Update 1/14/08 – A few new players have entered the drugstore mineral makeup market! I’ve already reviewed Maybelline Minerals, but stay tuned for a full update of The Drugstore Mineral Makeup Rankings! For the 2007 Rankings, please read on…
The Drugstore Mineral Makeup Beauty Throwdown has a winner! In an effort to find the best drugstore mineral makeup, I dabbed, shook, brushed, tapped, and blended more drugstore minerals than you can shake a kabuki brush at.
The results? Though IsaDora’s smooth-wearing Mineral Foundation Powder breezed in to take the top spot for the highest quality drugstore mineral makeup, IsaDora did not win this beauty throwdown. When it comes to saving money and providing a good quality mineral makeup, Milani was a pretty clear winner.
About the Drugstore Mineral Makeup Rankings
I’ve included two sets of rankings below. The first is based on “Value” and ranks the drugstore mineral foundations according to how good of a bargain they are.
The second list ranks the drugstore mineral makeup products strictly on quality. This quality ranking is based only on how well the product performed and does not take price into account.
How I Determined “Value”
The drugstore mineral makeup ratings for value are determined by comparing the product’s quality and price with that of Bare Escentuals bareMinerals.
In determining whether a drugstore mineral foundation was a good deal, I felt that it was important to ferret out the hidden costs that come with using lower quality products. Rather than just using the retail price of a product, I tried to calcuate the actual price that you would pay if you used the product over a longer period of time.
I found the “actual” price of a product by figuring out how much the product costs per ounce and then adding in, if necessary, any additional cost of having to use a greater amount of product due to inferior quality.
Why did I use Bare Escentuals bareMinerals as the standard when comparing drugstore mineral makeup?
The main reason I used bareMinerals when comparing all these drugstore brands is because a reader commented that she wanted to see a mineral makeup comparison that revealed a cheap alternative to bareMinerals.
Furthermore, like many of you, I’ve worn bareMinerals for years and I feel confident in my ability to determine how another product measures up to it.
Now for the rankings…
What Drugstore Mineral Makeup Offers the Best Value?
1. Milani Minerals Loose Makeup – Despite its terrible packaging, Milani Minerals Loose Makeup still takes the top spot because it wears well and retails for a mere $8. Even if you factor in the cost of buying a new sifter jar for this foundation, Milani Minerals is still a good bargain.
2. L’Oreal Bare Naturale – Bare Naturale offers skin-perfecting coverage at only half the price of bareMinerals. The drawbacks to L’Oreal Bare Naturale are its opaque finish and slight tendencies towards looking a little muddy or chalky.
3. Jane Be Pure Mineral Powder – If all you need is a no-frills mineral powder that offers sheer coverage at a low price, Jane Be Pure is a good choice ($7, Walgreens).
4. IsaDora Mineral Foundation Powder – This product is the most similar to bareMinerals in terms of both quality and price. While IsaDora Mineral Foundation is only slightly inferior in terms of quality, it also costs only $5 – $8 less than bareMinerals.
Poor Value (listed from best to worst value within this category)
5. Physician’s Formula Mineral Loose Powder is a decent product, but when you add in the cost of the additional amount of product required per application and for more frequent touch-ups, it actually ends up costing about the same and even a little more than bareMinerals.
6. Almay Pure Blends. Though it’s a nice product, Almay Pure Blends offers poor value since it costs $12.49 for a measley 0.1 ounces. To put this into perspective, bareMinerals costs $25 for 0.3 ounces while Almay costs a whopping $37.47 for the same amount.
7. Neutrogena Mineral Sheers – Though Neutrogena Mineral Sheer foundation isn’t quite as expensive as Almay Pure Blends, it is a grossly inferior product. Furthermore, Neutrogena Mineral Sheers rings up at $20 for 0.3 ounces — only five bucks less than the (far) superior Bare Escentuals brand minerals.
Neutrogena’s paltry savings combined with its poor performance make this foundation the worst value out of the drugstore mineral makeup family.
The Highest Quality Drugstore Mineral Makeup (based only on quality, not on price)
Good Quality (natural looking, evens skin tone, capable of providing at least medium coverage to disguise flaws and imperfections without looking heavy, long-lasting, stays in place)
2. Milani Minerals
3. Almay Pure Blends
4. L’Oreal Bare Naturale
Medium Quality (Wearable, but noticeably inferior; may become cakey, more frequent touch-ups necessary)
6. Physician’s Formula Mineral Loose Powder
Poor Quality (Tends to look chalky, becomes cakey, runny, or muddy)
The Bottom Line on Drugstore Mineral Makeup:
In terms of quality, none of the drugstore minerals are as good as Bare Escentuals bareMinerals. If you’re looking to save some money, however, drugstore brands such as Milani, Jane, and L’Oreal may be good enough.
One last thing to consider is that these rankings assume that you have easy access to a retailer (like Sephora or Ulta) who carries prestige mineral makeup brands like Bare Escentuals. However, if you have to order your bareMinerals and pay shipping and handling fees (usually around $6), drugstore mineral makeup can suddenly look like an even better bargain.
For an interesting look at how the drugstore mineral foundations compare to each other and to see the numbers that I used for these rankings, please see The Drugstore Mineral Makeup Quick Comparison Chart.
Do you agree with my drugstore mineral makeup rankings? Please feel free to weigh in, makeup moxies!