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Hot Off The Presses — bareMinerals READY SPF 20 Foundation

It may have coined the phrase “Swirl, tap, buff,” but bareMinerals is moving away from this motto with its latest complexion-perfecting offering: the Sephora.com ($29 at Sephora.com). For many, the development of this solid mineral foundation comes as exciting news —  particularly to those of us who have suffered through the undignified experience of packing the bareMinerals Original SPF 15 Foundation inside our makeup bag, only to have its contents spill everywhere. But mess-proof properties aside, could this new version meet the standards of excellence established by the original loose powder foundation?

Well, the question presumes that these products are identical, save for their packaging, which isn’t the case. As with its predecessors, the Sephora.com is formulated without preservatives, talcs, waxes, binders, fillers, or fragrances that could irritate the skin. But, in terms of skin care properties, the READY Foundation actually offers greater advantages thanks to its SeaNutritive Mineral Complex, a blend of concentrated algae and seaweed both known to inhibit collagen degradation and to moisturize and protect skin, thereby working as anti-aging agents; as well as cold-pressed rosehip seed oil, which soothes topical irritations, promotes cellular regeneration thanks to its vitamin A content, protects the skin from free radical damage, and diminishes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots thanks to its high concentration of fatty acids, vitamin C, and vitamin E. And that’s not all — the foundation also boasts a unique time-released mineral hydration system so that glycerin and humic acid encapsulated into the minerals in the formula moisturize the skin not only upon application but also throughout the day, allowing skin to feel comfortable and appear healthy and radiant.

Though the bareMinerals READY SPF 20 Foundation is also a powder foundation, it feels incredibly velvety when swept over the skin — I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it has a cream-like consistency, but it is rather smooth. Another plus: you don’t have to inhale all that powder dust that would sometimes swoosh in the air while applying the old loose powder formula (or, for that matter, wipe the counter top down after doing your makeup so as to clean off the residue).

But here’s the main factor to consider when trying out the bareMinerals READY SPF 20 Foundation: though it was developed by the same brand that made mineral makeup a national phenomenon, this foundation is intrinsically unlike that of its famous predecessor, the Original SPF 15 Foundation, making any comparisons between the two misleading — however tempting. For one, the technology used to create this solid mineral foundation renders a much more concentrated amount of pigment so that, even when used sparingly, this formula will automatically offer richer coverage. Second — and this is key— the 20 shades introduced in this range bear the same names as those available for the Original and Matte SPF 15 Foundations and yet they register as entirely new shades. In other words, if you were a Medium Tan shade in the Original SPF 15 Foundation, don’t assume you’ll be that shade in the new bareMinerals READY SPF 20 Foundation. Your best bet is to walk into a Sephora or Bare Escentuals boutique and have a makeup artist match your foundation, so that there’s no room for error when it comes to shade selection. Third, the application process is completely different. Since there’s no loose powder involved, the application is much more straight-forward: you simply take the foundation brush, run it over the compact’s surface, and then guide it over your skin as if painting a canvas, using wide strokes and then buffing to smooth out the surface. For best results, you’ll want to pick up the bareMinerals Precision Face Brush ($28 at Sephora.com), a stellar brush that’s compact but features a dense brush head with synthetic fibers, all shaped at an angle to better access the crevices of the face, allowing you to reach those tricky areas around the nostrils, between the brows, around the hairline, and by the ears.

Now, when I first tried the bareMinerals READY SPF 20 Foundation, I instinctively went for the same shade I had used in the bareMinerals Original SPF 15 Foundation (the Light hue), and it was not a match whatsoever (hence my previous warning to you readers). A few weeks later, when I went to the BWR Suite at the Empire Hotel during New York Fashion Week, a bareMinerals makeup expert performed a foundation match and advised I start using the Fairly Medium hue, which has turned out to be a much better choice. Since I first started using the foundation, I’ve noticed that it does, in fact, last longer than the powder version (less touch-ups are required throughout the day) and that the coverage is more substantial. That being said, it also doesn’t look as natural as the powder formula — probably because it is, in fact, more saturated with pigment. I personally prefer more coverage in the autumn and winter, so I do like the bareMinerals READY SPF 20 Foundation for these seasons, but I’ll probably revert to the original foundation come spring and summer since I like to wear less makeup during these seasons. My one caveat about the bareMinerals READY Foundation: it can sometimes leave a bit of a whitish cast on the skin (not as extreme as to create a Casper-like effect, but it is worth noting), so it’s important to find the right tone and to follow with a nice bronzer or blush to really illuminate the face.

Below, you’ll find a couple of photos of me wearing the new bareMinerals READY SPF 20 Foundation for your reference. Hopefully, they’ll help you get a feel for the type of coverage offered!

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