The Anti-Foundation I Keep Getting Compliments On

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Hallie Gould with a minimal foundation

Hallie Gould

Regardless of how well we take care of our skin, foundation is the makeup product many of us consistently feel shackled to—as if without it, we'll cease to exist. Given the society-induced stress related to a woman's appearance, those feelings make sense. Painting on foundation each morning saves us from "looking tired" or "unprofessional," or at least that's what we've been led to believe. After a while, I sort of had enough. I liked my skin. I wanted it to show through my makeup. I wanted my face to look like me, not the buffed, blended, or contoured version of myself.

Naturally, it goes without saying that you should feel empowered to look however you'd like, whether that's by wearing a full-coverage foundation, none at all, or something that lands in between. For me, I found my groove in that gray area—with a sheer, whipped, gel-like confection that offers up dewiness and coverage but in a more natural way. Enter BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream.

BareMinerals Complexion Rescue
BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream $33
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Keep scrolling to find out why BareMinerals Complexion Rescue is one of my favorite beauty products.

What Is BareMinerals Complexion Rescue?

In the simplest of terms, Bareminerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream is a tinted moisturizer. That means that, in addition to moisturizing, it really covers the skin, with a buildable coverage—so you can apply as liberally (or not) as you like. It's formulated with mineral-based, broad-spectrum SPF 30, so it's non-toxic and safe for the environment while protecting you against harmful UV rays. It's also comprised of 98 percent natural ingredients, so you can feel good when using it.

Makeup artist Jenny Patinkin says there's a scientific reason tinted moisturizers lend skin such a glow: a higher water content. Complexion Rescue, in particular, is full of hydrating ingredients. "This product contains olive-derived squalane, which is high in fatty lipids that do hydrate the skin and then hold that moisture in; coconut alkanes that give the skin a smooth, hydrated feel; and propanediol which helps both of those products absorb better," she says. "Those three ingredients together will give the skin a very lovely glow."

Now, this isn't a new product. In fact, I used it for a few months years ago when I was first finding my footing as a beauty editor. But, as with many products, I gave it up to review other offerings. Cut to September, when I was annoyed with face makeup altogether and endlessly searched for something new and refreshing to put on my face. Everything felt old and cakey and covered my skin where I wanted it to shine through. It wasn't until my recent interview with Hailey Baldwin when my makeup bag finally got the update I was so desperately needing.

Baldwin partnered with BareMinerals and we sat in a room discussing all the new launches as well as a few older favorites. She picked up the Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream and my mind glimmered. "I used to use that all the time, I love that stuff," I told her, excitedly. "Girl," she said zeroing in on my eyes with hers, "get back into it." The rest, as they say, is history. First of all, I trust whatever makeup she puts in front of me. Her skin is like freshly cleaned glass on a summer day—light-reflective and shiny. So I took the suggestion to heart and started using the product again. The result, my dear readers, left me breathless.

Hallie Gould in BareMinerals Tinted Hydrating Gel
Hallie Gould

Benefits of BareMinerals Complexion Rescue

• Whipped texture

• Full-coverage but not cakey

• Hydrating

• Improves skin texture

In terms of texture, this product has everything else beat. It's whipped (read: feels pillowy) but also cooling and gel-like at the same time. It's a hybrid, really, a mix of all the best parts of liquid, cream, and serum foundation. Plus, it's multitasking, too. Complexion Rescue combines all those hydrating skincare benefits with the sheer (but buildable, if you so choose) coverage I'd been dreaming of. And it incorporates a mineral-based sunscreen for safe and effective, non-chemical sun protection. Want proof? The brand's clinical trials found it boosts hydration by 215 percent after one week of use and 100 percent of women (there were 63 participants) experienced improvement in their skin texture in the same amount of time.

What to Expect from BareMinerals Complexion Rescue

As with any tinted moisturizer, BareMinerals Complexion Rescue requires much less effort than foundation—this one, in particular, is literally formulated to make you look, well, brighter. See, the formula is a blend of plant-derived squalane and energizing mineral electrolytes to give a really radiant finish but also continually hydrate your skin throughout the day. It feels so light, refreshing, and looks just like your skin would on its best day (only you can replicate that every single day).

To apply, I like to warm it between my fingers and pat it on (another suggestion from Baldwin), melting it in my skin so it looks especially natural and glowy. Then, I'll go in and blend on a bit more coverage just in the spots I need it. When you think about it, it allows for bespoke coverage, ranging from sheer and natural to medium and a bit more air-brushed. It's everything good about foundation and none of the less-than-thrilling aspects. And it works on a number of skin tones, as the product is available in a range of shades (20, in fact), from light to deep.

The Final Takeaway

Here's the thing: I realize foundation is a really personal choice—everyone wants something different from a formula. I anticipated that fact and researched a few more offerings that yield similar results (BB Creams, serum foundations, and the like) and collected recommendations from other editors here at Byrdie. Below, find more outstanding options for a more natural, glowy, less foundation-y foundation.

Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer
Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen $36
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Thanks to a mix of natural ingredients (Amazonian clay, plus vitamins A, E, and C), this product leaves skin looking supple, blurring the look of fine lines and covering imperfections. A blend of mineral pigments offers blendable coverage—but without the dreaded cakey texture of some foundations.

kosas tinted oil foundation
Kosas Tinted Face Oil $42
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A blend of active botanical oils (think avocado, rose hip, and jojoba, among others) makes this product slightly more skincare than makeup. It is tinted, however, so it covers flaws while delivering all that moisture. Bonus: The unique, liquid coverage results in a gleamy finish.

Glossier skin tint
Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint $26
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Glossier's lightweight Skin Tint has a cult following for a reason. It contains glycerin—so it moisturizes the skin—and it's sheer, so it won't cake up. But perhaps the best part is the Diamond Powder, which reflects the light, therefore imparting a super-brightening effect (think of it as an Instagram filter come to life).

Supergoop! CC Cream Daily Correct Broad Spectrum SPF 35
Supergoop! CC Cream Daily Correct Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Sunscreen $36
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Part-sunscreen, part-tinted moisturizer, Supergoop's CC cream covers and nourishes all at once. It's entirely mineral, so you know your skin is protected from the elements, and it contains an additional mix of good-for-you ingredients to heal skin's imperfections while it covers them. Apple extract improves skin texture, red seaweed protects against free radicals, and sodium hyaluronate moisturizes.

Thrive Causemetics Buildable Blur CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35
Thrive Causemetics Buildable Blur CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35 $38
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There's a lot this product has going for it, including an ingredients list chock-full of the good stuff: vitamin C (to brighten skin and fade dark spots), flaxseed (to absorb oil), and broad spectrum SPF 35, among them. But perhaps the best part is the coverage. Thrive's CC cream blurs and covers everything from acne scars to rosacea, so it's perfect for those looking for a more intense coverage with the benefits of a moisturizer.

lancome cc cream
Lancôme UV Expert Mineral CC Cream SPF 50 $39
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You're technically not supposed to wear your makeup for 24 hours straight but, if you had to, this would be the product to reach for. It's full-coverage enough to correct any imperfections, contains SPF 50 (so it's an ideal choice for day time), and it actually stays put for hours. It even manages to withstand perspiration, making it a favorite amongst the active set.

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