Review: Alima Pure Foundation, Brushes, and Blush

Oh Alima, how do I love thee? Let me count the divine shades of blush in my makeup kit.

Samples (for $1.50 each), advice on choosing colors, and application tips make this very clean brand easy to try. I can pretty much guarantee you will find something you love. Alima makes several types of products, but three are truly stand-outs and will forever be on my favorites list.

Satin Matte Foundation: This is truly a fantastic foundation! There are so many colors, really the best selection for the widest variety of skin tones I’ve seen from any brand. I’m Olive 1, and I was never able to get a true match elsewhere. I have dryer, “mature” skin, and as with any mineral foundation you have to moisturize appropriately first. I use a hydrosol and an oil or balm before application. This product also functions as my concealer. It’s great under eyes, on lids, and on blemishes.

I typically use a brush to apply, but if I have a particularly egregious spot I use a pinky fingertip to dot on and pat in, then a brush to smooth it out. My everyday application is straight foundation only on the areas that need covering, then DIY finishing powder all over to even things out. My finishing powder is equal parts foundation, kaolin clay, arrowroot powder, and rice powder. When first applied, the minerals sit on top of your skin, and then sort of magically become part of your skin over the next several minutes. And then you have an even skin tone with a natural glow. And the answer to the critical question you have at this point – yes, it lasts all day, absolutely. If I end up with too much “glow” later in the day, I use blotting papers, or avoid that issue altogether with strategically applied RMS “un”powder.  One of the great things about loose mineral foundation is the control over application. It can go on heavier or lighter, depending on how you apply. Use the right brush for the amount of coverage you want. You absolutely must invest in good brushes if you use mineral makeup, and luckily Alima is a star here too. And don’t be shy about exploring their website, like the great troubleshooting tips.

Brushes: Best. Brushes. Ever. Alima’s are vegan, which can be a lifestyle choice or a just a good idea for sensitive types.  They are super functional and super soft and gentle, plus they have some real variety to suit your needs. I have the concealer brush, half-moon brush, a mini-buki, and some of the smaller eye brushes. I’m coveting a few others too.  Definitely wash your brushes regularly. I use my unscented shampoo or a mild soap like Dr. Bronner’s.

Blushes:  Alima blushes are award winning and come in satin matte and luminous shimmer finishes.  Some shades have more shimmer than others and are too much for me. I have mixed the ultra-shimmery Sugar Rose with kaolin clay and rice powder to get a nice luminizing effect with barely a touch of color.  This is a great highlighter on the face, and on collar bones and shoulders in warm-weather outfits. My standard blush is the satin matte in Apple Blossom. I’ve been playing with different colors too, and there are several that work on me. Sahara is my current favorite in the shimmer finish, and the shimmer is very understated. The website is awesome about describing the colors and the level of shimmer, as well as suggesting which blushes you might like based on your foundation color. If you are in need of a spring pick-me-up, give these a try!

Are you part of the Alima Pure love-fest?  What have you tried?

49 Responses to “Review: Alima Pure Foundation, Brushes, and Blush”
  1. Naomi says:

    Very timely post! I am looking for new make up and have just ordered three eyeshadows and two coloured lip balms – can’t wait to play with them!

  2. Lilly says:

    They have been on my wishlist for a very long time. I am a big fan of creamy makeup products, but as summer approaches I am going to need more powder products. I would like to try the blush in Guava, and my foundation shade should be Coriander, but I will order a sample of a few different shades to try. I just read that they are having a sale on brow powders this week, so this might be the perfect time to try some new stuff!!

  3. Elizabeth G. says:

    Rebecca, where do you find kaolin clay, arrowroot powder and rice powder? I’d like to try your DIY powder. I tend to get a shine on my nose. I have tried some Alima products and I like them very much. I especially like the foundation. It gives a nice finish without looking powdery.

  4. fern says:

    Oh, do I love Alima Pure. I use their foundation for extra coverage (over W3ll People, Vapour, or RMS), their blushes are amazing, the lip balm in rhubarb is my perfect “my lips but better” color, and their brushes have won over all the others I have ever used (MAC, Bobbi Brown, Bare Escentuals, Eco Tools). Just awesome. I sometimes use the blush to help a cream blush last all day, but the powder blush will last all day on its own and blends beautifully. I also really like their eyeshadow, but they don’t stay, for me, without a “dirty” primer, so I don’t wear eyeshadow very often any more – but I do use their eyeliner everyday.. I use their color balancing power in pistachio to balance out the redness from acne, too. You really can’t go wrong, is the take home message, I think – great post! :)

  5. jen says:

    Please forgive the off-topic question, BUT: has anyone tried the “new formulation” 100% pure sunscreen? How pasty/chalky/etc., is it? The product description reads: “New Formula. Thicker and more concentrated than original formula.”

  6. Stefanie says:

    I LOVE Alimas foundation! I am OLIVE 1 as well and it is a perfect match-I don’t think I ever had a foundation match my skin so well!

  7. Katy says:

    I have a few samples, the colors are gorgeous, but I have trouble using them with brushes. I haven’t managed to dip a bush into the loose powder (especially blush) and not end up with too much…even after I swirl. (So i just use my finger, to apply, then the brush to blend.)
    The sample pots don’t come with the little plastic divider with holes, I noticed on the website that only the full sized eyeshadows are pictured with one, but do the blushes and foundation powders have them too?


  8. Mairin says:

    I could write a little book on Alima :) Love their half-moon brush. I think it’s the easiest brush to use – for foundation, bronzer, and blush. I also have their kitten (like it for blush or highlighting powders) and their foundation brush, which actually I’m not wild about. It’s not as soft as I thought it would be. I also got their sponge applicator for foundation and have been experimenting with that the last few days. I’m pleased! It definitely gives the most dewy coverage and the most coverage overall.

    The range of foundation colors is second to none. Like RB, I am an Olive 0 or 1 – a color that is SO hard to find usually. Most foundations are too pink, too yellow, or ugh too orange. Or just too dark. I find though that actually a lot of colors match me. I’m fine with their beige and natural shades as well (in 0 or 1s).

    Their eyeshadows do not, in my experience, have great staying power. I’ve had better luck with W3ll people’s, which seem to be more highly pigmented. But, the eyeshadows are still pretty. I love VENUS for a shimmery light light rose champagne pink.

    Shimmer blushes can be suuuper shimmery but sheer-ish at least. I’ve tried their matte blushes in the lightest shades, which still seem a little too pink/dark for pale me. The BEST luck I’ve had is actually combining their highlighting powders (any of the shades, but especially lumina and whisper) with their lightest shade of bronzer. Now that is beautiful!

    I haven’t tried their lip shades, eyeliner, brow powders or correcting powders. Not wild about the concealers (I think the foundation does a good enough job as is, especially since you can layer) or the finishing powders (I don’t have super oily skin so the foundation is enough).

    Overall a great company and a joy to receive the samples and experiment and see what works for you.

  9. Mercedes says:

    Unfortunately I’m just not a fan of loose mineral makeup :(

  10. Amy L says:

    I looove the foundation. I switched to Alima from Bare Minerals a few months ago and definitely don’t miss Bare Minerals. I use it as under eye concealer too. It lasts all day, but without that cakey makeup feel.

    @ Katy – the foundation does have the divider with holes, and I assume the blush would too, but I haven’t gotten a full size blush. I usually shake a bit into the lid of the container and dip my brush in that.

  11. Bridget says:

    Yay! I love Alima foundation – I have used it everyday for the past seven years. I originally gravitated to the once-tiny brand because that had such wide range of colors and I’m quite fair but with weird pink AND yellow undertones. I love that they don’t irritate my acne prone skin. I’ve (YES I know) even slept in it with no ill-effects whatsoever. Unlike wet foundation – you can choose your coverage level depending how heavy a hand you use. Much respect.

    Jen – I did just receive the 100% Pure Argan Moisturizer 30 SPF. Now, I have nothing to compare it to because I never tried the old formulation -but I’m not happy with it. Its very thick and due to the high content of vegetable wax makes my skin feel “coated” and slightly greasy. I find myself blotting more. That said, it does provide good coverage.
    I’m going to try the Pomegranate one in SPF 20 soon, and hope that formula (which uses a different type of wax) is better. I’ll update here when I do, but it might be a while.

  12. jess says:

    I love Alima! Their eyeliners are amazing and stay put better than any other clean product (and better or as well as the dirty ones I used to use) I’ve come across. They last all day with minimal smudging.

    I have been contemplating buying a blush or two from them, and this post has convinced me to go ahead and do it.

  13. Josephine says:

    I’ve only ever found two mineral foundation products that I like, and Alima is one of them–I’ve recommended the satin foundation to nearly every person who has ever asked me about makeup. (I’m in theater, and good at doing my own face despite a sometimes terrible complexion, so I get a reasonable number of questions.) The stuff really does blend in better than almost any other product I have encountered, and the shade range is phenomenal. I use Beige 2, which strikes a nice balance between my very pale skin and my freckles/moles–if I go all the way light and try to cover them up, I look weird and whitewashed.

    And for anybody who’s interested and occasionally needs a face-full of makeup that gives complete coverage, for real, but still won’t cover their face in chemicals: my favorite recipe is Christopher Drummond concealer (it’s a cream/liquid) followed by Alima foundation, both carefully blended. It’s a high-powered combination, and the concealer, while not as clean as RMS or the Alima powders, is pretty darn green. Obviously, the Alima powder concealers are lovely, too, but sometimes a dry product just won’t do what I need it to.

  14. Lesley says:

    I love love love my Alima foundation. However, I have serious issues with their foundation brush. I do not like it. The bristles are constantly falling out on my face, on my bathroom counter, etc. I don’t care for the application of the foundation with that brush. I actually use an Eco-Tools brush from the drugstore to apply my Alima foundation, and I like it so much better!

  15. Carla says:

    I love Alima Mimosa blush, it is light but gives you a perfect natural flush. Antique Rose is too dark during the winter but should work out OK in the summer if I tan. The blush brush is perfect.
    I want to try the foundation but forget to order the samples before I run out and buy Mineral Fusion at Whole Foods, which has Phenoxethanol. I am not sure how bad that ingredient is but I doubt its good.

    jen – 100& Pure’s new sunblock is horrible. It was perfect before but now it is too thick. It leaves a horrible white film like all other sunblocks. Devitas’ is ok but also a little drying but at least it doesn’t leave a white mask.

  16. Laura says:

    WHAT?! When did they change their sunscreen?! It was my absolute perfect product! I am almost out and have to reorder, I guess I’ll be shopping for a different kind now… :(

  17. Amanda says:

    I haven’t yet tried any Alima products but am very excited to do so. I just went onto the Spirit Beauty Lounge website to check them out as I received a gift certificate last Christmas (that I just found after misplacing it) and went to place an order – however, being in Canada, the shipping costs half of my GC! Would anyone be willing to do a gift certificate swap for the Saffron Rouge website which is the Canadian equivalent of Spirit Beauty Lounge? My GC was an electronic one that you would just have to enter the code. If anyone could help that’d be great as I’d love to try some of these products.

  18. Melissa says:

    hey ladies! any thoughts on mineral powder foundation versus tinted moisturizer for “mature” skin? (hi i’m almost 40…and things are changing on this face. ha.)

    i just worry about product settling into fine lines, etc. any advice/input would be sooooo welcome! :)

  19. andrea says:

    I’m biracial, and Alima Pure is the only brand of make-up that has foundation in my skin-tone (Beige 5). I also love their Satin Matte Foundation in Melon (so pretty). I also use their concealer for the dark circles under my eyes. So brilliant. I wear all three products every day. I’m a huge fan of the company –they also send samples of other products when you make a purchase, which is usually enough to supply me with eye shadow for special occasions.

  20. nicolem says:

    I switched to Alima a few months ago and I feel mixed about it. I just use the satin matte foundation and matte blush, and I find that it tends to “settle’ after an hour or two, and I end up having to wipe some off as it looks cakey. Granted, I do tend to need it for more full coverage. The places I notice the cakey-ness is right below my eyes/along the side of my nose any my forehead.

    The things I struggle with are:

    The packaging: I loved the little spinny cover with the holes…until it randomly fell out on me and spilled the majority of the (expensive) powder. TWICE. I assumed it was a freakish lid, but when it happened on the next one too, I took all the hole dispensers out of my foundation and just keep it open and knock a bit into the lid.
    (@Katy, The foundations mostly come with the top with holes that spins and closes, although I have gotten a few with just holes. My blushes just have the lid with the holes)

    The blush colors: While I figured out a good foundation match (mixing cool 2 and 3), I can’t say that I’m excited about their blush colors. I have now tried two different colors (Pink and Antique Rose), and both of them wear quite orange for my rosy skin. The only other one that looks more pink is the Apple Blossom, which I love as a light pinkish eyeshadow, but it is far too pale for my cheeks.

    Anyone have any thoughts/advice?

  21. Aysia Wright says:

    Clearly Alima Pure is well loved and for good reason. Goodebox members are currently enjoying a whole pallet of Alima Pure colors this month, including 3 eyeshadows, a blush and a lip gloss, curated by the fabulously talented Kristen Arnett!

  22. Anya says:

    Sometimes I worry about the powdered titanium dioxide in their products and breathing it in, but I use their products right now because the shades are great and they don’t aggravate my acne. I sprinkle the foundation onto the lid and use a damp kabuki brush (a few spritzes of whatever hydrosol I’m currently using) to swirl up some foundation and apply as needed. Warm 3 is a great shade for me, and my favourite blushes for everyday/work wear are Pink and Bisque. I also like Desert Rose for a pop of colour in the winter. I also really like their Mauna Loa bronzer for the summer. Plus their blush samples last me forever! I’m not a fan of the shimmer blushes, but at least they’re clearly labelled, so I just stick to the matte ones. The staying power of the foundation/blushes is pretty good – not all day long, but most of the day. I find that the eyeshadow doesn’t have the best staying power, but I haven’t experimented with primers.

  23. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Elizabeth G, I get kaolin (white cosmetic clay) and arrowroot (under misc bulk ingredients) from Mountain Rose Herbs, I think I got the rice powder from Coastal Scents (I also buy their sifter jars to put my dry DIY stuff in).

    @Katy, the Alima blushes and foundations do have sifters in the jars. You can also buy those Coastal Scents sifter jars to put your samples in. Other than tapping out the amount you want into a large enough lid to accommodate your brush, try using a lighter brush. For blush I use my older bare minerals brushes (,default,pd.html) but I would love the Alima kitten brush.

    @Mairin, totally agree that the Alima foundation is far superior to the special concealer. I have tried their finishing powders and I don’t like them – the colors are so much more limited and none are right for me.

    @Carla, phenoxyethanol is on my list of absolutely won’t use ingredients. I actually get a rash and/or break out from it. Get thee to the Alima site for samples! : )

    On the sunscreen note, I cannot believe 100% Pure would change such a popular product. It actually was not my favorite so I won’t miss it myself, but it seems like many loved it. @Bridget, I recall that the Pom SPF 20 felt heavier to me than the original SPF 30, I would rate it okay. My favorite face screen that is just a sunscreen is John Masters. But do not despair, sunscreen seekers – next week I review a product with sunscreen that I absolutely LOVE.

  24. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @nicolem, try telling the Alima people your experience and ask them to recommend a blush:, I’ve received good advice in the past. I’ve never bought an Alima product with a spinning cover. I wonder if that’s a new thing. The regular covers are hard to pry off when I want to use one in a DIY mix.

    @Melissa, I’m 44 and I’ve loved mineral makeup forever. I think any product that is heavily applied will tend to settle into lines, but I typically keep it light and don’t have any problem. Now that I’m older it’s even more important to moisturize before using minerals. I only recently have tried a tinted moisturizer, and I’ve found that just like with minerals, creasing is related to how much is applied.

  25. Ny says:

    I’d kinda sworn off makeup and had always seen his brand online but never dared purchase. I’m going to order some samples of the concealer, that’s the only thing I’m really looking for, to cover post inflammation hyperpigmentation.

  26. jen says:

    Thanks for everyone’s responses re. the sunscreen! FYI, I just checked the sight, and it looks like the pomegranate one has also been reformulated. I look forward to your sunscreen product review next week, Rebecca!

  27. Katie says:

    Don’t forget how awesome Alima’s lipbalms are!!! For $7 a stick you cant go wrong. I’ve been thinking about making a DIY finishing powder so I’m glad Rebecca shared that as well. I have Alima’s Shimmer Powder but am not that impressed and want something more for my oily skin, I look forward to trying it mixed with clay and arrowroot powder.

  28. JJ says:

    JJ sez you need Jane Iredale Pressed Base SPF 20.

  29. Cori says:

    I’ve tried just about everything and love them all! Alima is one of my favorite brands.

  30. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Katie, every so often I am tempted to try their lipbalm again, because the colors are gorgeous and the texture is nice, but I just can’t tolerate peppermint on my lips. For those who like pepperminty balm it’s great though!

  31. Nicole says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I used to really like 100% Pure’s sunscreen as well, until I found Marie Veronique’s Face Screen. It’s honestly amazing, and I’ve tried everything (John Master’s, Soleil Organic, Pratima, 100% Pure, Vive Sana). I have worn it every single day since I got it just because it makes my skin look better ( even use it when I go out at night). Not at all what I thought sunscreen would look, or feel, like. I will never try anything else so long as it’s continued. It’s truly my HG.

  32. philosophotarian says:

    well, all this alima love worked: I just ordered a bunch of samples. I haven’t tried mineral makeup in years. Maybe this will be love? Excited to try them out!

  33. Melissa says:

    @Rebecca Bailey – thanks so much! Perhaps you will do a review of your favorite tinted moisturizers/BB creams soon (I do love a multitasking product!)…*hint hint wink wink*

  34. Tiffany says:

    I’ve been tempted to try mineral make-up for a while now, but the packaging makes me hesitate. Does anybody know of clean make-up brands with clean, limited packaging? For example, paper satchets for samples instead of plastic baggies. I know that’s not zero waste, but at least it’s better? [I know, I know, some would say just skip makeup, but I want to look great and selectively reduce, you know?]

  35. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Tiffany, when you order samples of foundation or blush from Alima, they come in reusable tiny plastic jars. I repurpose them for my DIY experiments, travel, having an extra in my workbag, etc. When Alima sends samples with each order (that you don’t specify) the samples come in tiny plastic bags. I don’t know of any companies using paper packaging for minerals. I don’t suffer any guilt over the packaging of these tiny samples, and whatever I don’t like I give away, so I feel like in the long run I’m introducing so many people to clean make-up the good balances out the bad.

  36. JeanineDC says:

    I like Alima as a brand but I preferred the mineral foundation from Lily Lolo. Lighter and it does not settle into fine lines which I find the one from Alima does. Also much more camera friendly since there’s very little titanium dioxide. I also had bad luck with the brush I tried, the flat top. It bled and shed like crazy. Both of these have put me off trying much else in the brand but I may give it a second shot at some point.

    PS: I also don’t like Jane Iredale as it has dimethicone (silicone) in it.

  37. JJ says:

    @JeanineDC JJ feels you girl. JJ hates essential oils and plant extracts. It’s a rough world out there.

    Alima feels like something I would use to powder my baby’s ass. JJ likes her makeup pressed and neat.

    JJ is glad that we sisters can all find our positive energy vibes in different ways

  38. Terresa says:

    Hi everyone, I’m the Creative Director, and I just want to address a few of the concerns mentioned here, as well as thank @RebeccaBailey for such a wonderful review!

    @Lesley and JeanineDC, if your brushes are shedding more than a few bristles when they are brand new, they are defective. Please contact, explain the situation to them, and they will send you a replacement.

    @nicolem, if your foundation looks cakey and settles, you might want to apply a bit less, and do it in several sheer layers. This really seems to help most people.

    And @Melissa, we have quite a few people on staff in their 40’s and 50’s, and all are able to wear the foundation, so don’t be too afraid to try it. Use the application technique mentioned above (several very sheer layers) and you shouldn’t have any trouble with lines. But one of my favorite things to do when my skin is feeling dry is to mix some foundation with some moisturizer and apply it as a tinted moisturizer. Then I add a little more dry foundation over the top to give some additional coverage.

    I hope this helps everyone!

  39. Anna says:

    I love Alima! They’re one of my favorite clean makeup brands, ever. They truly do have an impressive array of foundation shades. The range of colors is probably the best I’ve ever seen. I am half Japanese, and it was always such a pain in the ass to find a the right shade for me, that was fair with yellow undertones. Foundations were always too orange, beige or pink, but Alima’s Golden 2 is PERFECT. The website is also fantastic- attractive, easy to navigate, and really helpful in finding the right shades for you. Lately I’m really loving the versatility of loose mineral powder, too. I’ve been mixing Alima foundation with a little bit of my DeVita sunscreen and making myself a little tinted moisturizer. Or sometimes I just apply very sheerly with their Kitten Brush.

    Their blushes, bronzers, and eyeshadows are so, so pretty. They will also last forever. I use the bronzer in Belize, which has a hint of shimmer. I love that they give you samples. I have a little army of tiny Alima eyeshadows on my vanity.

  40. Guilly says:

    I’ve tried everything, including Alima, and powders just don’t work for me. I have dry “mature” skin and they just dry my skin out completely. I use an oil on my skin and I’ve tried combination oil then a moisturizer, but as soon as I, even lightly, dust a mineral foundation on my skin, my skin takes on that old lady, grandmother look. I prefer not to use any foundation but I can’t really get away with that anymore. I haven’t found anything that works or gives me the look I am after.

  41. Anna says:

    @Guilly what about a tinted moisturizer? Or a stick mineral foundation like Vapour’s Atmosphere Luminous Foundation or W3LL People’s Narcissist?

  42. Tara R. says:

    @Mairin – can you explain how you use the sponge for a dewy look? This foundation is on my list of next items to try.

    What happened to that foundation match kit?? I missed out on it – and now I think I need to ask an artist for assistance. I hate getting shade matched :(

  43. Tara R. says:

    @Mairin – can you explain how to use the sponge for a dewy look? I want to try this foundation!

    What happened to the shade match kit?? I missed out and I hate trying to get matched. I guess I need to contact an artist for help :(

  44. Annnie says:

    Hi! I’m chemically sensitive and am looking for non-toxic eye liner: I didn’t see any on your website. Can you recommend either a pencil or liquid/brush? Thank you!


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