Photos & First Impressions: bareMinerals READY SPF 20 Foundation

by Jen on August 27, 2012

After waiting months (actually years!) for a solid mineral foundation product from Bare Escentuals, it’s finally here. Today I was thrilled to receive the READY SPF 20 Foundation and Precision Face Brush that I ordered from QVC a couple of weeks ago. I selected the Fair shade since I typically wear Fair in BE original and matte foundation, and as soon as I could get it out of the UPS guy’s hands I ripped open the package, took some photos, and tried it out for myself.

Shade Choices and Ingredients

Set to launch this weekend, READY Foundation will be available in your choice of twenty different shades. Colors are being grouped differently this time around, with a greater emphasis on the Fair/Light/Medium.Tan/Deep spectrum of colors, arranged from coolest undertone to neutral and finally to warm. Even if you don’t find your perfect match however, don’t despair–you can simply tap your brush between two colors and then apply to mix them them if necessary. Colors tend to run rather light, so your best option is to be color-matched at a BE boutique if at all possible, or at Sephora if there isn’t a boutique in your area.

Ingredients are as follows. Some will be disappointed to see that this formula does contain bismuth, but it is near the end of the ingredient list.

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 11%, -Zinc Oxide 18%

Inactive Ingredients: Boron Nitride, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Magnesium Silicate, Silica, Nylon-12, Humic Acids, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Jojoba Esters, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Lecithin, Betaine, Algae Extract, Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride, Iron Oxides.

Packaging and Cost

The new READY foundation is packaged in a compact like the other READY products released over the last year, with a seal over the flap so you’ll know that it’s new and unopened. The regular retail compact is black, though QVC offered a limited edition silver compact in a choice of nine shades that has now completely sold out. The compact is the same size and thickness as the READY blush (it’s not as thick as the READY Touch Up Veil), but does not include an applicator brush or sponge inside the compact. The mirror under the lid, like the mirrors in the other READY compacts, is very large and extremely high quality–you really can see your whole face in it.

Considering how the compact I ordered from QVC arrived, it’s obvious that BE is concerned about breakage. It was packaged inside the standard retail box (in a silver color), wrapped with quite a bit of brown packing paper, and placed inside a BE bubble envelope which was then placed inside an outer QVC bubble envelope. It’s also worth noting that the product box says that you should “protect this product from excessive heat and direct sun.” I’m not sure why that’s on the label, as I don’t recall seeing it on any other BE products.

It also came with a little slip of paper in the package, which is a little ironic since the retail box itself has a black sticker that covers up what was originally printed on it. The slip states the following:

“We have received new test results that confirm bareMinerals READY foundation meets the FDA’s most recent criteria for Broad Spectrum sun protection. Please see updated drug facts panel below, which includes current Broad Spectrum SPF labeling information.”

I know that some (myself included) have been concerned about how the FDA’s new rules regarding SPF in makeup, so it’s good to know that not only does the new READY foundation meet those criteria, it’s even more protective than the original foundation, which was only rated SPF 15. While I wear an SPF 30 moisturizer every day as recommended by my dermatologist, I want my foundation to include sun protection as well, so that if I miss a spot with one product, the other one can serve as a backup if necessary.

Texture and Application

At first glance it looks like any pressed product. Tap your brush into it a couple of times and you’ll see that it’s like the READY eyeshadows in that you don’t have to dig into the compact or swipe your brush back and forth to load it onto your brush. Touch it with your finger and you’ll see that it feels cool to the touch, and not hard or powdery.

Since there’s no brush or sponge included in the compact, you’ll need to use a brush, and I highly recommend the new Precision Face Brush that was part of the limited edition set on QVC, or can be purchased separately for $28. It’s synthetic and unbelievably plush, and the angled head makes it easy to hit small areas like the sides of the nose and under the eyes. It’s very soft and I didn’t see any stray hairs so no shedding problems so far.

A more purse-friendly Retractable Precision Face Brush is available for $22; the head of that one is angled like the larger one but about half the size. It retracts into a sleek metal tube for on-the-go convenience.

Whichever one you choose, be careful to remember the new mantra: “Tap and Buff.” There is no “Swirl” part of the regular equation because if you swirl the brush in the compact, you’ll end up picking up way too much of the READY foundation. Even a miracle product can look cakey if you apply too much! Just as with the original minerals, start with a little and if you feel that you need more, you can tap and buff again until you reach the desired level of coverage.

Performance

Obviously I can’t do a full review on a product I just received a couple of hours ago, so these are my first impressions. What I’ve found so far is that everything Leslie said on air this weekend is 100% true:

It’s fast. Just as Leslie said on air, I wanted to keep going with application even after I had achieved full coverage, and I actually used a bit too much. It’s hard to believe that you can get full coverage with just a few taps on the compact and strokes across your face, but you can. When Leslie said that you’ll need blush to add tone back to your face, she wasn’t kidding. While that might not excite some folks, it positively thrills me–I’ve never been able to wear blush because the redness in my rosacea-afflicted cheeks made it impossible, no matter what foundation I was wearing.

It feels good. Leslie’s friend Lisa has been saying it for years on QVC–when you first try the original BE loose mineral foundation, it can be hard to leave the house because it feels like you’re wearing nothing at all. That statement is even more true of READY–it feels absolutely weightless, but it also feels even better than bare skin. Perhaps that’s due to my rosacea, but my freshly washed and moisturized face doesn’t feel very good to me. My cheeks usually “burn” with heat and feel somewhat sensitive unless I’m wearing my BE or the few other foundations I’ve tried that don’t irritate, and READY foundation is now at the top of that list for me. It feels fabulous, and I already can’t imagine going without it.

It looks good. I’m not 100% convinced that I still need the Fair shade in the READY foundation, because I’m looking rather pale after application. Fair might be a good winter color for me; even with my strict avoidance of the sun it’s impossible not to pick up a little color this time of year. Fairly Medium might be a better summer match for me, but I won’t be sure until I get to my local boutique in a couple of weeks for a color match. In the meantime I can warm it up a bit with Tinted Mineral Veil, blush, and/or a radiance and make it work.

The finish is halfway between what you’d expect from the “dewy” original foundation and the matte foundation that came out in 2009.  READY foundation isn’t shiny, and it’s not a dead matte either, but has a beautiful, natural finish that just looks like skin. It blends beautifully and just as with the other bareMinerals foundations, you don’t have to worry about a line at your jaw that clearly shows where your foundation ends.

Conclusion

READY Foundation is a winner, plain and simple. Whether you’ve been a die-hard bareMinerals fanatic for the last twenty years, you’ve worn liquid foundation all your life, or even if you’ve never worn makeup before, you owe it to yourself to try this new product. The coverage is truly amazing, it applies so fast it’s almost unbelievable, it protects your delicate skin from the sun with broad spectrum SPF 20, and it looks and feels like you’re not wearing anything at all.

You’ll want to get color matched at a boutique if you can, but even if you can’t, take your best guess and place your order online. If your results are even half as good as mine, you’ll probably shove those other foundations to the back of your vanity, and thank Leslie and everyone else at BEHQ for creating the best (and the last!) foundation you’ll ever try.

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