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Mineral makeup is the beauty world’s answer to needing more natural-based formulas. Unlike traditional foundations, mineral foundation is mineral-based and is usually formulated without all those extra bad-for-you ingredients and fillers. This makes it ideal for those with sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, mature skin, and injured skin. Because these formulas are made with naturally occurring ingredients, they tend to be more gentle on your complexion and allow your skin to breathe—especially if your skin tends to be finicky. Also, fewer ingredients means less irritation.
You may remember that the start of mineral foundation began with the loose powder. A gorgeous sheer finish plus a subtle glow? Yes, please! But what about the women who want a fuller coverage? Or even a different texture? Nowadays, mineral makeup comes in all forms—we’re talking loose powder, pressed powder, liquid, cream, and even solid sticks. This wide range of products gives women a choice when they’re opting for a more natural formula, but without sacrificing versatility and coverage. You can swipe, dab, brush, and sweep on these foundations for a bright and radiant look with nature in mind.
Read on to discover the top mineral foundations—all made to beautifully mask your imperfections, provide the right amount of coverage, and keep your skin healthy.
Best Overall: Bare Minerals Original Loose Powder Mineral Foundation
Who hasn’t swiped on this tried-and-true mineral powder? Bare Minerals is iconic in the mineral makeup game. They started with their famed original loose powder and have since created additional makeup products. But when it comes to being a mineral-based staple, this foundation rules all. With a buildable coverage, you can take your look from sheer to full in a matter of seconds. When swirled, the product transforms from a powder to a cream, hugging your skin and absorbing those good-for-you minerals. The added SPF 15 makes sun protection a total breeze.
Best Loose Powder: Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation
An airbrushed finish without a airbrushing machine? Absolutely possible. All it takes is a few quick sweeps of this full coverage foundation and you’re instantly date-night-ready. Infused with Amazonian clay and gemstone tourmaline, this unique formula reduces oiliness and shine, while energizing skin for a healthy complexion. Mineral-rich pearl powder provides anti-aging benefits, like softening and refreshing the skin’s surface. The formula is also long-lasting—it wears to up to 12 hours and is waterproof. Plus, a little goes a long way, so start small and build up coverage.
Best Pressed Powder: Pur 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15
Unlike loose powders, pressed powders are formulas that are tightly packed into a compact. While a loose powder gives you a lighter feel, a pressed powder provides a more targeted, controllable coverage, so it’s perfect for those who want an utterly flawless finish. The formula includes ingredients like lactic acid, which stimulates collagen renewal, and major-moisturizers aloe vera and hyaluronic acid. The combo of soothing and anti-aging ingredients makes this great for all skin types. For full coverage, apply the powder using a makeup sponge and with a heavier hand. Anything less than that, try a dense-bristled foundation brush.
Best Liquid: Mineral Fusion Liquid Mineral Foundation
Packed with skin-loving minerals, this formula features anti-agers like vitamin C and green tea—both antioxidants that fight skin damage. Licorice root and and aloe vera come together to soothe and comfort fussy skin. The texture is satiny, melting into the skin as it covers all imperfections, without feeling slick—especially at the end of a long day.
Best Solid: NYX Mineral Stick Foundation
The best thing about a stick foundation is its convenience and ease-of-use. All it takes is a few swipes of product and a couple dabs with your fingertips and your complexion is smooth and evenly covered. A huge plus: They’re super portable (no spillage in your purse!) and can easily be taken on a flight with you (take that, TSA!). This particular one, from budget-friendly brand NYX, is versatile as well.
Mix and match your shades to create an entirely flawless look. And at less than a latte, it’s totally affordable. Use as a foundation, a contour, and a highlight. Although it’s a solid, the texture glides on like a cream and feels silky on the skin.
Best Budget: L'Oreal Paris True Match Mineral Foundation
Skin-improving makeup? Yep, totally a thing. This mineral-enriched foundation powder comes with a handy brush—perfect for those on-the-go makeup applications—that buffs on the lightweight, shine-controlling formula into your skin. Consider your pores diminished and your skin tone evened out.
Instead of settling into the fine lines, the formula expertly reduces their appearance, so a youthful look is literally a few sweeps away. To apply, swirl the brush into the sifter, and then start in the center of face and work your way out to your hairline, chin and jaw. Keep adding more powder if you prefer a fuller coverage.
Best Compact: AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+
Have you heard about cushion compacts? Here’s your breakdown: it’s a compact that houses a foundation-saturated cushion, making your makeup application mess-free. If you despise the feeling (and mess) of foundation on your fingertips, then this compact is for you. All you have to do is tap your brush into the sponge-like cushion and blend onto your face.
This formula, from AmorePacific, is a CC cream (a major upgrade from a BB cream), so in addition to its weightless coverage and hydration benefits, it’s also a pro at color correcting. This product also features powerful sun protection in the form of SPF 50 (really!), so putting on extra sunscreen is unnecessary when using this foundation.
Our writers spent 6 hours researching the most popular mineral foundations on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 7 different foundations overall, screened options from 7 different brands and manufacturers, read over 10 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 3 of the foundations themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.