How to Choose the Right Shade of Mineral Foundation

Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation MakeupChoosing the right color makeup is always challenging, so in today’s post I’m going to give you some tips on how to choose the right shade of mineral foundation. Mineral makeup is an extremely popular makeup for acne prone skin, but picking the correct shade is more difficult because of the powdery consistency. Oily skin can make it look darker after it has sat on your skin for a little while. At the same time, the type of lighting in stores or at home can give a deceptively lighter or darker look.

Here are a few tips for making sure you get the perfect, natural look you want with your mineral powder foundation:

1. Pick at least 2 or 3 shades to test out, so that you can compare them.

2. Put the three colors next to each other against your jaw line. That where you will want to make sure that your makeup “disappears”, so that you avoid the dreaded mask look.

3. Use whatever moisturizer you normally apply underneath makeup and let it set first.

4. If you have sensitive skin and tend to get a little red, let it calm down after wiping off your existing makeup.

5. If your skin is oily, try picking a slightly lighter shade than your natural color. It can get darker as your skin gets oily.

6. If your skin is dry, pick a color that matches exactly. If you go too light, you will look chalky.

7. Don’t just listen to the salesperson’s opinion. Bring a friend to give honest advice on color.

8. Check the color in different parts of the store under different lighting. Take a mirror and look at it in natural daylight as well.

9. Whether you buy your foundation in a store or online, ask for a sample or two to bring home and try out. Online stores will often provide them as well.

10. If worse comes to worse, you can mix two shades of foundation to get one that  matches your skin exactly.

A couple of final notes:

  • Always try to let your foundation sit on your skin for an hour or so before you make a decision. Just go off and do some shopping or something else. Then come back and look again.
  • Remember to blend the foundation over your jaw line, otherwise you might still look like you’re wearing a mask – even if the shade matches exactly!

Even if you follow my tips on how to choose the right shade of mineral foundation, it’s possible that you won’t get it perfect the first time. So, make sure you keep all your receipts. I’ve never had a time where a store or website wouldn’t take back makeup that didn’t suit me.

Bare Escentuals Matte Mineral MakeupP.S. Here’s a few of my absolute favorite brands of mineral makeup for sensitive, acne prone skin:

Bare Minerals SPF 15 Matte Foundation – for oily skin

Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation – for more sensitive skin

Good luck and feel beautiful!

Acne Medicine and Makeup: Best Two in -One Products

It’s difficult to combine acne medicine and makeup into one product without overdrying your skin. In fact, you have to be extremely careful not to add too much acne treatment medicine with a makeup that already has some in it. However, there are a few products that have gotten great reviews from users. They work best on people with mild acne and/or very oily skin. Here’s a round-up of the best ones in my own order of preference:

Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Foundation: This foundation for acne prone skin is particularly good for those with oily skin. It provides moderate coverage and a matte finish. You will still have to carry around some blotting powder or papers, but it does help with mild acne. It also has some colors for very fair skin.

Bare Minerals Rare Minerals Blemish Therapy: This is described as a treatment, but it actually provides some coverage as well. It contains Bare Escentuals rare minerals, so it doesn’t interact with any other acne medicine you are using. I like the fact that I can put some on at night and it reduces the redness of any pimples I put it on.

Murad Acne Treatment Concealer: This will only help with very small blemishes, but gives decent coverage. Since it also contains salicylic acid, be careful about combining it with your current treatment, if you use one. It comes in the perfect size for carrying around in your purse.

Cover FX Acne Treat and Conceal Kit: This kit contains travel size versions of a full line of Cover FX acne products. People mostly love the primer, which has the acne medicine in it. Otherwise, this is best for people with very oily skin since it can be chalky looking. Also, you have to get lucky with the colors since they are very limited. However, it’s a terrific value.

Philosophy’s On a Clear Day Acne Clarifying Primer: A primer that contains salicylic acid for treatment, Philosphy’s primer is more for preventing breakouts and smoothing over anything you already have. Helps makeup go on more smoothly.

Neutrogena Skin Clearing Liquid Foundation: Your only real drugstore cosmetic option, Neutrogena’s foundation doesn’t provide much coverage but can be good for people with very mild acne. You can’t beat the price.

Have any other acne makeup products with medicine in them that you love? Let all of us know!

What Makeup is Good for Oily Acne Skin?

One of the most common questions I get asked has to do with what makeup is good for oily acne skin. This is probably because oily skin is the most prone to acne.  Teens, in particular, tend to have oily skin due to the hormonal changes they are dealing with during puberty.

The most important thing to look for in a makeup for oily skin is staying power. Most foundations and concealers seem to melt off as the day goes on, leaving all those blemishes out there for the world to see. The trick is to find a foundation and concealer that are relatively long lasting, then combine them with a good primer, such as Tarte’s Clean Slate, and a setting powder. The final, essential item is a good blotting powder or blotting sheets to carry with you throughout the day.

bareMinerals MATTE SPF 15 FoundationMineral makeup is one great solution for oily skin since it doesn’t have most of the additives that liquids and creams have. My favorite mineral makeup brand for skin that is oily and acne prone is Bare Mineral Matte foundation. It doesn’t have the irritating and shimmery bismuth oxychloride of other formulations, and it helps absorb oil during the day. You will need to use the bareMineral multi-tasking concealer before and after applying the foundation if you have a lot of acne to cover. Finish everything off with some of their Mineral Veil.

Make Up Forever Foundation for Oily SkinAs a liquid foundation for oily acne skin, the overwhelming consensus among reviewers is Make Up Forever Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation. It gives full coverage, controls shine, is both oil free and water resistant, and has a wide range of colors. Sound too good to be true? Well, I haven’t tried it myself yet, but it received an average 4 1/2 star out of 5 star rating from over 2,000 user reviews. It is definitely at the top of my list of foundations to try once the summer and hot weather comes around.

If you like a creamy foundation and have a lot of difficulty concealing redness and acne on your oily skin, consider Cover FX makeup as your ultimate concealer and long lasting makeup. Cover FX has a cult following of its own, since it has the widest range of skin tone shades I’ve ever seen. If you can’t find a shade to match your skin from this makeup line, you never will. Their Cover FX Total Coverage Cream Foundation tops the charts with its reviews and there is a great starter kit. It does have sunscreen in it, so if you are sensitive to chemical sunscreen this product is not right for you. However, it also contains calming ingredients to combat redness.

The Big Cover Up 3 Step Essentials Kit (5 piece)Cover FX has their own line of setting powders to go with your foundation that will make it last all day. You can get a complete kit, The Big Cover Up 3 Step Essentials Kit (5 piece), to get you started with the whole shebang. The main thing to remember with this foundation is that you must use a primer with it. Otherwise it will be difficult to blend since it is so thick. With such a great range of colors, you could just use it as a concealer on its own.

As a quick recap, here are the top makeup foundations for oily acne skin, based on our own tests and hundreds and hundreds of user reviews:

Mineral Makeup: Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals MATTE SPF 15 Foundation

Liquid Foundation: Make Up Forever Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation

Cream Foundation: Cover FX The Big Cover Up 3 Step Essentials Kit (5 pieces)

MAC Blotting Powder for Oil Control

MAC Blot Powder for Oily Skin

Don’t forget to use a primer to protect your skin and to allow the makeup to go on smoothly and last all day. For extra coverage, you can use the concealers that go with each brand, or mix and match. Just remember that you can’t mix a powdery mineral makeup with a creamy concealer. The result would be a cakey mess.

P.S. I almost forgot the best part! Carry blotting sheets with you during the day to absorb excess oil. Or try the MAC Blot Powder, which we recently reviewed and fell in love with.


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People with acne prone skin are forever searching for the best powder foundation. We want something that will conceal any current acne or old acne scars, but still look natural. Below, I have listed my own favorites plus some other top-rated powder foundations that I’m going to try for myself. I made a note of a couple that made me break out also, even though they are highly rated. Those foundations may work well for some people. They just didn’t work for me.

My personal top picks that I have tried:

Bare Minerals Matte Foundation:

This mineral powder foundation is a consistent winner of beauty awards and is the most popular mineral makeup out there. I like the Matte formula because it doesn’t contain bismuth oxychloride, which can make some people break out and gives a shinier finish. If you need extra coverage, you’ll want to use the bare mineral multi tasking concealer first. You can even use the concealer, then the foundation, then more concealer if you are having a really bad day!

Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation
– Brand New!

I was so excited when I heard that Korres was now selling a mineral foundation. I fell in love with their products about a year ago and, while the product selection is limited, they are all natural and high quality. I used their Wild Rose liquid foundation for a while, but it can be a little too shiny for me at times. Their mineral powder foundation is definitely less matte than the Bare Minerals, which is a big plus when your skin is feeling a little dry. I haven’t been using it long enough to give a full review for my own skin, but the Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation is topping the charts everywhere. If you find the Bare Mineral matte foundation too dry looking, then you should definitely try the new Korres one.

Tarte Provocateur Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation

Tarte’s pressed mineral powder is my go-to compact when my skin doesn’t need as much coverage and I just want a very natural look. I put on a little concealer where needed, use the sponge to dab on the powder, and the look is about as natural as you can get. This is an all-natural product, so it’s great for sensitive skin. As with the Korres products, the colors are a little limited. I was lucky that I found one that perfectly matched my skin tone.

Benefit Hello Flawless Compact Powder Foundation

If Tarte is the one I go to for lighter coverage, Benefit’s Hello Flawless is the compact powder foundation I use when my skin is having a tough day. When you use the sponge that comes with it, the coverage is phenomenal. There is also a brush you can use when you want light coverage, but I find it fairly useless. If I want some straight powder on my face, I go with the Tarte pressed powder or the new Korres mineral foundation. Benefit’s Hello Flawless has also been great for me in the summer when my skin is a little more oily.

Korres Wild Rose Compact Powder

Well, by now you guessed that I like Korres makeup.  The Korres Wild Rose Compact Powder gives more moderate coverage, somewhere between Hello Flawless and Tarte’s compact powder. It is another all natural powder foundation and gives a slightly more dewy finish to the ones by Tarte and Benefit. I have only one complaint here. The shades are very limited and I am in between two of them. I love the consistency, but I can only use it in the summer, when I have a little more color.

Also top-rated, but I haven’t tried them all:

Lancome Dual Finish Powder Foundation

I used to use this foundation for years and love the feel of it. The only problem I have now is that I can’t find a color that matches my skin tone. What happened? Either my skin got lighter or they changed the formula. It is not an unscented makeup, but that never bothered me in the past. If only they had a shade that matched my skin, I would buy this again in a second.

MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation

MAC Studio Fix is reported as being good for oily skin. I haven’t tried it myself, but many people love it. They said it is lightweight, but covers well. However, there are a few others who say it was too heavy and chalky and clogged their pores. Go figure! MAC’s Studio Fix powder foundation has very high ratings at most online stores, so if you are a MAC user then it would probably be great for you. Otherwise, make sure you go to a physical store and try it out first. At the minimum, make sure you can return it online.

Laura Mercier Powder Foundation

This one is a little pricey, but a consistent winner among users. It is best for summer months or if you have oily skin year-round. Buildable coverage and no break-outs reported, based on reading about a million reviews on the web! The downside is that it is not an all-natural, fragrance-free makeup. If you have very sensitive skin, you could have a problem.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Duo Mat Powder Foundation

Many people rate this as the best powder foundation ever. I guess I will have to try it next. Make Up Forever has an amazing line of cosmetics, including one of the best eyeliners on the market, so their foundation should be great also. The quick take from reviewers is that it is non-drying, has buildable coverage, and a natural finish. Good for oily skin.

Top rated, but made me break out:

Philosophy: The Supernatural. I tried this foundation after reading some great reviews. What a disaster! My face broke out right away and the makeup went straight back to the store.

Everyday Minerals. I really don’t understand why this mineral makeup didn’t agree with my skin. However, both my daughter and I broke out within a day or two. It just goes to show that just reading the ingredients is not enough. What works well for one person doesn’t necessarily work well for another, even if they have similar skin types.

Anything with chemical sunscreen. I use this as my first rule in picking out foundation. Anything that has a chemical sunscreen in it makes me break out. It is best to use a mineral sunscreen for sensitive skin first, then primer, then concealer and foundation. If you won’t be in the sun much, a mineral powder foundation with sunscreen is fine.

One last parting tip for you. Always use a primer before applying your foundation and it will go on smoother, look more natural, and last longer. As I’ve mentioned before, Tarte’s Clean Slate is my favorite primer that doesn’t make my skin break out.

Have any favorites not mentioned here? Please leave a comment and let everyone know.

The Best Acne Makeup

At Makeup for Acne, we are always searching for the best acne makeup.  Finding makeup that is safe for acne prone skin involves much more than just reading the label for ingredients.  Everyone’s skin reacts differently to specific ingredients and it is important to know this before blindly applying the latest product that everyone is raving about.  Know your own skin and what makes you break out.  Keep track of what is in a product that you have reacted to in the past.  Look for makeup and acne skin care products that have as few ingredients as possible.  And, most important of all, make sure you try out a new product on a small part of your face or neck to see what your reaction will be before putting it on your whole face.

A few of my favorite products:


Tarte Clean Slate Natural Face Primer

Clean Slate Natural Face Primer


Benefit Hello Flawless Custom Cover-Up with SPF 15

Hello Flawless Custom Cover-Up with SPF 15

Tarte Cosmetics Smooth Operator SPF 20 Foundation
Smooth Operator SPF 20 Foundation (1.7 fl oz.)


bareMinerals MATTE SPF 15 Foundation

bareMinerals MATTE SPF 15 Foundation Fair


bareMinerals Mineral Veil SPF 25

bareMinerals Mineral Veil SPF 25


Tarte The Eraser 4-in-1 Natural Concealer

The Eraser 4-in-1 Natural Concealer


Kinerase Clear Skin Moisture Light

Kinerase Clear Skin Moisture Light

Some of the products I list are not necessarily designed or marketed for acne prone skin, but I’ve had great results with them.  In fact, many makeup products that are made specifically for acne can aggravate your skin further if you are already using an acne treatment.  Ingredients like salicylic acid, often added to acne makeup, can overdry your skin if you have already applied something like benzoyl peroxide. Consider your own skin’s sensitivity and how dry or oily it is before selecting a product.

Have fun trying out different makeup!

-Sharyn

P.S. I often go to the sites advertised on the right to explore reviews on different products. Don’t just listen to sales associates in cosmetic stores. They are often just promoting the latest makeup they’ve been trained on. Use the websites online to get real user reviews. You can always return something if it doesn’t work out for you.

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