Prologue: Mineral Makeup And I
Mineral makeup is not a new concept. Some of the companies specializing in it have been around for much longer than you'd think. Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics, for example, was founded in 1996. But it wasn't until Bare Minerals counters started popping up everywhere that I was fully aware of the option to use a foundation in a loose powder form.
So I tried. And it.did.not.work.
There were many reasons- from finding a matching shade to the unnatural finish. I wasn't too impressed with most of the SAs and their oddly buffed fuzzy android skin, and my face didn't look any better. The powder seemed to settle in my pores and dry my skin. It just wasn't right. I can tell you that the newer Matte formula is light years ahead of the original one, yet I still experienced dryness and the finish was not quite right.
The Story: In Which I Test Youngblood Mineral Foundation
I had a very positive experience with several other Youngblood products (why does saying it make me feel like a vampire?), so I was willing to give their mineral foundation a try. I was sent the Mineral Basic Kit in medium and started working on my shaking and buffing technique.
The kit contains a Kabuki blending brush, two shades of mineral foundation (Honey and Tawny), Mineral Rice Setting Powder (medium), Crushed Mineral Blush (Rouge) and a sample of Hi-Definition Hydrating Mineral Perfecting Powder.
To my surprise, the Rice Setting Powder is supposed to go on first, right on top of your moisturizer, and act as a primer. I gave it a fair try and tested the powder in every kind of weather and humidity conditions (early spring is the best time for comprehensive product testing, by the way). The results were never thrilling. While the product is excellent when it comes to durability and hold, it comes at a high price of drying my skin to the point of flaking around the nose. It was not a matter of too much/too little product or buffing. I tried everything and my only conclusion is that this Rice Setting Powder is utterly not for me*.
But I didn't give up on the foundation. I was actually impressed with it from the very first time.I tried both colors separately and also mixed together with great results color-wise. It's a good match for my skin tone and can be adjusted according to season and mood. Honey is probably closer to my natural shade, but with a dash of Tawny it's as good as it gets.
I started using the foundation over several primers, including the liquid Mineral Primer by Youngblood. They all worked perfectly and the mineral foundation applied and held very well. Once this issue was settled, I could appreciate the excellent coverage and very even skin the foundation created. Freckles and small sun spots disappear almost completely. To achieve this level of opacity with regular foundations I'd need to slather and frost my face with it. Not exactly desirable since these two dots on each cheek are the only thing I would even consider covering (normally I go for a very sheer look).
There's a learning curve with a mineral foundation. You need to figure out just how much (how little, actually) product to use without overdoing it. Too much buffing is also not good, because it makes the skin have an unnatural, over-processed finish. One thing I haven't found a way to avoid is the mess. No matter how careful I am, some powder ends up on the dresser, mirror and assorted cats. I keep moist wipes at reach to at least prevent mineral paw prints all over the house. Not all felines are impressed.
The mineral foundation looks and holds especially well on humid days (we had a few very unseasonal ones in early May/late April). The only time I wasn't too happy because of some tightening of the skin around my nose was when the weather turned cold again. This is going to be a summer staple for me, but will be tucked away for winter.
As for the other components of the kit, I already told you how much I liked the mineral blush. The Hi-Definition Hydrating Mineral Perfecting Powder is also excellent. It gives a flawless finish, no matter which foundation I've used underneath. The one disappointment is the brush. It's not soft enough for my liking and on days my face feel a bit tender (it's allergy season, after all), the Kabuki blending brush felt almost too abrasive. I know good brushes. This ain't it.
The Bottom Line(s):
I'm very happy to add a mineral foundation to my arsenal of face-making tools. It's not going to replace my beloved Chanel liquid foundation, but some days I like an alternative, and this is a very good one.
Unless your skin is very active and oily, I'd recommend skipping the Mineral Rice Powder in favor of a good regular primer.
The blush and the Hi-Def powder are both worth trying independently. Just get a good brush elsewhere.
*I know some are going to ask, so here's what I'm working with, face-wise: I'm 39, so my spring chicken days are definitely over. My skin goes from nice and normal to very dry, depending on the weather. I have small-to-medium sized pores and rarely break out. No wrinkles other than three frown lines, no crow's feet but very large dark under eye circles. Biggest skin issue is the sensitive and dry zone on both sides of the nose.
The Mineral Basic Kit ($45) is available online from the company's website (ybskin.com). The products can also be purchased separately there or in store at Henri Bendel. I was sent a free kit through the company's PR.
All photos by Giselle and me.