Not Safe For May

As most ladies know, the foundation search is never over. Ever since a recent burning encounter with a clipless curling iron and some hydrogen peroxide, my skin has been up in arms; anything and everything will irritate it. Which is why I’ve decided to start exploring mineral makeup again. I used to use Bare Minerals but I was never happy with the coverage or the overall messiness of MMU. I never reacted to the Bismuth Oxychloride like a lot of other girls did/still do, sadly, but I had no patience for “swirling, tapping, and buffing.” It was time consuming and I gave up pretty quickly. Little did I know… there are a ton of totally legit indie natural MMU brands out there! Who don’t overcharge, use harsh ingredients, or hog the 11 o’clock hour of QVC nightly. With my newly sensitive skin, I will deal with the messiness in exchange for safe make up that won’t irritate my skin.

Of course I am the type of person that will spend $60 on MMU samples in one weekend. So here is my first installment of my delving into MMU: Alima Pure Natural Cosmetics & Mineral Makeup. They have a selection of 60 shades broken up into Cool, Neutral, Beige, Warm, Golden and Olive undertones with depths ranging from 0-9. I really had no idea where to begin, but I ordered samples of their Satin Matte Foundation in Neutral 3, Neutral 3.5, Neutral 4, Olive 1.5, Warm 3, Beige 3, and Beige 4. I also ordered samples of their Light & Medium Balancing Primer Powders, Pistachio Color Balancing Powder, and Keiko & Hanae Satin Finishing Powders. It took 5 business days to get a shipping confirmation. Not the quickest, not the slowest. Shipping from their Portland, OR location to California took another 5 days. The samples came in 5g jars with cute birds on them, fulfilling Portlandia’s “Put a Bird On It” prophecy.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

First up, Satin Matte Foundation samples in Olive 1.5, Warm 3, Beige 3, and Beige 4.

The actual samples were much richer in color than on the website, but I felt like I was in the general ballpark. Olive matched my neck more than my face. Warm was too yellow. Beige 3 was pretty close but a tad pink, and Beige 4 was just way off. I realize that these photos of my face aren’t the best swatches, but I’m also not wearing any makeup in them, so.

Up next were the Neutrals in 3, 3.5, and 4.

These were WAY rosier in person. I don’t think the photo captures it, but they looked suuuuper pink on me. Neutral 3 was much too light, Neutral 3.5 was close, but just pink, and Neutral 4 was like blush on me.

Balancing Primer Powders in Light & Medium and Satin Finishing Powders in Keiko & Hanae. I had no idea how medium their medium was, so I thought I would be safe and order both the fair/medium shades. Well, I definitely didn’t need to do that because hey, I’m a solid medium. I should just remember that from now on. Keiko wasn’t screwed on tightly so there was about 1/4 of the sample left by the time it got to me. Good thing it wasn’t my shade.

I received a free sample of their Dawn Satin Matte Eyeshadow, which I actually don’t see myself wearing very often. It’s a light dusty pink. Maybe I can throw it in with some Naked palette shades and see what happens? Their Pistachio Color Correcting Powder is in the middle, and a free sample of their Masquerade Luminous Shimmer Eyeliner. This is really pretty; a bronze, almost deep emerald in certain light. I actually look forward to trying this one out!

Here are some swatches both in the sun and in the shade. I know primer/setting powder swatches are useless, but whatever. They can’t hurt, right? From left to right: Light Balancing Primer Powder, Medium Balancing Primer Powder, Keiko Satin Finishing Powder, Hanae Satin Finishing Powder, Pistachio Color Correcting Powder, Dawn Satin Matte Eyeshadow, and Masquerade Luminous Shimmer Eyeliner.

Here’s my method of application:

1. Medium Balancing Primer Powder press’n’rolled with a Laura Mercier flocked sponge
2. Dusted off the excess with E.L.F. Face Kabuki Brush
3. Pistachio Color Correcting Powder stippled to red areas on with E.L.F. Complexion Brush
4. Cleaned/wiped off brush
5. Satin Matte Foundation in Beige 3/4/some combination thereof stippled on with same E.L.F. Complexion Brush
6. Hanae Satin Finishing Powder either press’n’rolled with the same sponge
7. Dusted off the excess with same E.L.F. Face Kabuki Brush
8. Sprayed with Urban Decay DeSlick Setting Spray

Formula wise, coupled with the primer & setting powders and a mist of Urban Decay’s DeSlick as the last step, my oily t-zone was tame for about 5-6 hours before the “shine” started bothering me. I didn’t get the coverage I wanted, even when I experimented with layering. When I used the foundation to spot conceal before/after foundation, it just got dark and muddy and accentuated whatever I was trying to cover up. Their Satin Finishing Powder is really nice; it gives a luminous glow that you definitely can’t mistake for oiliness. I may try it over other powders in the future. Their pistachio powder did its job, although it has to be stippled on, and not brushed on, to see a noteable difference.

All in all, I’m not totally sold on this formulation. For me. I tried it for a week, tweaking application here and there. Most notably, I sprayed DeSlick before & after foundation. Still the same-ish results. (By the way, I highly recommend a setting spray with mineral foundation; it helps get rid of that powdery look and helps the MMU “melt” into your skin.) I got about half a work day’s wear, but the oil control was impressive compared to liquid foundations I’ve been using. I really wanted to like their Satin Matte Foundation, but I couldn’t find a good color match. I don’t want to settle for “good enough,” so I’m still looking. Honestly one of the big reasons I want Alima to be “the one” is because of their kickass website. It’s so easy to navigate and just all-around aesthetically pleasing. I’m a sucker for stupid pretty things that have nothing to do with the quality of a product. On to the next!

 P.S. I think I read something about Alicia Silverstone specifically requesting her make up be Alima when she guest starred on something recently. And you know she’s good for it, Ecotools brushes and mama-birding her son and all.


Mayette Villanueva is a California-based natural beauty & style blogger.


  1. Reply


    February 14, 2013

    Awesome detailed, informative post! I’m bookmarking your blog. Your skin tone matches mine (so rare), and you seem to be reviewing a lot of the products I like/are interested in trying! Yay! Thanks!

    • Reply


      February 15, 2013

      Thank you, Kat! I love to hear that. 🙂

    • Reply


      February 15, 2013

      Do you have a blog I can check out?