Bare Escentuals marked my first foray into mineral makeup. I bought one of the starter kits from Sephora Singapore when I was down celebrating Chinese New Year with my mom’s side of the family. This is a long-overdue post, so will get started right away!
Bare Escentuals (a.k.a. bareMinerals) is a mineral makeup brand that emphasizes on using the purest, highest quality minerals found in the earth. It claims to be ‘makeup that performs like skin care. Free of preservatives, talc, oil, waxes and fragrance’. According to their consumer surveys, 95% of women feel that bareMinerals keeps their skin natural and healthy, and 84% say that bareMinerals has actually improved the appearance of their skin. Was that the case for me?
Bare Escentuals has several different starter kits which you can get from Sephora or online at StrawberryNet. The one I picked is an 8-piece set containing three brushes, 2 foundations, 1 setting powder, 1 bronzer, 1 eyeshadow cum concealer sample, an instructional CD and a sample sachet of primer.
Brush Review: The bigger brush is called ‘full flawless face‘, and is meant to give medium to full coverage due to its softer, denser bristles made from goat hair. This is definitely my most favorite brush out of the lot, and I use it to apply all my mineral powder foundations. It picks up a lot of powder and provides me with amazing coverage. The middle brush is ‘flawless face‘ for light to medium coverage, and can be used to apply blusher and bronzer. I’ve used this brush for the bronzer and it picks up the pigments really well. Definitely a good-go if you don’t want as much coverage. The bristles are a little bit firmer but less dense. They’re also made out of goat hair. The smallest brush is a concealer brush, also called ‘max coverage concealer‘. This is probably my second favorite brush out of the lot, and its dense, very firm bristles help me pinpoint exactly where to conceal spots and discoloration. I’ve used it for both powder and cream concealers and it definitely works like a dream. It does a pretty good job of hiding my marks and it’s my HG concealer brush for now. Bristles are made of Taklon.
Mineral Veil Review: Mineral Veil is the setting powder, which can also be used before makeup to help mattify your skin if you’ve got oily skin. For the starter kit, it comes in a 3g pot. It’s extremely fine and you can barely see individual grains (kinda like how you can’t see pixels in really amazing pictures). Although Mineral Veil is slightly beige-y in color, it goes transparent on the skin and provides an ever-so-sheer glow. Hence you can put as much as you want on your skin without it caking or looking too thick or changing the color of your foundation.
SPF15 Foundations Review: I bought the Medium shade starter kit and it came with two 2g pots – Medium and Medium Beige. I find the pigments to be a lot finer than the Laura Mercier one I have. Color-wise, Medium Beige works well for me because of its yellowish tinge. Medium is a little too gray as its got a pinker undertone. Really natural coverage and barely any caking up thanks to the finer particles. My skin felt silky smooth after I put it on as well! I’ve used the concealer brush to gather up extra pigments to touch up some spots and I must say that these are some of the more natural colors I’ve come across, which is saying something since I can rarely find the right colors! My skin didn’t break out at all and while it didn’t improve my skin per se, it definitely felt comfortable and didn’t make me oilier than what I normally am.
Review of Warmth All-Over Face Color: This one is interesting. Comes in a 2g pot and looks like a bronzer. The instructional CD says that you can use this very sparingly to bring a warm glow to your skin. I find this useful if my makeup is too white or looks too unnatural – this helps bring some warmth and tone down the makeup a little so that it looks better. The only problem with this is that you can only use very very little of it. If you used it like a blusher, you’d look like an Oompa Loompa – that’s how pigmented it is. I haven’t experimented with it and I generally don’t use this but it does help. I wouldn’t suggest buying this if you were getting the Bare Escentuals items separately.
Review of Summer Bisque Multi-Tasking Face SPF20: This multi-tasking powder moonlights as an eye shadow, concealer, highlighter – I think practically anything you want. The CD shows how it’s used as an eye shadow and concealer. It’s a barely there color which works to make your eyes look more awake and also if you’ve got light-medium skin (for concealer). It’s the same proprietary formula used and the color is quite nude – hence I can’t really comment on how pigmented it is since it’s a very neutral color. However, as a concealer, it does do its job pretty well.
I thought that this was a value-for-money starter kit. It has everything you need to start off with the basics and the products delivered as promised. No break-outs, good coverage and long-lasting brushes. My personal favorites were the brushes and the foundations. This particular set comes in 3 types: Light, Medium and Dark. You may find that the shades don’t fit exactly but the reason for them to give two foundations is so that you can mix and match, which is a pretty smart thing to do. And guess what? The set only costs SGD115.00 and they’re constantly updating the sets in Sephora. In summary, the finely milled powders, good-quality brushes and the basic starter set really is worth your investment especially if you’re curious about mineral makeup. It definitely kept my skin healthy and smooth with no makeup allergy-related break-outs. Available in all Sephora Singapore stores.
EDIT 6 JULY 2011: Now available at Sephora Malaysia as well for around RM240+. Singapore Sephora has reduced its kit prices to SGD100.