverage and a little goes a long way- apply too much and the end result could be mask-like, so go easy.

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9 / 10

Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Mineral Powder Foundation SPF 20, £26 for 8.33g

Great for: doing your makeup on the go.

Get this out on the train to irk your fellow commuters (according to to a BBC commuter survey  “people doing their makeup on the train is a regular source of complaint”). This sleek compact will ensure that you’re far less likely to drop face powder on nearby passengers. This is a very.big.issue according to male travellers especially, but that’s fine you guys just carry on manspreading and boshing us in the face with your rucksack.

Anyway, back to the face powder, the mechanism of this is cool- you ‘grind’ the compact wheel to shave off enough (*more than enough) powder for a light, matte but not flat layer of colour, and the puff within works it into skin beautifully. The mirror’s handy for full-face makeup application, and while this won’t cover spots, scars or discolouration, it’s brilliant for days when you feel confident to go bare skin, if you’re coming out of the other side of a skin reaction or post procedure - it’s fragrance-free, talc-free and offers a degree of SPF and antioxidant defence. On a less positive note, the shade range desperately needs to be extended.

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10 / 10

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Gel Touch Foundation, £43 for 11g

Great for: dewy ‘no makeup makeup’

Slightly in line with Gabrielle Chanel’s “before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off” mantra, this is very subtle as far as coverage goes, but it somehow gives skin a lift anyway, although you’ll need to go in with a concealer afterwards if you’ve got any breakouts, dark spots or redness going on. You might be wondering what the point is, but the mineral pigments do create a smooth, ‘lit’ effect, and the  hyaluronic acid  rich gel formula makes skin look plump and healthy. One for low key makeup days when you’d like a bit of a boost but not a full face.

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