BareMinerals is an awesome cosmetics company, but loving their products also means having to stretch your wallet a little. Luckily, there are plenty of other companies these days that specialize in mineral makeup, so getting products similar to the ones BareMinerals puts out for less isn't impossible to do. While mineral makeup is quite popular, and most associated with loose powders, there is no one quality that all mineral products need to include. In fact, ALL makeup is technically mineral-filled, so mineral makeup is a bit of a misnomer. Mineral makeup should be free of dyes, preservatives, and fragrance, but also contain only actual minerals. That means iron oxide, zinc, and micas rather than unpronounceable ingredients.
Not all companies, even the ones that purport to be "mineral" makeup, abide by the same guidelines. Whenever you want to buy any specific kind of makeup, do your research. Look at ingredients lists. That's how you'll find what you're looking for, which is in this case pure mineral makeup—not a foundation that is full of preservatives.
This mineral foundation comes the most highly-recommended on this list, and no wonder. At $16, it's fairly budget-friendly, and the fact it's available in 12 shades (we'd still prefer more) gives it a leg up on most mineral foundations. It has SPF, but leaves out preservatives, talc, and fragrance, which makes it completely sensitive skin-friendly. It's not all perfect, as the included brush is prickly and the lack of a distinct lid makes it difficult to portion out product. But it's a great drugstore alternative to more expensive foundations.
Like most Physicians Formula products, Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Loose Powder is hypoallergenic and ideal for those with sensitive skin. Their shade range is low at only 5, which makes this maybe more effective of a setting or blotting powder than a foundation. However, its pressed compact form comes in 8 shades at the same price, so you might have better luck there.
Mineral Fusion uses all-natural ingredients, and all of their beauty products are cruelty-free, gluten-free, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and paraben-free. Basically, if you have sensitive skin, this is going to be the foundation you want to use, particularly because their UV protection is all natural. Although they used to only have 5 shades, they've listened to consumer demand and expanded the range to 15, even taking into account undertones. It's a little bit more pricey than most other drugstore brands, but it's buildable, and you can feel good about using it.
Not only is their shade range the highest on this list (18,) but Lily Lolo have been making waves in the clean beauty community for their effective products, not only low prices. It's a true loose powder, so apply with a kabuki brush, and build up the formula if you feel like that's something you need. It's a particularly good formula for sensitive skin, and there's nothing on the ingredients list that is incomprehensible or unrecognizable. All in all, Lily Lolo's foundation is a pretty safe (and inclusive) bet.
Okay, it's only a dollar cheaper than the BareMinerals version, but PÜR's 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation deserves to make this list. Even if only for the fact various reviewers have said they've slept in it and it's never given them acne. (We still, for the record, never recommend sleeping in color cosmetics.) The formula also includes not only encapsulated mineral water for hydration, but Vitamin B3 to help tone down uneven skin town. Semi-surprisingly, also, their 11-shade range is a little heavier on the deep/dark end than most—something unfortunately rare.