7 Days and 7 Nights of Mineral Makeup: Bare Essentuals

Perhaps some of us who were into mineral makeup (MMU) got started with Bare Essentuals (BE). If you're not one of us, consider yourself lucky! BE is a mineral makeup company that started it all. As I mentioned on the previous post, the founder of BE was the person who coined the term "mineral makeup". Located in San Francisco, CA, this MMU company is on top of the MMU market.

My first experience with MMU was from BE circa 2003. At that time, I started using makeup and was a poor undergraduate student. Needless to say, my makeup stash did not contain top-of-the-line items from expensive department store brands (and it still doesn't, I'm wondering why?!) So my skin did suffer a lot when I used harsh makeup around all day. And I was such a hard-working student who spent around 10-14 hours a day at school. By the time I got home, my makeup sat on my face for that long already and I did not have a good cleanser to remove it properly. So lesson learned: harsh makeup + inadequate cleanser = bad skin!

Then one day I watched TV and saw this commercial of this MMU company that claimed their makeup "is so gentle you can sleep on it". Then I saw how well their MMU covered the model's flaws. So I was hooked. Immediately, I placed an order from them and about 2 weeks later, it came to my door. Nice!

From 2003 until now, BE's introductory kit has gone through many different levels of transformations but generally you would expect these items come in the kit:
  • 2 foundation shades: one darker and one lighter. I ordered a medium light kit and it came in light and medium light.
  • a "warm" powder that acts like a bronzer and a blush: the "warm" powder is actually nice and I kept it around for a long time since it doesn't have expiration date.
  • an instructional DVD to show you how to apply plus some tips and tricks
  • 3 brushes: a kabuki brush, a foundation brush, and a concealer brush. Back in the day, the brushes that came with my kit were top quality. Now I heard people complain of how hard the bristles are.
  • some extra items: these change all the time. I got a half-moon brush and a portable compact. I think the current extra item is a cleanser but I'm not sure.
So how did it do for me, your beloved makeup blogger?

First of all, BE gives a good amount of mineral foundation per jar. Each mineral foundation jar contains 0.3 oz (about 5 grams) of finely milled powder so it is a lot of makeup to powder your face. Believe me when I said it because often times I had to weight 1 gram of substance and it was a lot of powder! Until I discarded the MMU from BE, I never got to the end of the jar. Secondly, the foundation has SPF15 so you get some extra sun protection on your face. Thirdly, it glides on smoothly and gives the look of regular makeup.

However, the downfall of BE is its ingredients. Besides mica, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide (common ingredients in MMU), BE makeup products also contains bismuth oxychloride which causes skin itch to those who are allergic to it. Bismuth oxychloride is a natural compound found in the earth so BE is right when saying their products are natural. By adding bismuth oxychloride, the product has a nice creamy texture and glides smoothly on your face. On top of that, it gives you a glow that you can't find in your regular foundation. It does sound good and look good to you unless you are allergic to it.

Since I'm allergic to it, I can tell you how I feel when I have a product with bismuth oxychloride applied to me: first it starts with a mild and tingling feeling starting from the cheeks, then as I sweat out, it will make my whole face itchy like a thousand ants marching on my face. Until I wash my face and brushes that touched the products, the itch will remain. About 2, 3 days later, some zits will pop up at random places on my face. So if you have the same feelings when you applied BE, chances are you're allergic to bismuth oxychloride as well.

So here are the pros and cons of BE:

You will like it if you:
  • are new to MMU and want to try MMU: it has a good starter kit with nice brushes and instructional DVD which I still use until today;
  • want to simplify your makeup routine: MMU takes less time to apply in my opinion and are quite goof-proof. I can confidently say MMU is also idiot-proof (sorry if I offend anyone but it's really idiot-proof!)
  • are not allergic to bismuth oxychloride;
  • want to do something better for your face: since MMU does not require any fillers, synthetic fragrance, collorants, and preservatives, your face have less possibility to have allergic reactions from such compounds;
  • like finely-milled MMU: BE's mineral foundations and makeup are very finely milled and does glide smoothly on your face. The second point thanks to bismuth oxychloride;
  • do not mind the messiness it brings to your life: the shifters in their MMU have big holes. Most of the time, I found out half of my powder are on top of the shifter and it's hard to get a small amount of makeup from it.
You will not like it if you:
  • are allergic to bismuth oxychloride: I'm not going to elaborate more on this point without making people think I'm holding grudge to BE. So let us move on to the 2nd point;
  • do not like to spend $60+ USD on the kit: the kit itself costs you $60 USD and you will also pay for shipping and handling. The total amount of money would be around $68-70USD. Also, if you decided to sign up for their auto shipping service, you will receive the kit every 3 months or 6 months;
  • have skin color that does not match the colors in the kit: although the kit allows you to mix colors, the formula of BE mineral foundations is not as forgiving as those from other companies. Unless you find the right shade, you end up with the color on your face looking different than your neck;
  • want a matte foundation: since bismuth oxychloride is involved, it gives your skin a glow that will transform into a greasy look once you go outside and sweat;
  • have oily skin: the faster way to achieve the greasy look is having oily skin. It took me about 15 minutes to go from glowy to oily when I did not even break a sweat.
My take on BE is: there are so many wonderful MMU companies out there that makes great products for a fraction of what BE costs. Therefore, you should not waste your money on them. If you already did, make sure not to throw away the brushes as they are made from good quality materials. I ditched BE for about 4 years now and have never looked back. And why should I since there are so many wonderful things out there for me!

Have fun y'all and stay tuned for tomorrow when I review Everyday Minerals.

Your Makeup Blogger