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Friday, May 25, 2012

Battle of the Mineral Foundations: Laura Mercier VS Bare Escentuals

I have recently started using the Laura Mercier mineral foundation. Once upon a time I purchased this foundation and also her translucent loose setting powder. I broke out horribly. I returned both products and erased all hope of future use of LM face products. I've said numerous times that I can't use any silicone on my face so I assumed that the LM mineral foundation had Dimethicone which always breaks me out. One day I was curious to check out the ingredients of the LM mineral foundation and much to my surprise, it did not include any silicone and basically had all the same ingredients as Bare Minerals foundation which does not break me out. A light bulb went off in my head, it had been the LM Translucent Setting Powder that was the evil culprit and not the foundation. So I went to Sephora and picked up the LM mineral foundation in the shade "natural beige" to give it a second try. One week later, no breakouts and I am really enjoying this product. I have been looking and looking for something to replace my Bare Minerals because I am never wowed by its performance. So how do the two stack up against one another? Have a look..

Laura Mercier is $35 for .34 oz/9.6g
Bare Minerals is $27 for .28 oz/8g (the large size)

As you can see, its not a huge difference contrary to the belief that LM is far more expensive than Bare Minerals.

Shade Selection:  
Bare Minerals has a much wider variety of shades especially in their deeper skin tones which LM is severely lacking. Laura Mercier is also lacking on the light/medium cool/neutral tones but I went with "natural beige" which is fairly neutral, tad bit yellow-toned but warms up my skin tone and I am enjoying it. In BM, I am "medium", which is a cool toned shade that is more like light/medium to me.

SPF Factor: Both foundations have an SPF15.

The Formula:
Both foundations have a silky texture that makes it not quite a full-on powder but not a cream. LM looks grainy in comparison to BM which appears more finely milled but the granules smooth out and the feel is similar between the two. BM offers an original and a matte formula.

Potentially Problematic Ingredients:
Both foundations do include Bismuth Oxychloride which is said to break some people out. It doesn't bother me but it can be a little itchy on the face in dry areas. The other ingredients are similar between both products with the exception of pearl powder which is included in LM. The BM Matte formula contains Silica which their original formula does not. 

I find both foundations to be best applied with a dense kabuki style brush. I use the Sigma F80. Both foundations are easy to buff into the skin and blend nicely. I find that both powders apply better over a primer, like the Korres silicone-free Vitamin E primer that I use. Sometimes when you moisturize and then try to buff a powder into the skin, it tugs and pulls at the skin because the moisturizer hasn't soaked in. This can cause the foundation to look kind of streaky and darker in some parts, also interferes with adequate blending.

The Coverage:
I think the coverage is similar between both products. You aren't going to get the fullest coverage in a mineral foundation that you may get in a liquid but it gives you a good base to work with and then just apply concealer in areas that need a bit more coverage. I like to apply either foundation over the Garnier BB Cream.

The Finish:
This is where the two brands differ in my opinion. I much prefer the Laura Mercier, its not chalky like I think the BM can be. It also gives a much prettier glowy-sheen to the face which I never could achieve with BM. This may be due to the "pearl powder" in Laura's product. Yes, LM is a bit shimmery when you swatch it but on the face it isn't as noticeable because it sheers out.

The Wear Throughout the Day:
This category goes to Laura Mercier again. I find that Bare Minerals tends to dry my face a bit throughout the day, and it wears off in areas and looks kind of patchy. I also find that it looks like a different color by the end of the day. The LM holds up so nicely throughout the day and feels very smooth on the skin. 

The Winner: Laura Mercier Mineral Foundation


  1. I'm totally trying the LM when my BM runs out. Thanks for doing the homework!

  2. thanks for the comparison! I have used the BE for a few years but recently have learned about the LM. I got a sample of the LM and am really in love I think! Now that I have read your review I am totally sure that when I run out of the BE I am going to go LM :)

  3. Thank you for the comparison. I too found that BM changes colors after several hours of wear and turns patchy on my skin. I will give LM a try. Thanks again!

  4. This was very helpful! Thanks for posting. I tried my friends LM and loved it so as soon as I run out of my BM, I'm definitely going to go buy the LM mineral powder...I also use the garnier bb cream underneath! I'm pleasantly surprised on how affordable the LM is...anyway thanks again for the post! <3