The Body ShopExtra Virgin Minerals Compact Foundation
0 fl. oz. for $25
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Too many makeup products are called “mineral,” when they are anything but! While most mineral makeup comes in either loose- or pressed-powder form and containing both synthetic and natural ingredients, The Body Shop took a different approach with this foundation. Housed in a well-built compact, this is a very good cream-to-powder foundation for dry skin.

The butter-smooth texture glides on—although blending takes some effort because this has a tendency to streak and splotch. You’ll immediately see medium coverage that you can easily build to full without looking cakey. While The Body Shop claims this is a matte finish, it feels and looks significantly dewy, which makes sense given the emollient formula. Once it sets, the shininess of the finish dissipates to a satin matte look, but we noticed that it tended to pool slightly, accentuating pores.

The half moon–shaped synthetic brush included in the compact worked surprisingly well to apply this foundation, but you’ll need a small sponge to blend or get into smaller parts of the face, like under the eye or around the nose. Among the many shades, there are options for fair to dark skin tones, but in a foundation with this much pigment there’s very little room for a shade to be “off,” so experiment in the store and check the results on your skin in daylight before you buy.

As for the mineral makeup angle, please see More Info below to learn why it’s more marketing angle than a beauty breakthrough. Also refer to More Info for what is a confusing discrepancy regarding the claim that this foundation provides sun protection.

  • Moisturizing formula for dry skin.
  • Leaves a dewy finish.
  • Provides medium coverage.
  • Fragrance-free.
  • Careful blending is required to avoid a streaked or splotchy appearance.
  • After some wear, it can pool and accentuate enlarged pores.

More Info:

Mineral Makeup
The inclusion of olive oil in this product is indeed beneficial for your skin. The “mineral” in the name, on the other hand, is merely a marketing ploy to lead consumers to believe that all things mineral are something special. Mineral makeup generally includes the same cosmetic ingredients that companies have been including in products for years. There is nothing more natural or preferred about makeup labeled mineral than other powders without that designation.

Sun Protection Issue
This foundation includes sunscreen ingredients seemingly in amounts capable of providing adequate sun protection; these are marked as “sunscreen” on The Body Shop’s website, but NOT on the product itself. So, because these ingredients are not designated as “active” on the label, and because there is no accompanying SPF rating, they can absolutely not be relied on for sun protection.

Last Updated:04.06.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Community Reviews

Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Titanium Dioxide, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Polyethylene, Isononyl Isononanoate, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Polysilicone-11, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Boron Nitride, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Beeswax, Aluminum Hydroxide, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Isostearic Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Lauroyl Lysine, Tocopherol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil; May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Mica

Brand Overview

The Body Shop At-A-Glance

This England-based company was one of the first to offer "natural" products in freestanding stores. Founder Anita Roddick opened her first shop in 1976, and the store's success spurred her husband to turn the business into a franchise opportunity, thus spawning the opening of several more stores across England and, by the end of the 1980s, the United States. As Roddick has commented, the timing of her stores and their merchandise occurred just as Europe was "going green." It is not unrealistic to speculate that were it not for the success of The Body Shop, companies such as Aveda, Origins, and numerous others may not have started on such sure footing. Most consumers are drawn to products with natural ingredients, even though those from The Body Shop, like many other companies claiming natural, use the same standard cosmetic ingredients seen throughout the industry. If anything, The Body Shop's worldwide expansion has caused them to rely less on natural ingredients and more on robust, effective, synthetic ingredients. Can you imagine the smell of millions of bottles of Banana Shampoo rotting in a warehouse?

A somewhat controversial business transaction occurred in 2006 when L'Oreal purchased The Body Shop. Fans of the brand and its stance on animal testing protested that this corporate marriage made for strange bedfellows given L'Oreal's dodgy history with animal testing. The acquisition had many consumer groups focused on ethical and organic business practices calling the sale a cop-out and accusing Roddick of selling out to "the enemy." Roddick commented that the sale had more to do with L'Oreal wanting to learn more about community trade, which could prove a financial windfall for the developing nations and tribes The Body Shop has conducted business with for years. (Sources: www.cosmeticsdesign.com/news/ng.asp?n=66584-l-oreal-the-body-shop-takeover-ethical; and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4894854.stm). Regardless of motivation or ethical issues, what's certain is that L'Oreal's financial and developmental clout will allow the continued expansion of The Body Shop, although in terms of product improvements, you'll find more signs of that with the makeup than the skin-care products because that is L'Oreal's strength.

An attractive point of difference for this line is their ongoing commitment to environmental and social causes as well as fair trade and animal rights advocacy. For those efforts, the company (fueled by Roddick's personal passion for such issues) deserves high marks. If only the products were as sensible as the company's Mission Statement! It's not that there aren't good products to be found in The Body Shop's familiar green-trimmed stores, but far too many of them are ordinary formulations whose natural ingredients make little impact aside from looking good on the label. And many products contain irritating natural ingredients or fragrance components that place them a notch below the competition. This is not a company that has kept up with the latest research in what skin needs to look and feel its best. Instead, most of their products take a one-note approach to skin care, forcing customers to choose whether they want the benefits of vitamin C or E, seaweed, aloe, or a host of others—several of which have so-so benefit for skin, or less so in the amounts included in The Body Shop's products. Still, the line has remained affordable and is readily available, and so as long as you pay attention to the products that are worth your time and money, The Body Shop has some effective products in store for you.

Postscript: The Body Shop's founder, Anita Roddick, passed away in September 2007 at the age of 64. Although through the years we have had my issues with several of her company's products, it must be said that her business acumen and worldwide humanitarian efforts deserve accolades. She was a unique, passionate businesswoman, and we have no doubt her input will be sorely missed.

For more information about The Body Shop, owned by L'Oreal, call (800) 263-9746 or visit www.thebodyshop.com.

The Body Shop Makeup

Makeup isn't the main attraction at The Body Shop, at least if you survey the store and notice the small display compared to shelf after shelf of body lotions, butters, scrubs, and shower gels. Yet if you're drawn to the makeup display you will find it is nicely organized, with product labels and prices in plain view, plenty of testers and mirrors, and even a bit of counter space for your purse. It's an inviting setup, and the sales staff is low key and willing to let you play, which is always a plus. As it turns out, L'Oreal's acquisition of The Body Shop has paid off handsomely for the makeup, which received a much-needed spiffing-up in October 2006. Several products were reformulated, new products (mostly improvements) debuted, and the packaging improved both functionally and visually. Due to the extra attention paid to the makeup you will find some outstanding options for foundation, powder, liquid eyeliner, makeup brushes, and creamy lipsticks. The prices are reasonable too, but they're no bargain if you don't shop this line carefully. Still, L'Oreal has infused some panache into a makeup collection whose core products were becoming ho-hum, and the changes are welcome!

About the Experts

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