The Anti-Foundation I Keep Getting Compliments On

Hallie Gould with 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.

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.

Pros + Cons


  • Whipped texture
  • Full-coverage but not cakey
  • Hydrating
  • Improves skin texture


  • Price per ounce is expensive

The Bottom Line

I wanted my face to look like me, not the buffed, blended, or contoured version of myself. The bareMinerals Complexion Rescue is one of my favorite beauty products that allows my skin to shine.

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream

Best for: All-day tinted face cream

Star Rating: 4.5/5

Active ingredients: Squalane, mineral-based sunscreen, titanium dioxide

Clean?: Yes

Potential allergens: None

Price: $33

Shade Range: Deep to light (20 different shades)

What’s Included: Product only

About the brand: BareMinerals creates clean beauty makeup and skincare products that help improve skin's appearance.

BareMinerals Complexion Rescue
bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream $33.00

About My Skin/Complexion

no makeup makeup

Hallie Gould

Now, this isn't a new product. I used it a few 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 interview with Hailey Bieber when my makeup bag finally got the update I was so desperately needing.

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."

Key Ingredients

Squalane is the hydrogenated form of squalene. It is a lipid that is naturally found in the skin and secreted by the sebaceous glands. It calms inflammation, supports the outer skin barrier, and works well with actives like retinol.

Bieber 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.

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 an improvement in their skin texture in the same amount of time.

Complexion Rescue combines all those hydrating skincare benefits with the sheer (but buildable, if you so choose) coverage I'd been dreaming of.

What to Expect from bareMinerals Complexion Rescue

Hallie Gould BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Foundation


As with any tinted moisturizer, bareMinerals Complexion Rescue requires much less effort than foundation—this one, in particular, is formulated to make you look, well, brighter. The formula is a blend of plant-derived squalane and energizing mineral electrolytes to give a 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).

How to Apply

To apply, I like to warm it between my fingers and pat it on (another suggestion from Bieber), 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 deep to light.

The Results

The result, my dear readers, left me breathless. Here's the thing: I realize foundation is a 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.

The Value

For a product with more than one purpose and benefit, it's definitely worth it. The price is pretty standard and middle ground when it comes to other tinted moisturizers on the market.

Similar Products: You have options

Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen: 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. Comparatively priced at $36, a blend of mineral pigments offers blendable coverage—but without the dreaded cakey texture of some foundations.

Kosas Tinted Face Oil: A blend of active botanical oils (think avocado, rosehip, 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. At $42, it's a more expensive option.

Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint: 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 (aside from the $26 price tag), is the Diamond Powder, which reflects the light, therefore imparting a super-brightening effect (think of it as an Instagram filter come to life).

Our Verdict

This product is exactly what I was looking for in a foundation. It leaves skin glowing and offers a natural kind of coverage. If that's what you're searching for too, I'd add to cart immediately.

Related Stories