I *HATE* going to Merle Norman. I wish so badly that they sold their products online. I actually have to mentally prepare to walk into the store. I walk in, the door jingles and two associates simultaneously emerge from the back of the store with generic smiles on their faces. One of them approaches while the other stands back and smiles, not blinking....
SA: Hi! How can I help you today? (VERY enthusiastically)
ME: Umm, yes, I've heard good things about your Ultra Powder foundation and just wanted to pick out a shade. I'm kind of in a hurry.
SA: Great! Have a seat and I'll get that for you.
I sit on one of those high stools in front of a tabletop mirror and fidget uncomfortably while I watch her pull out various skincare products from beneath the counter. The other associate is still standing there, just staring....It is completely quiet.
ME: Ummm, I don't really have time to try on a lot right now. I just wanted to pick out a shade of the powder.
SA: (Looking around at products and seemingly confused) Oh, well, I was just going to put some tinted moisturizer on you first.
ME: Oh, that's okay. I'm just interested in the powder right now. But thanks.
SA: Okay, well I'm not sure if it will look the same without our other products.
(The same as what?)
So, she pulls out a horribly dark shade of powder (I'm super pale) and starts applying it to my jaw.
SA: Oh, that matches quite well.
ME: Oh, uhhh...I kind of want it to match my skin, not the redness in my face. Do you have a lighter shade?
SA: Well, let me see....I'm not sure.....(Fumbling around in her drawer). Maybe we should try some of the color correctors on instead.
ME: Nooooo.....that's okay.
So, I ended up politely asking her to ring up the lightest shade of powder so I could get the he** out of there. The powder itself is actually quite lovely, but can be a little too drying sometimes. I wear a good moisturizer underneath and the coverage is light to medium. I definitely have to wear a separate concealer on blemishes, as this only covers minor redness. It lasts well throughout the day too. I'm not sure if I would repurchase because 1) It contains fragrance, which actually isn't very offensive, but just unnecessary and 2) I'm not fond of paying $20+ for a powder foundation. But until I find something better, this is fine.
Oh, and I agree with everyone who's said that the packaging is U-G-L-Y. It's, like, Ivory and gold and the locking mechanism is total crap. Cheap and very off-putting. I bet if Merle Norman redesigned their packaging, they would earn some respect.
UPDATE: Well, I've been using this exclusively since my initial review and I have to say that it's probably the best powder foundation I've ever tried. I've been wearing mineral makeup for the past 8+ years and I forgot what "real" makeup felt like. LOL It's so light, yet it covers better than any of my mineral powders. The only drawback to this is that it does absolutely nothing for oil control. I do have to blot mid-day, but it's totally acceptable, considering the other benefits it provides. Oh, and I'm happy to report that the slight fragrance does not upset my skin AT ALL. =)
ANOTHER UPDATE 1/20/09 : This seems like it's the only foundation in the world that doesn't break me out. Oh, I forgot to add before, I'm a MAC NC15-20, LM Porcelain, usually the lightest shade of any brand. I purchased the lightest shade of this, Ultra Fair, but I could definitely go up a shade, which is what I'm going to do when I repurchase. Some people say this has a shimmery finish, but it's more like a SLIGHTLY satin matte. It's not shimmery at all. And for reference, this retails for $21.50.
UPDATE: 9/25/10 I picked this up in the ultra Cameo shade and I like it more than the Ultra Fair. It almost looks slightly too dark when I first apply it, but then it just sort of melds into my skin and looks very natural. It seems I really have to pack this on to get good coverage, but it lasts all day and keeps me mostly matte. They seem to have raised the price on this too. My last purchase was around $24.
UPDATE: 10/5/10 I'm no longer a Merle girl. I give up. The only thing I've liked even a little bit from the line is this and it's just too perfumed and chalky. The more I wear Ultra Cameo, the more it just looks too dark for me. I got some pictures back after wearing this at my son's birthday party and I just look orange and shiny. Ultra Fair is too light and the coverage just isn't that great unless you apply 10 layers. Honestly, I'm relieved to not have to go back there again. IMO, they're overpriced and mediocre. I'm much happier now with a $10 powder foundation I got from Mark cosmetics called Powder Buff foundation. The coverage is fantastic and the shades actually look like real skin. So....goodbye, Merle. It was nice knowing you...
I've been using this product for several years now. It is the best powder foundation that I've come across. Recently, I've started using this over Clinique's Almost Powder Foundation (because the Almost Powder covers the redness in my cheeks a lot better but leaves my face greasy). However, this product is perfect for setting the Almost Powder. It's like it seals it in and this product is fabulous at keeping the oil at bay throughout the day. I give it four lippies because worn alone it can be a little too drying.
Love, love, love this powder! You can wear over foundation, alone, or just dust on with a brush. It stays on me all day long and takes care of any oil problems I have! I apply it with the Merle Norman sponges instead of the pad it comes with and the coverage is so even. It has a wide selection of colors and will last you a long time!
I bought this based on all the great reviews but I was pretty dissapointed. The case first of all is just awful. It looks horrible on my bathroom counter, and needless to say its too big to take anywhere. It's so ugly...who is designing their packaging?! As for the powder itself, it's just ok.
I give this 3 lippies because it's not a horrible product. But I can find a powder that holds up the same and same color selection elsewhere for cheaper, like Origins or even Maybelline. I didn't find anything special about it or would make me rush back to pay $30-$40 for powder! Not worth it.
This powder I do not think is anything extraordinary it seems like it should be a drug store cheapo brand, it was 25.00 for 11g. At first it is perfect looking no pores and no fine lines, that only last for maybe a half and hour, I have worn this over the lasting foundation and alone, it is in ultra fair so is way to light for me to wear alone make me look like a ghost. I know the combination is horrible together, I have not tested to see how well this would work over a different foundation. But at this time Cover Girl, Max Factor, Clarins, and Chanel Powders are way better. Gave it two lippies for the original wow this looks perfect, may work great for a touch up before pictures.
This product is a very good dual purpose powder. It can be worn as a foundation for those who tend to have really good skin, oily, or younger skin. Or it can be used over other foundations for more coverage. I use it as a finishing/touch-up powder. The packaging is huge, imo.
Do not use this over the Luxiva Lasting Foundation. It will not work properly. The lasting foundation barely needs any powder at all as it is a hyper-matte finish. Use it by itself or over another, non-matte foundation.
Absolutly amazing product! This is the best foundation I've ever used! I have pretty nice skin (thanks mom and dad) so I don't need alot of coverage and this provides the perfect amount! I also love that its creamy and not drying like other powder foundations! I will continue to buy this for sure! My one complaint is the packaging but I'm not really picky about that stuff so who cares? I love this product!
I love this powder/foundation. I never wore any kind of makeup on my face besides blush and mascara. However, after reading all the great reviews about this product (especially about keeping oily skin in check and clearing up skin), I had to try it. And I'm glad I did. I like the way it makes my skin look. Even, clear, and not oily. Would definately buy again.
Overall this is a great foundation. Usually use Jane Iredale, but the cost of that is a bit steep for my everyday foundation. This covers well, and keeps the greasy forehead at bay. The fragrance is a bit much, but = do get used to it. Will repurchase.
I'm in the minority. I did NOT like this stuff. I'm sure for the right skin, it's a dream. I tried it alone, and slightly dusted on top of MN's Luxiva Lasting Foundation. It is so powdery that I decided to return it. I hate a "made up" powdery foundation face. Guess it's the talc, which I believe was the 1st or 2nd ingredient. Not for me. I will not repurchase.