Average Rating 4.4/5
Review by Missy
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...