I've been using this foundation off and on for two years, and I feel compelled to write a review, finally, because I've recently figured out how to really make this foundation work for me. When I first tried this foundation, I experimented with Fairly Light and Fair (knowing Light was definitely too yellow for my skintone). I needed a slightly deeper color, but at first it didn't occur to me to try the Medium shade range, since my skin is still fair-to-light. The key to the Medium shade range is that it contains the correct shades for light skin with pink-to-neutral undertones (as opposed to strong golden undertones, which the Light shade range has). I found that Medium is actually my closest shade match. I also own Fair (the palest color) and Medium Beige (a slightly deeper and more golden version of Medium). I mix all three colors together in different proportions depending on the time of year. Now I really like this foundation. A well-blended application on moisturized skin makes my face look glowing and even. I apply the Mineral Veil lightly on top of the foundation, then I pat my face lightly all over with damp hands to set the foundation and make it look less powdery and more natural.
Edit (12-27-2010): This lipstain is OK, but it could have a bit more staying power. I am a fan of lipstains because of their sheerness and the fact that they don't transfer onto drinking glasses or other things. This is a nice lipstain with average staying power. It wears off gradually, but the color does stay on your lips for several hours. I own the shades In The Buff, Feelin' Rosy, and Blushing. Blushing is my favorite shade; it's a clear cool berry shade, vivid but not too bright. (For reference, I am a light but not pale-skinned ash blond, and bright, sheer berry shades tend to look good on me.) In The Buff is ok for me - it is a neutral shade and adds color to the lips without an obvious makeup look. My least favorite, personally, is Feelin' Rosy. It is a warmer, almost hot, bright pink. However, I could see it being flattering on a warmer, deeper skin tone that favors hot, bright shades.
This is a very gentle toner with no added fragrance or alcohol. Nevertheless, it is slightly more astringent than DHC's Mild Lotion and contains glycolic acid to help exfoliate. It also contains a small amount of lemon fruit extract. I use it once a day, or sometimes I layer Mild Lotion on top to avoid overuse of glycolic acid and potential skin irritation.
This is a very gentle, lightly hydrating toner, which I've used off and on for several years now. My main skin concern is acne, and while I need products with stronger ingredients to fight acne directly, this toner complements them beautifully with its calming, hydrating effects. I like to layer an alcohol-free salicylic acid serum over this while the toner is still wet on my face, or a benzoyl peroxide lotion after the toner has dried. The toner never irritates my skin - on the contrary, it seems to form a buffer against harsher products.
I generally like DHC's toners and, since I have acne-prone skin, this seemed promising. It has an effective level of salicylic acid (2%). However, I found that it irritated my skin with daily use. The toner does contain a few synthetic ingredients as well as a cocktail of natural botanical ingredients which may be beneficial for some skins but may irritate others. I suspect the rosemary extract may have caused my skin to become irritated.
Powder -Neutrogena - Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation SPF 20
brindled_mer 10/13/2010 1:00:00 PM
This product provides surprisingly good coverage for a powder compact foundation. It is sheer coverage, but it evens out skin tone really nicely. It also does a great job of minimizing pores on my moderately oily skin, giving a fresh and smooth appearance. My main challenge has been choosing the right color. The first time (over a year ago), I chose Natural Ivory 20, and didn't feel totally satisfied with the color. I next tried Classic Ivory 10, which worked much better for me because it is just as fair, but with a more flattering golden tone that balances out the redness in my neutral-to-pink - toned skin. Now, however, it is early autumn and I have a slight tan from summer. Classic Ivory is looking a little too pale, so I tried Nude 40 because Buff 30 looked too pink. I think Nude 40 may just be a little too deep and golden for me, though. I may need to look elsewhere to find a truly neutral fair-beige shade (neither too pink nor too yellow) that works with my skintone. Until then, I will try blending Classic Ivory and Nude when I want to use this beautifully-textured foundation.
While I cannot rely on salicylic acid alone to control my acne (I need the strength of 2.5% benzoyl peroxide once a day), it is a useful part of my acne-fighting kit. It helps clear my pores more gently and with less drying effects than benzoyl peroxide. I like that this serum contains no alcohol, menthol, or fragrance. The top three ingredients are water, glycerin, and willow bark extract. Although it does contain synthetic ingredients, I have not experienced any irritation from this product.
Powder -Neutrogena - Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Loose Powder
brindled_mer 6/27/2010 8:49:00 PM
This foundation does not cause my skin to break out, even with daily wear. I really like the texture of this product compared to the Bare Minerals foundation: It is like a happy medium between their Original and Matte formulas (less glowy/shimmery than Original, but more luminous than Matte). I use different brushes: the Bare Minerals Flawless face brush to buff the powder on, and a Sonia Kashuk "large crease brush" used as a concealer brush to target blemishes as well as eyelids and the under-eye area. My only real problem with this foundation is that even the lightest shade (Classic Ivory) is slightly too dark for my fair skin (and their Natural Ivory is too pink-toned). I am considering mixing it with Bare Minerals Matte in Fair to get the perfect shade and tone. EDIT (7-12-2010): I tried blending the Neutrogena Mineral Loose Powder in Classic Ivory with BareMinerals Matte in Fair. It looks perfect on my complexion, which is fair, but not the palest possible of complexions. The finish is very nice as well.