March 13, 2019

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick Review

bareMinerals recently released the Complexion Rescue Foundation Stick, a foundation stick for dry skin. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on this foundation to help you decide whether or not to pick up this foundation.

Disclosure: This post is not sponsored, hower the product was provided complimentary for review purposes by Influenster. This post does not contain affiliate links.

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Foundation Stick

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue stick review

The bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick is cruelty-free, gluten-free, synthetic fragrance-free, and vegan. It has SPF 25, and can be used as a foundation and concealer.  Since it’s free of synthetic fragrance, the product itself doesn’t really have a scent. At most, it’s a very slight trace of scent from the ingredients in the product.

About My Skin

My skin is normal to slightly dry at the moment. It’s acne prone, and as a result I typically have minor dry patches around my healing breakouts. I typically wear a light to medium coverage liquid foundation such as MAC Face & Body, Stellar Limitless Foundation, or Make Up For Ever HD Foundation. I’m not too picky about the finish, I’ll wear anything from super dewy to slightly matte. My main requirements from a foundation are that it evens out my skin tone and looks like skin, i.e. doesn’t look cakey, powdery, or dry.

My skin is light, muted, warm olive. My best foundation matches are MAC Face & Body in C1 (a bit too yellow) and Stellar Limitless Foundation in S01 (a hair too peachy in the winter, but otherwise the closest match I’ve found).


bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick is packaged in a sleek, rose gold, twist-up tube. The tube has a little bit of weight to it, which makes it feel luxurious, but not so much weight that it would make your purse feel heavy if you took it on-the-go with you. The cap snaps on solidly, so it’s not something I would worry about popping off in my bag and making a mess. I’m a fan of this packaging. It’s efficient and practical, but it’s still beautiful and high-quality.

Shade Range

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick 1.5 Birch swatch

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick shade 1.5 Birch swatch

I have the shade 1.5 Birch, which is the lightest yellow-toned shade in the range, and the third lightest shade overall. Sephora describes the shade Birch as “for fair to light skin with neutral to warm undertones.” I think that’s an accurate description of this shade. This shade also matches my Color iQ on Sephora, so I’m pretty confident that this is the best match for me in this range. When I first swatched it on my arm I was a bit worried because it looked like it was going to be a little too dark and too peachy, but since my face and neck are a little bit darker than my arm, once it’s blended out it’s a great match for me.

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick shade range

Photo Credit: Sephora

In general, I think this shade range really caters to people in the light-medium spectrum, with fewer options for people who have fair to light skin, and for people who have medium-deep to deep skin. I would like to see both ends of the shade spectrum expanded to provide better options because I don’t think there’s enough variation in depth or undertone at either end of the spectrum. This foundation is pigmented enough that it’s not a situation where you could get away with using a foundation that’s not quite your shade the way you can with something like MAC Face & Body.

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue birch

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick shade 1.5 Birch blended

Ingredients in bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick

Sea Water, Water, Coconut Alkanes, Squalene, Paraffin, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Glycerin, Bis-Butyldimethicone Polyglyceryl-3, Jojoba Esters, Lauryl Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Saccharomyces/Xylinum/Black Tea Ferment, Isostearic Acid, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Dimethicone, Trifluoropropyldimethyl/Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Trehalose, Moringa Oleifera Seed Extract, Camellia Japonica Flower Extract, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Extract, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Sea Salt, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Peg-12 Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Lauroyl Lysine, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopherol, Silica, Aluminum Hydroxide, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Microcrystalline Wax, Propanediol, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Carrageenan, Stearic Acid, Trisodium Edta, Aluminum Dimyristate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, 1,2-Hexanediol, Boron Nitride, Disodium Phosphate, Citric Acid, BHT, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol. May Contain (+/-): Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides.

Since this foundation is water-based, you’re going to want to use a water-based primer with it for best results, if you use primer at all. I tested it without primer and with Becca Backlight Priming Filter. I didn’t notice any difference in how it applied or wore throughout the day, but obviously Becca’s primer gave it a more radiant finish.

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick has SPF 25, but I would advise using a sunscreen underneath just to be sure your skin is getting enough of the active ingredients to adequately protect it from sun damage, which it may not get if you’re relying on a makeup product- which you would typically apply in a thinner layer- for sun protection. This foundation uses titanium dioxide, a physical sunscreen, for sun protection, which is great news for those of you out there with sensitivities to chemical sunscreens.

There are some great ingredients for dry skin in bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick, such as volcanic sea water from Jeju Island. If you’re into Korean beauty, you’ll already be familiar with Jeju Island, but if you want to know what makes it so special you can read more about that here. Red algae is another ingredient in this foundation that helps to hydrate skin. It does this by helping to retain water and protect your skin’s moisture barrier. Then there’s camellia japonica flower extract, which helps to soften the skin and provides nutrients. Additionally, it’s been shown to reduce trans epidermal water loss, or TEWL, which means that it helps to keep your skin hydrated throughout the day. Finally, olive-derived squalane is included to help moisturize the skin. It also has some anti-bacterial properties, so it’s good for acne-prone skin.

I do have to give a word of caution to those of you with coconut allergies or sensitivities, this foundation does contain coconut alkanes as the third ingredient and caprylic/capric triglyceride further down the list, which are ingredients that can cause breakouts if your skin is sensitive to it. If your skin isn’t sensitive to coconut or coconut-derived ingredients, then this shouldn’t be a problem for you.


bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick glides onto the skin with a refreshing cooling sensation that feels like you’re splashing your face with water. It’s a really lovely feeling, and I think it emphasizes the skincare-based benefits of this foundation. It’s very smooth without being oily, which makes it a really pleasant experience to apply it. It blends out easily with a brush or sponge, and I didn’t notice any difference in the final result whether I applied it with a brush or sponge. You could definitely blend this out with your fingers, too. I just chose not to because I didn’t like the way it felt underneath my fingers, it kind of settled into my fingerprints in an unpleasant way, if that makes sense. If the ‘foundation fingers’ sensation drives you crazy, then you’ll probably want to stick to a brush or sponge when applying bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick.


It feels very lightweight, comfortable, and non-drying on the skin. I’m used to stick foundations feeling heavy, but the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick is actually really pleasant to wear. It doesn’t feel greasy or oily at all, but it also doesn’t feel too powdery. bareMinerals calls this a “liquid foundation in a stick” which would sound like it was just a gimmicky marketing term if I hadn’t used the foundation myself. However, after trying it out, it really does feel more like a liquid foundation that a typical stick foundation, which tends to have more of a cream or powder feel. The texture isn’t exactly the same as a liquid foundation, but close.

It does have a sort of wet feeling if you don’t set it with powder, which I think will make some people feel uncomfortable. In my opinion, this is a product that really needs a setting powder otherwise it feels almost tacky and it transfers if you touch your face.

Coverage & Finish


Before applying foundation. I have concealer underneath my eyes, but not anywhere else.


Before foundation. I have concealer underneath my eyes, but not anywhere else.



Before foundation. I have concealer underneath my eyes, but not anywhere else.

The coverage of this foundation can vary from light to medium depending on how much of the product you apply. One thin layer will result in light coverage, whereas a thicker layer results in light-medium coverage. bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick does layer up to create a true medium coverage if you apply two layers, which is what I did in these photos.


Split face: left half no foundation, right half wearing bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick in 1.5 Birch

In this photo,  you can tell that 1.5 Birch is a really good color match for me, especially in comparison to my neck. My face is lighter and pinker than the rest of my body, so I always make sure to match foundations to my neck. My skin tone looks more even, and the foundation has a skin-like finish.

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick 1.5 Birch

Wearing bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick in 1.5 Birch

In this photo, you can see that the foundation has a radiant finish. It’s on the lighter end of glowy, so I really only see the shine on the high points of my face. The rest of my skin has more of a satin finish. I’m also pretty satisfied with how this covered my acne. It reduced the visibility of it without making the dry skin around it more visible. However, I wore this foundation again when I had a more gnarly breakout a few days later (I’ve been hitting the BHA pretty hard lately and it’s making a lot of stuff come to a head) and that did produce more of the cakey, dry appearance that I try to avoid.


Personally, rather than trying to cover my acne with a super high coverage foundation I opt for MAC Face & Body which is hydrating and has less pigmentation to get caught on the dry skin. I don’t mind having less coverage over my acne because it creates a more aesthetically pleasing result, at least in my opinion.

My Experience with bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Foundation Stick 1.5 Birch

Finished look, powdered with Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. I’m also wearing The Balm Mary Lou-manizer on my cheekbones.

Soooo here’s the thing: I don’t like stick foundations. If you read my Marc Jacobs Velvet Lash Primer review, you’re probably thinking “really, again?” Trust me, when the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick showed up in my mailbox I immediately thought “Oh god, I’m going to hate this.” No offense to bareMinerals, but I’ve had nothing but negative experiences with stick foundations. My expectations were pretty low.

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick review

Finished look around 6 pm. Wearing NARS American Woman on my lips.

I was surprised when I liked the look and feel of the foundation, but I thought, ok, it’s not going to last well on my skin. I was 100% ready to see this foundation turn into a mess by the end of the day, but to my surprise, it didn’t.


6 hours, one wardrobe change, and a very nervewracking hockey game later.

On this particular day, I wore bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick for six hours, but since then I’ve worn it for longer periods of time and had the same results. The coverage hadn’t faded, not even around my nose or my zits, which are usually the first to go, and the rest of my face makeup was still intact. I definitely did get oily on the portion of my cheeks that’s closest to my nose (I never know how to refer to this part of my face, tbh) where my pores are the largest. This is pretty typical for me no matter which foundation I wear. I’m also wearing highlighter in this photo, so part of the shine is from that.

One of the days I wore this foundation I had to walk a few blocks in the rain without an umbrella, and that definitely did make this foundation wear away faster. For that reason, I’d say this probably isn’t a good option for people in very wet or humid climates. I haven’t been able to test it yet, but I suspect this won’t hold up well to sweat. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I doubt it. Since my face sweats a ton in the summer and I live in a hot climate, I’ve gotten pretty good at predicting which foundations will hold up and which ones won’t.

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue stick flash test

Of course, since this foundation has SPF, I had to do a flash test to see if it would give me a white cast in photos. Since it uses a physical SPF, I fully expected it to have some flashback, but surprisingly it doesn’t. I took this photo towards the end of the night, so I had definitely developed some oil around the center of my face at this point.


Now for what I don’t like about this foundation. First of all, it settles in my pores a little bit. I couldn’t quite capture this on camera, but the photo above should give you an idea of what I mean. I did consider that maybe I was just being nitpicky because I’m so used to wearing MAC Face & Body, which is basically the most skin-like foundation ever, but the other liquid foundations I wear on a regular basis don’t do that. So there’s one point against the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick.  No matter how I applied it, I couldn’t seem to fix this problem. Primer or no primer, powder or no powder, it did this every time. It also settled into my smile lines one day, but since it was the only time this happened, I think I just applied too much product that day.

The next problem I have with this foundation is that it absolutely must be set, or else it will transfer. Maybe this isn’t a problem for you, but if I touch my face or hug someone, this foundation transfers very easily. I was able to solve this by setting it, but I had to use more powder than I typically would. I prefer to only set the concealer under my eyes unless I’m going to have a really long day, especially in the summer when my skin is drier. However, I have to give the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick some credit because even when I applied a ton of powder, it didn’t make the foundation look dry. I tried it with both the Stellar Cosmic Face Powder in Haze and the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, and neither one caused the foundation to look dry or feel uncomfortable. I’m wearing the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder in all of the photos in this post.


Final Thoughts

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick 1.5 Birch

Wearing bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick in 1.5 Birch over Becca Backlight Priming Filter, and set with Laura Mercier powder. P.S. I’m wearing Nudestix Mystic (blended out) on my lips.


I … like … a stick foundation??? Who am I? The bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick isn’t without its drawbacks, but overall I actually do like it and will continue to use it. There’s no way in hell it will replace my beloved MAC Face & Body, but I do think it’s a beautiful foundation, and the few drawbacks it has are things I can live with. I doubt I’ll be able to wear this foundation when it gets warmer, but for now, I’m really digging it.

It feels amazing when I’m applying it, it’s lightweight on the skin, the coverage and finish are great for everyday life, it looks like skin, and it photographs beautifully. As for the coconut-derived ingredients, so far they haven’t caused any breakouts for me as far as I can tell. Like I said, I’ve been using a lot of BHA lately, and it’s been bringing things to the surface. I can’t 100% say this product hasn’t caused me any issues, but from what I’ve observed so far, it doesn’t appear to be correlated with the couple of breakouts I’ve had over the last few weeks, which started prior to me testing this product.  I wish it didn’t settle in my pores, but it’s not that noticeable. I can fix the issue I have with it transferring by powdering it, and it doesn’t negatively impact the look or feel of the product. It’s not perfect, but for me, the pros outweigh the cons. I’m honestly still surprised that I like a stick foundation this much, but I think bareMinerals has come up with a beautiful, innovative formula and I’m excited to see what’s next from the brand.

$32 at Sephora | Ulta | bareMinerals

You might like this if…

  • Light to medium coverage foundations are your favorite.
  • You’re looking for a foundation that also has skincare benefits.
  • You have normal to dry skin.
  • You need a foundation that can be applied on-the-go, or a foundation you can easily take with you for touch-ups.

Skip this if…

  • You have a sensitivity to coconut or coconut-derived ingredients.
  • You have very oily skin or live in a predominantly hot, humid, or wet climate.
  • High-coverage foundation is your jam.
  • You’re not willing to set your foundation with powder.

Thanks for reading!



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