Cosmetic companies are pretty savvy, especially when it comes to making money. In an industry where buzz is everything and new stuff hits the shelves every day, cosmetics that don’t sell, don’t stick around for long. So when a makeup product has been around more than two decades, you know that product has found a niche in the market. When a product has that kind of longevity, you can bet it has some worthwhile features and deserves a 2nd look, or review. That’s certainly true of Bobbi Brown’s Skin Foundation Stick.
Few things have changed about this foundation since it was first introduced nearly 25 years ago. The name has been changed from simply, “Foundation Stick,” to “Skin Foundation Stick,” and the shade range has expanded. Most recently the formula has been tweaked slightly to include what Brown calls “skin tone-correct pigments” which she promises will result in “an incredibly natural look.”
What You’re Promised: Bobbi Brown says this foundation is ideal for all skin types, stating it has a texture that is “creamy yet weightless,” and which “applies effortlessly and blends seamlessly.” Like many brands today, Brown promises this foundation has the somewhat magical ability to simultaneously moisturize and control oil, claiming this stick is composed of, “An innovative blend of emollients—like olive extracts and shea butter—help to moisturize skin (and lock it in), so skin stays looking soft and smooth all day.” She goes on to explain this foundation contains “light diffusing powders and oil-controlling minerals.” According to the company, these special minerals manage to “perfect the appearance of skin while reducing shine (even in sweat, water and humidity).”
Price: $46 for 0.31 oz.
What You Get: As noted above, for the price you’re not getting a lot of product. That tends to be true for most stick foundations. Users that love stick foundations tend to enjoy and value portability and are willing to pay more per ounce for the ease and convenience of a portable foundation.
Color Range: Bobbie Brown has long been praised for her neutral color range, especially among her foundations. Over the years, Bobbi Brown has expanded the color range of this foundation to an incredible 31 shades, from a very light cool-toned (i.e. yellow-based) Alabaster to deep Espresso and Cool Espresso. The original shades leaned heavily toward yellow undertones, but newer additions include warmer pink to red undertones to accommodate most skin tones. The shade range is really impressive and worth applauding!
Application: Bobbi Brown recommends starting with moisturized skin and applying this foundation “lightly” across forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. Brown states that this foundation may blended with fingertips, sponge, or a foundation brush. Unlike many stick foundations, this one glides over the skin with very little drag. This is a very creamy foundation. Unlike many stick foundations, this one applies easily with very little drag over the skin. The creaminess allows you to easily blend it out with your fingers or a damp makeup sponge. Applying this with a brush would likely result in steaks (because it’s so creamy). Despite the creaminess, you’ll definitely want to prep the skin first with a good moisturizer, and preferably one with a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF30 due to the absence of SPF in this foundation. Those with large pores will want to take time to prep with pore-camoflaging primer before applying this foundation as well. The prep is necessary because this foundation tends to cling to any dry patches or large pores and emphasizes any flaws.
Coverage: This foundation offers a light to medium coverage. It easier to sheer out than to build to full coverage due to the amount of slip (creaminess) during the application. It’s tough to achieve full coverage because the product tends to slide around when you go in with additional layers. Trying to pile on too many layers tends to be counterproductive because the bottom layers never set, causing the additional layers to just slide around.
Texture + Finish: While you’d expect this to be (like most stick foundations) a cream-to-powder, it isn’t. It never dries down to a powdery finish. So you’ll need to set it with a powder. Otherwise it remains fairly creamy and tacky. It will stay somewhat shiny and, depending on your skin type, you may risk it slipping all over your face.
Wear: Again, setting it with a powder to improve its longevity and staying power. You should also plan on carrying this stick foundation with you because it will require some touch-ups after 4-6 hours of wear. It’s light and portable and unlikely to create a mess in your purse. It was designed for use on the go, after all.
Skin Beneficial Ingredients: The formula does include the touted olive extract as well as some Tocopheryl (Vitamin E), but those antioxidants will be rendered inactive when exposed to light and air (due to the stick format of this foundation). That’s not a deal-breaker since most people get their antioxidants etc. from their skin care, not their foundation. The formula also contains shea butter which has emollient properties (as mentioned above). So this is not an ideal foundation for all skin types as advertised.
Also, I currently have dry, sensitive skin (thanks to a Retin-A treatment regimen), and I didn’t find this foundation particularly moisturizing or my skin noticeably smoother after applying it. In fact, despite my best pre-application moisturizing prep and a good moisturizing foundation primer (in this case Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Radiance Boosting Foundation Primer), the foundation still clung to and emphasized dry patches on my face and magnified my pores (flashback to my Clinique’s CC Cream experience). I applied a different stick foundation (Napoleon Perdis’ Foundation Stick) to half my face and Bobbi Brown’s Skin Foundation Stick to the other half and asked my family which side looked better. Both my mother and husband agreed that the side with the Napoleon Perdis foundation looked better than the Bobbi Brown side, and they both said they chose that side because my pores looked smaller and skin smoother.
Summary and Daily Beauty Wisdom Rating: As I mentioned at the beginning, this foundation has been around for a long time and for good reason. Bobbi Brown’s shade range is fantastic and most are incredibly skin-like. The stick foundation concept is wonderful and very convenient for anyone needing a portable option for touching up their foundation during the day. The formula of this one is obviously not my favorite, and I would dispute the claim that this is “ideal” for all skin types. But this foundation obviously resonates with many women. If you are willing to spend the money and plan to use this sparingly, this could work well for on-the-go touch-ups (bring along a setting powder or blotting papers too).
But I would not recommend this as a primary foundation. For one thing, it’s really expensive. Its $46 per 0.31 oz. price tag translates to a whopping $148.39 per oz.! And for another thing, I think there are other, superior stick foundation options currently available. Among them: the aforementioned Napoleon Perdis Stick Foundation (from $35.70 for 0.5 oz at Dermstore); the NYX Cosmetics Mineral Stick Foundation ($9.99 for 0.21 oz.); and Shiseido The Makeup Stick Foundation SPF15-18 ($38.50 for 0.38 oz.).
1. Beautypedia Reviews (Expert Rating – 4 / 5 stars; 4.33 / 5 star rating among Beautypedia Community Reviewers)
2. Total Beauty Reviews (7.1 / 10 Rating)
3. Makeup Alley Reviews (3.5 / 5 lipsticks rating)
4. Influenster Reviews (4.4 / 5 stars rating)
Bobbi Brown Website and Full Product Detail Available Here
Wisdom for the Day:
“You make wine to cheer human hearts, olive oil to make faces shine, and bread to strengthen human hearts.” ~Psalm 104:15 (God’s Word Translation)
Read more here.