The Anti-Foundation I Keep Getting Compliments On

Updated 10/24/19
Product Disclosure

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 a full-coverage foundation, none at all, or somewhere 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 ($32).

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream

What Is bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream?

This oil-free tinted moisturizer (which is sold in 20 shades) features a blend of plant-derived squalane and energizing mineral electrolytes to create a really radiant finish while continually hydrating your skin throughout the day. It's light, refreshing, and looks just like your skin would on its best day (only you can replicate that every single day).

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. 

Benefits of bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream

  • Gentle enough for sensitive skin
  • Hydrates skin
  • Won't clog pores
  • Improves skin texture with continued use
  • Provides SPF protection
  • Delivers a healthy-looking glow

bareMinerals conducted a series of clinical trials surrounding the Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream and found that it boosts hydration by 215% after one week of use, and 100% of women (there were 63 participants) experienced improvement in their skin texture after using it for the same amount of time. What's more, they found that after application, users can expect their skin to stay hydrated for 12 hours, and that skin will continually look refreshed for that time.

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream vs. Traditional Foundation

Unlike many traditional foundations, bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream is made with clean ingredients and non-chemical sunscreen. Additionally, it's free of complexion-wrecking ingredients like parabens, phthalates, fragrance, mineral oil, and more. Plus, it's 100% cruelty-free, so you can feel good about the fact that what you're putting on your face isn't harming animals in the process.

Beyond the ethics of the product, Complexion Rescue varies from traditional foundation thanks to its sheer-to-medium coverage that puts hydration at the forefront. As a result, it makes your skin look its very best not just immediately after application, but for hours on end without risk of turning cakey.

How to Prepare Skin for bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream

As with any face makeup product, it's best to prep your skin with your regular skincare routine before use. That said, be sure to cleanse and moisturize before application. For extra sun protection, you might even want to apply your favorite SPF as usual. While the tinted moisturizer is made with SPF, it never hurts to double-up on sun protection.

Additionally, if you're concerned about the staying power of the sheer face makeup, consider applying a primer, like bareMinerals Prime Time Foundation Primer ($25). It's designed to create a silky-smooth canvas that will only make the Gel Cream look even better once applied.

What to Expect When Using bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream

Despite being a sheer-to-medium coverage gel cream, I found that a little goes a long way in terms of dewy, life-like coverage. When applying, I like to warm it between my fingers and pat it on (a suggestion from bareMinerals brand ambassador Hailey Bieber), melting it into my skin so that 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. 

It's worth noting, however, that while I love a hands-on application process, the brand recommends using dual-fiber smoothing face brush for especially flawless coverage. If you want to heed that advice, start with a pea-sized dollop in the center of the bristles and blend out from there, only adding more cream as you see fit.

Side Effects

If having the most beautiful, natural-looking skin is considered to be a side effect, then let's go with that. In all seriousness, there's nothing about this tinted moisturizer that I don't love.


Even though this particular tinted moisturizer is hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, sleeping in it isn't a good idea. So, as with any face makeup, aftercare is as simple as washing every last trace off your face. Since it's super lightweight, you won't need an abrasive cleanser to do the job. Instead, opt for a few swipes of a micellar water-soaked cotton pad and follow it up with an oil or balm cleanser to keep the glowy good times rolling.

The Final Takeaway

Here's the thing: I realize foundation is a really personal choice—everyone wants something different from a formula. But, for me, the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue simply can't be beaten. Now, I know, 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 try and review other offerings. It was only after an interview with Bieber that I remembered just how much I loved (and subsequently missed) the product.

Hallie Gould

We sat in a room discussing all the new launches as well as a few older favorites. She picked up the 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, was 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. Chances are, it will do the same for you.

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