Merle Norman Powder Base

4.1

33 reviews

78% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.8

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.8

Price: $$

INGREDIENTS

Zinc Oxide (CI 77947), Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Water (Aqua), Paraffin, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Iron Oxides (CI 77489, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Fragrance (Parfum), Lecithin, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Talc, Sodium Borate 120905


on 6/28/2015 1:28:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Dry, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Red, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

This product was very nostalgic to me - this and the Miracol mask. When I was a teenager in the 60's I was fascinated with Merle Norman. At that time I could only afford Woolworth cosmetics and was always on the hunt for acne products or "medicated" makeups. My skin was crazy oily with breakouts in the T zone. I lived in suburban Chicago with high humidity and no A/C in our house. At high school I would sit with a couple of "older" students in the cafeteria before the first bell rang. One of them wore the Powder Base, liquid eyeliner and some cream blush from Merle Norman, which she would apply while we waited for the first bell. She didn't have oily skin like I did and would smooth it on. I had a unique fragrance, but the creamy consistency scared me off. I have always been fascinated with makeup, watching women apply makeup, seeing what products they use, and the transformative power of makeup. When I got older (my 20's), I think I tried the Powder Base again, but I can't remember with what results. I became "obsessed" with it again, now that my skin is no longer oily and I actually prefer creamy foundations. I live in the SF Bay Area now, and Merle Norman is not so easy to find now that I no longer live in the "burbs". I found a store and purchased the Powder Base in Porcelain and the Miracol liquid mask, so have recently started using it. The smell/fragrance is the same and takes me back. The price is very reasonable ($20) for the amount of product. My Powder Base's packaging does not match the photos on the web; it has a plain white base and a plain silver tone top....no labels or letters or insignias or design of any kind. Maybe franchisees have the option of selling cheap containers vs fancy ones??? Oh well. The first time I wore it, I went to an upscale restaurant and sat at the counter. Two attractive, well-dressed women and a man were seated next to me. One of the women complemented my nail polish and asked what color it was; the other woman said "I wanted to complement your skin; you complexion looks beautiful!" Whoa Maybe I need to work this stuff into the "rotation" of Giorgio Armani Maestro, and MAC cream foundation more often. I use my fingers to put it on. A little goes a long way and it smooths on easily. It doesn't look or feel heavy, but somehow does manage to conceal imperfections. I need to figure out how much moisturizer to use with it because I don't want to look shiny. I don't use powder. In some of the reviews I noticed that people didn't understand why it was called "Powder Base"...wondering if it was a creme to powder formulation. It is simply a base for powder, but in my case it is just a canvas for blush and eye makeup. When I apply this, the scent of the product remains on my skin; this might be off-putting for some if they don't like (this) fragrance. I am going to start with 3 lippies, and will update it after I have worn it a few more times and under different conditions: heat, cold, less moisturizer, more moisturizer, during and after exercise class.

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.



on 12/4/2014 7:04:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I am 50 years old and have been using select Merle Norman products, since I was 12 years old. (I have used Merle Norman "cold cream" every night for 38 years and it shows.) I have rosacea and Merle Norman Powder Base is the ONLY thing that I can put on my skin, when it flairs. I do use Chanels' Lingerie de Peau when all is well but I always have powder base on hand. Great Product!!! Very healing and great coverage...

8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.


on 8/13/2014 6:30:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I can't believe that I'm about to review this. I used to cuss this foundation. For reasons that won't be detailed here. However, I have been on the hunt for an HG foundation. Who would have thunk it!? As a previous reviewer mentioned, I tried Gerda Spillman before. It was an excellent foundation. However, it never seemed to provide the exact, adjustable coverage I need. I decided to give this a try because it is inexpensive and because no one has ever had more perfect skin than the stars in old movies, despite all the cigarettes they smoked. Their skin was perfect because of foundations like this one. It has literally been on the market that long. It was $16 at my local studio. I applied it over Tarte primer (the one that minimizes pores) using a foundation brush. I then used silica powder over it. My skin looks fabulous. I may try a Beauty Blender at some point as well. Didn't even bother with a concealer.

The colors are scary in the container. I'm an 01 in Guerlain Lingerie de Peau and I wear Porcelain in Merle Norman Powder Base. My skin is combo/dry lately. Oilier skin folks likely will not love it, but anyone can try a sample of any shade first. Glad I gave it a try. I look refreshed.

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.


on 8/13/2014 2:47:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Combination, Medium, Neutral

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

This stuff is just amazing! I've tried to make friends with it a few times over the years with varying results, but now I'm hooked. It may not keep me from checking out a new foundation every once in a while, but the hunts and any serious straying should be over!

Once upon a time, I tried a foundation from Gerda Spillmann. It was gorgeous, but did a number on my eyes. That was many years ago, but it's still my standard of comparison. And Powder Base comes pretty close, especially now that I've discovered a few tricks.

I apply it with a barely damp Beauty Blender, though if you don't mind cleaning brushes, it also looks lovely using the Urban Decay Optical Blurring Brush. It has enough coverage to work as a concealer, too. It can be used with or without powder. On my VERY combination skin I prefer it without. The biggest trick is to blot it after a few minutes. I just use folded toilet paper. What comes off on the paper is a little horrifying--oily tinted residue. But this blotting makes it look natural even in daylight (and the rear view mirror), and makes it last, with or without powder. My makeup goes on by 7:30am, and doesn't get taken off until sometime between 11 and midnight. And it' still there, even without powder, and the only touch up may be another tissue blot. Not only does it come off easily with the Clarisonic, it also rinses clean from the bristles.

Do not panic when you see the color in the pan. Mine looks so wrong--and nothing like the colors of others that work. But when I'm rested (I.e., when my skin is fairly smooth) I can actually have difficulty seeing where I've already applied it! When I'm finished, it may look a little bit greasy, but the blot takes care of that and makes it just about invisible. Somehow it still provides good coverage. Magic, I tell you. In a zillion shades and less than 20 bucks.

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.


on 12/25/2013 4:32:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Fine

Eyes: Blue

Update (12/27/2013): I've been using this all week now, and I love it!!! After a short time, it melds into my skin, and it doesn't get greasy or oily. My usually oily nose stays shine-free. No skin irritation or issues. At the end of the day, most of the makeup is still there to remove. So happy I found this again!


I am one of those that used Powder Base in my early 20's. That was over 40 years ago.

I've been through every kind of foundation over the years. Liquid, cream, powder, stick, spray-on, you name it. I've tried long-wearing, and haven't found one yet that lives up to it's reputation. I always wind up with a grease-slick of a nose, no matter what. I've yet to find a foundation that I couldn't give up.

I came here to read some reviews after realizing Powder Base is still in existence, and became curious about trying it again.

I swear, as emollient as this foundation is in the pot, it amazes me!!! It blends in easily, and there's loads of color shades. It does not get over oily/greasy, it has a lasting finish, and it doesn't seem to settle into lines. I have to say I'm fascinated with this foundation, and think it's a find beyond belief! I'm sold on Powder Base, and plan on sticking with it. What's old is new, as they say, and I can see why this has stood the test of time.

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.


on 5/12/2013 5:32:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Grey

Finding this product was a huge score for me.

My good friend from college always had that beautiful, I-wish-I-looked-like-you skin. I used to eye her makeup bag when she would be getting ready with me to go out so I could see how she achieved the Dewey-but-not-greasy look. One day I finally just asked her and found out what it was. "Powder base?" I said. "You mean.. Old lady makeup?!" Apparently her mother and grandmother habe always used it and had beautiful skin. I had to have it. You can imagine my excitement when I picked up some powder base (ivory) and realized it was only $16.99. That is cheaper than any of their other foundations! i began to worry that it wouldnt work as well. My friend applies hers with a wet foundation brush, so I did the same. Sure enough, I was able to get that gorgeous Dewey skin.

The real plus with this stuff is that, even though it is a very moisturizing foundation, it does NOT break me out. And believe me, my sensitive skin will find any and every reason to break out. This stuff has actually helped my acne due to the zinc oxide in it!!! Total score. I will repurchase again and again. :)

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.


Age: 36-43

Skin: Very Oily, Fair, Warm

Hair: Red, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I found this review completely by accident. I don't remember how I stumbled upon it, but I was very intrigued.

I have very oily and acne prone skin, but now, in my forties, I am also dealing with the issues that come with aging skin; dryness, loss of luminosity, uneven tone and texture, fine lines...and unfortunately, foundations formulated for oily skin exacerbate all those issues. It's been a challenge finding something that meets the needs of both oily and aging skin.

So as I said, I stumbled upon this review and my interest was piqued. As it happens, there is a Merle Norman boutique very close to my workplace, so I stopped in to give it a looksee. The SA was helpful but not overbearing. She made several suggestions, but ultimately I did decide to try the powder base. I was a little skeptical as it seemed very emollient...verging on greasy. But because of the healing properties it purportedly has and the non chemical sun protection (I HATE foundations with chemical sunscreens) as well as the fact that they have a very liberal return policy, I decided to risk it.

As I was applying, my skepticism was unabated. It seemed very, very dewy and didn't seem to set. It looked shiny, even greasy. I was pretty sure that I had made a grave mistake. But as it sat on my skin, it just kind of...disappeared. It like...melted and became one with my skin. It was SO amazingly natural. Even the color, which I initally thought was too dark, was absolutely perfect. I did set with powder, which minimized the shininess, but still left a nice, natural luminosity.


As for how it stood up to my oily skin, amazingly, I did not have to powder for about 4 hours. And then, it really didn't get greasy and gross, just a little dewy. I blotted and was just fine. The product did not break own or become streaky or patchy. After 8 hours, I still looked fresh and natural. I was suitably impressed. I would have expected such an emollient product to leave me dripping with oil in an hour or two, but it didn't. That is HUGE.


Coverage is what I would consider medium, but it can easily be built up without cakiness. I have a few dark spots that it covered easily with just a few extra dabs with my sponge. The best part is that you can achieve wonderful results and good coverage with very little product.


The fragrance is a little strong, yes. But it's not altogether unpleasant. I've used foundations that had a very heavy chemical/paint smell, but that is not the case with this. If I had to describe it I would say it's more of a heavy floral smell. For the first hour it seemed very pronounced and then I didn't notice it any more. It's not a deal breaker for me.


I've only worn this for two days, so I can't comment on the healing properties but I am really, really impressed with the finish, the coverage, the natural appearance, and the lasting power. I think I'm sold.

12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.


on 3/14/2013 3:03:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I have very sensitive skin and have a hard time finding foundations that do not cause reactions. I worked for Merle Norman as a teen and wore the powder base back in those days, even when my skin was quite oily. I eventually became a skin care professional and sold and used much more expensive products but when my skin is giving me problems I often return to Merle Norman. Years ago their oil free moisturizing lotion was one of the few that was approved by my dermatologist and yet felt like it did something, I always keep it on hand. When my skin is reactive I get out my powder base, the zinc oxide in it calms it down well and if I wet my fingers and face slightly I can can a nice smooth finish. Not too heavy if you take your time, but if you want a very heavy coverage you can achieve it. This makeup has a great physical sunscreen in it, which is fantastic for those of us who are allergic to chemical sunscreens. The smell is a bit old fashioned and no one will be impressed by the label but it works well. Merle Norman also consistently matches my skin and that is not always possible in other lines.

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.


on 3/11/2013 4:04:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Very Dry, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I own three Merle foundations and like them all. I have Aquabalance, Lasting and Powderbase. All my Merle SA's kept pushing the other foundations on me but I finally tried this and love it. I paid $16.99 for this and it is worth the money. I have pale, dry skin and this does everything I want. I particularly like that it is moisturizing but stays all day. It isn't marketed for long-wear but I can see it washing off when I cleanse at night. Also, I use retin-a twice a week and this limits the peeling associated with that. This may be old school but it is worth a try. I love that it is so cheap but looks wonderful on. It holds it own against the other two foundations I use. I will say that I have yet to try a bad Merle foundation. The only drawback it that my color, ivory, is a tad dark. I use L10 in Aquabalance and Cream in Lasting. Both of the other colors are a perfect match.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.


Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I have a love/hate relationship with this powder base.
LOVE:
*The scent-and I dont know why.Its a sweet medicinal smell that's vintage like. Not floral at all...maybe cause its different. It doesn't last
*The zinc oxide is a great UVA blocker since I cant use chemical sunscreens, this is an added benefit.
*If I start to see a pimple come up, I wear this and by the next day its gone. Works better than acne medicine for me.
*The jar-simple black and white and retro looking. No printed lettering
looks great on the vanity.
HATE:
*I have winter dry skin right now, so I thought with the mineral oil this has in it, it would be emollient. It goes on that way but 3 hours later I have dry patches on my cheeks/chin/mouth. I've come to the conclusion that its the high amount of zinc. Did some research and sure enough zinc has absorbing properties-which explains why it does so well with occasional breakouts.
*The Alabaster beige I was matched with does not quite match my NC25. Its the right color just the wrong tone, but I can offset with powder/blush, except it makes me even more dry.
*Settles into my pores, so not liking the overall finish, but that could be because it makes me so parched.

This jar will last forever I'm sure, since I'm really only using once in awhile when I see a flare up. I will revisit in the warmer months and see if it makes me too dry then...I have a feeling it'll do great when I get oily in the summer. Zinc is a remarkable mineral!

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.


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