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Some time in early 2013, a friend in Finland sent me BB cream from a company of which I'd never heard, Lumene. I did a little research, and apparently it's a Finnish anti-ageing brand, similar in its marketing appearance to Vichy or La Roche-Posay. I loved the BB cream - in tone 1, it's the only one I've ever found to suit my frankly pallid complexion - so when, quite recently, I found five bottles of Lumene mineral foundation going for £5 on an eBay clearance, I took the chance. I wasn't let down.
Lumene mineral makeup comes in little blue squirty bottles, with moulded screw caps over the nozzles. Each one holds 30ml of foundation. The label proclaims that it has "protecting Arctic amethyst", whatever that may be, and that it is for normal and dry skin. I have combination skin, so I faltered upon reading, but I decided to try the makeup anyway.
I squeezed a little foundation onto my hand. The bottle was quite difficult to get the product out of, and I suspect that when the bottle runs low, I'll have to cut it apart to reach the last of it. Ah, well... The product has a smooth texture, with no grain or cakey bits, and is pleasingly non-gooey, with a medium viscosity.
I smoothed the foundation across my palm with a makeup brush before sliding it across my face. The first thing that became apparent was that an 01 in Lumene's foundation was quite a bit darker than an 01 in their BB cream! It was a natural, non-orange tone, but considerably darker than my skin tone. Still, it blended so nicely at the edges that, after a full application, to somebody who hadn't seen me before, it would have looked natural.
The foundation settles into the skin and sits smoothly over spots and wrinkles, leaving no plastery blobs or powdery effects. It doesn't flake, as I find many foundations do, and - perhaps best of all - doesn't harden; it doesn't feel like wearing foundation at all. It feels, and looks, like wearing a tinted moisturiser. In that respect, it's lovely stuff.
The foundation claims to be "double-stay", and it plays a blinder of a Ronseal promise. I apply it first thing in the morning, and it hangs around until I wash it off at the end of the day. I carry it in my handbag, but it's quite redundant; I've never had to reapply it, not once, not even after crying or rainstorms.
Although this foundation states that it's for normal and dry skin, and although it contains shea butter and glycerins, I found that this product didn't aggravate the oily side of my combination skin at all. As a result, I could recommend it for any skin type.
The product has a very, very slight suntan lotion-like smell, but it doesn't hang around, and you have to sniff the bottle for it to make itself aware. There is perfume listed in the ingredients, but I imagine it's only there to cover up the undesirable smell of some of the active chemicals.
I have no idea what the much-vaunted Arctic amethyst-minerals must be, and neither, apparently, does science, but, pseudoscience or no pseudoscience, this stuff works.
And so it came to pass that Lumene Mineral Makeup joined the ranks of my daily beauty routine. I'd recommend it to anybody looking for an even, soft, radiant, clear finish to their skin that barely smells, hangs around, and - if you're pasty pale, like me - gives you a tan as a surprise.