I've lived with a small phobia of loose mineral powders for years. You can't tilt the jars and the powders smear all over your hands, they have a mind of their own, and good luck to you if you happen to sneeze in their presence. So as a matter of course I avoid them. But after speaking to Kim Jones, founder of Lumiere Cosmetics, I decided to give them a second chance.
She explained to me that loose minerals don't have binding agents, so the colors are truer and more naturally pigmented. They can be mixed for a custom shade. She sent me samples from her unique line.
Well, you never know how wrong your notions are until you challenge yourself. I never thought a few eye shadows could teach me anything, but through experimenting with the products I found that mineral powders have more personality than most pressed powders do. They give different results when you apply them wet as opposed to dry, and with a patting instead of swiping motion. Respect the mineral powders, work with them on their terms, and they will show you what they have to offer.
Kim sent me a mineral foundation, three cheek products, six eye shadows, and a lip gloss, which I will describe in detail below.
I began with Lumiere's cashmere foundation, which contains real silk powder.
Kim developed four types of foundation based on different skin type, coverage, and finish. “Mineral foundations powders are not one for all. Some people need more coverage while others need less, and everyone has different moisture needs,” Kim said. Her foundations never contain bismuth oxychloride, an inorganic additive that makes a product glide. It causes irritation in some users, especially when it comes in contact with the eyes.
The cashmere foundation is Kim's personal favorite, and I can see why. It is smooth, lightweight, matte but not dull, and really feels like silk. It is not shiny as some mineral foundations tend to be, and by midday, I experience no greasiness. Because they are dry powders after all, they will make your skin feel a little tight within the first few minutes. But be aware that as the day goes on, powder and skin will become good friends with the help of oil-combating silk powder.
I contoured using a bronzer called “True Radiance.” It's shimmery but blends well, and the tiny flecks of glitter will fall away for a warm glow.
I followed with a cool pink blush, which has a nice sheen but no shimmer, and a highlighting powder called “Sundew.” On the Web site it is introduced as a “softly muted candlelight glow,” which I took to be a replica of NARS "Albatross." It does the same job, but it's more flesh toned and less stark than Albatross—perfect for deeper skin tones.
Because Lumiere carries a wide variety of shades and textures of eye shadows, I'll spare you descriptions of colors and focus mainly on some experience I gathered while playing with them.
Complex is how I'll describe some of these colors. Sometimes the way they look in the jar is far from how they apply, and the final outcome depends on brush technique and whether it is used wet or dry.
I've ordered mineral powders online before, based on their descriptions, and have been disappointed every time. That's why Lumiere's emphasis on the in-store experience works. Customers can—and are encouraged to—spend time with the colors.
I wore the shadows without a priming base, over Lumiere's foundation. Late afternoon, and the colors are true, with no grease and no creases. This is something I've never experienced with any shadow, pressed or loose.
Lumiere's lip glosses are available in large squeeze tubes, large lip wands, and mini lip wands. The one I tried is a natural lip tone. The thinnest of layers will do. They are non-sticky and have a lot of slip. The natural drawback is that they don't last too long on the lips.
Other Lumiere Notables
There are quite a few Lumiere products I have yet to try. The selection at the company's skin and bath bar is huge, with soaps, scrubs, bath bombs, and lotions.
Kim tells me that emu oil has been used for centuries among Australia's Aborigines. Unlike most lotions and creams, which can penetrate only two layers of the dermis, emu oil can penetrate seven and dull the pain of dryness or burning.
Going forward, Kim is aiming to open more stores in the Syracuse and Albany areas, and eventually a "Sephora-type store but with natural products.” Coming down the production line are also chubby lip and eye pencils, as well as pressed foundations for those of us who need touch-ups during the day, which are set to launch in the winter.