Sterling Minerals – Part 1: Intro and Foundation

I came across this small company when I was searching for a mineral foundation. The reason why I was searching for a mineral foundation in the first place was because my skin started having this “irritated” feeling, whenever I applied my favorite foundations. I wasn’t sure if my skin was becoming sensitive or if it was dehydrated. I did not want to take any more risks by continuing to use a foundation that will make the situation worse…hence me doing a google search and coming across this company! I was mainly searching for mineral foundations that were good for darker skin tones, meaning the shades were “true” skin tones and didn’t look strange on the face…which seems to be a problem most mineral makeup companies have. Darker skin tones usually get the shaft…BUT that’s not an issue with this company! There’s so much to talk about, but I will talk about the foundations, blushes, bronzers and eye shadows! I will break these up into different posts. I really wanted to touch on the foundations. So let’s start chatting about the foundation:

Sterling Minerals provides 21 shades (and also a Clear Base for lightening a shade) from the fairest to the deepest complexions AND it comes in three different formulasDelicate (for normal to dry/sensitive skin), Dewy (for normal to combination skin) and Velvet (normal to oily skin…and this formula also provides the most coverage).

Here’s the shade range:


And the shade descriptions:

Mineral Clear Base: Use this base to lighten your perfect shade as the seasons change without changing your preferred mineral foundation formula. You can also use it to change your original foundation into a concealer for better coverage on skin imperfections, blemishes or under-eye area. Just simply mix your preferred ratio together with your personal shade of foundation either on a plate or in a mixing jar. Voila! Concealer!

Jennifer:  is for extremely fair to light complexions possessing neutral, ivory to slight yellow undertones. This shade appears very natural on light skin and works well for Caucasian and Asian women. This skin type may deepen a bit in summer but will still burn easily. It is our fairest mineral makeup shade. It can be lightened further by using our MINERAL BASE CLEAR or be darkened with AMARA.  Also is excellent for use as a pre concealer for darker mineral foundation shades.

Fiorella: This natural mineral foundation compares to JENNIFER for very fair to light skin that has slight neutral, ivory to pink overtone. This mineral makeup shade is beautiful for a porcelain finish to the face. This skin tone tends to burn easily due to lack of melanin and is common in those of Northern European descent. This shade can be darkened with ADONIA. It can be lightened further by using our MINERAL BASE CLEAR.  This also works wonders as a pre conceal for darker mineral foundation shades.

Bianca: This natural mineral foundation is an excellent light beige to cool olive for fair to light skin tones. This can be used by those with NO predominance to pink, peach or yellow, but more with neutral undertones. It is an excellent mineral makeup shade for lightening, softening, correcting and neutralizing other shades with different or stronger undertones. It can be lightened further by using our MINERAL BASE CLEAR. Or you can darken with HANNAH or VIVIANA depending on your preference in undertone. To stay within same undertone darken with OLIVETTA.  Not recommended as a pre conceal foundation shade to neutralize redness since this can cause a gray pall to the face if you do not have OLIVE skin tone.  It is best to use JENNIFER or FIORELLA!

Amara: This natural mineral foundation is for light to medium skin that has no strong distinct overtones or undertones of pink or yellow. Just a soft touch of a warm natural peaches and cream complexion. This mineral makeup shade can be lightened with JENNIFER if still too dark or darkened with SOPHIE for a stronger warm peach undertone. You can use MIRABELLA for more predominant yellow peach undertone.  For a summer change as your skintone deepens, a touch of MORA for more deep reddish golden bronze undertone or MELANIE for more of a rich golden bronze undertone, can be added.

Adonia: This natural mineral foundation is for light to medium skin tone and is a cool soft pink combined with a hint of warm golden undertone for the skin that rarely tans. It is a mineral makeup shade that can work well for women who have a slight peach undertone, yet possess pinkish red overtones to their skin. It can also be lightened with FIORELLA or JENNIFER if it is still too dark or darkened with a touch of JACINTA for deepening this shade with a perfect balance of pink and golden undertones. This is a wonderful shade for women of Northern European descent such as English or Irish heritage. Works very well for natural redhead complexions.

Calla: This natural mineral foundation is excellent for fair, light to medium skin tones and is a creamy golden yellow shade for those who have strong warm yellow complexions with a hint of peach undertone. This works well for Latin, Indian and Southeast Asian complexions. You can mix this mineral makeup shade with other light shades requiring more yellow or you can deepen this shade by blending with MIRABELLA. Just a touch of MELANIE works for a strong yellow golden bronze tone. It can also be lightened further by using our MINERAL BASE CLEAR or deepened with XANTHA.

Hannah: This natural mineral foundation offers this lovely olive shade of a medium neutral with a hint of yellow undertone. Works nicely for Mediterranean and Latina women who have fairer to medium complexions without turning skin sallow looking. This shade is opposite of VIVIANA. This mineral makeup shade can be lightened and given more yellow with CALLA or lightened with BIANCA if too dark. It can also be infused with XANTHA if needing more yellow without changing depth of the shade. For darkening this shade you may use OLIVIA.

Viviana: This natural mineral foundation is a gorgeous medium true olive to neutral that leans toward cool and works wonderfully for women with Mediterranean and Latin heritage that are fairer to medium in skin tone, yet have a soft brownish pink beige to their undertone. This mineral makeup shade can help correct yellow and sallow skin tones and is opposite of our HANNAH shade. It can be lightened with BIANCA if too dark or darkened with ADRIANA when needing more richness in depth as seasons change.

Sophie: This natural mineral foundation is for women with golden peach undertones in their complexion. This can be the case for those from Irish descent and some light skinned African American and Latina women.  You will love that it won’t turn or look orange on the skin and will meld beautfully.  This mineral makeup is a darker version of AMARA.  It can be intensified with MELANIE while maintaining your primary undertone, or can be tweaked toward more warm caramel with TAWNY as skin deepens in summer.

Mirabella: This natural mineral foundation is a unique deep warm honey shade with peach and distinct golden yellow undertones.  This foundation works for women with medium complexions and is great for African American women with a light skin complexion. This mineral makeup is suitable also for Indian, Asian and Latina women. This shade can be darkened with MELANIE or lightened with CALLA in order to maintain the gorgeous golden yellow undertones.

Tawny: This natural mineral foundation is in a medium to tan shade for women with caramel brown complexions. This mineral makeup shade works perfectly on those that tend to have a stronger golden undertone with a hint of reddish brown. This is a beautiful foundation for Latina, Native American, Southeast Asian, Polynesian and Indian Women. This foundation shade can be darkened with MORA or lightened with ADONIA or AMARA, depending on which way you prefer the shade to lean in specific undertones.

Emily: A natural mineral foundation that is a beautiful medium to tan shade for some African American, Latina, Polynesian, Southeast Asian and Indian women possessing reddish bronze undertones with a hint of golden peach. This mineral foundation can be considered to be in the neutral range for this type of skin tone balance. It is a mineral makeup shade that can be darkened with JACINTA or lightened with ADONIA which only further enhances the beauty of this foundation.

Xantha:  A natural mineral foundation in a wonderful rare shade to benefit women of Latin, Indian and Asian descent in the medium to deep range. This mineral makeup shade was developed especially for women with very strong yellow undertones while possessing some olive overtones. A foundation which is excellent for mixing with other shades to achieve more yellow in their favorite makeup shade and / or perhaps neutralize unwanted red. You can also lighten this with our MINERAL BASE CLEAR or CALLA while maintaining the tonality of this mineral shade.

Olivetta: This natural mineral foundation is a wonderful medium olive that will provide nice coverage and even out skin tones. This foundation shade is perfect for neutral, olive to beige skin tones. You can use it with other mineral makeup foundation shades to soften stronger undertones. We love the simplicity and beauty of this darker version of BIANCA. You can lighten this mineral makeup with HANNAH or VIVIANA depending on your preference in the undertone you want to achieve.

Jacintha: This natural mineral foundation is a nice soft neutral brown for medium to tan complexions for women who have a tendency to possess a balanced combination of bronze golden undertones and reddish overtones in their skin when they tan. This mineral makeup foundation shade is extremely popular and is a very versatile perfect mid range shade that can be changed easily by infusing with one of our many other shades. Also excellent for darkening shades for women who still enjoy getting a tan.

Due to the perfect balance of cool and warm tones in this shade it can darken the following mineral foundation shades or be lightened with ADONIA, JENNIFER, AMARA or FIORELLA if too dark depending on the overtone you wish to correct or enhance. You can darken it further with either, EBONY for those requiring a bit more cool reddish brown to their skin tone depending on amount used in the blend, or with MORA for more of a richer bronzy golden tone or KEIRA for those needing more of a cool brown with a combination of dark golden undertones while still accentuating some red. The complexity of this shade is what makes it so versatile!

Melanie: This natural mineral foundation is a beautiful deep rich warm golden caramel that works well for African American, Latina and Indian women with stronger golden undertones in their skin. This foundation shade falls in the tan to dark range for darker skin tones and any woman who tans easily. You can combine XANTHA with this mineral makeup shade if requiring more of a yellow golden tone. Or lighten it with MIRABELLA to keep the tone balanced and accurate. You can also lighten it with CALLA to keep a strong golden bronze complexion.

Olivia: This natural mineral foundation is wonderful for a deep classic olive complexion with a touch of golden yellow undertone for women with tan or dark skin which may also be considered sallow. Mediterranean, Indian and Latina women especially will appreciate the depth of this foundation color and its ability to brighten this particular skin tone. This mineral makeup shade will also work well for some African American women. It is also a shade that can be lightened with HANNAH or with the lighter shade BIANCA without altering skin tonality.

Keira: This natural mineral foundation shade falls into the dark range and is a deep rich cool brown. It is an excellent foundation for African American and Latina women and those with skin tones possessing deep red and dark golden undertones combined in their complexion. Very popular for darkening other mineral makeup shades and is very versatile for different ethnic backgrounds. This shade can be lightened with ADONIA in order to maintain the true undertones of this foundation.

Adriana: This natural mineral foundation is a lovely deep rich classic Olive brown for dark Mediterranean and Indian women, along with other ethnic backgrounds who can appreciate the balanced undertones. This is an excellent choice for achieving a cool / neutral finish using this foundation shade. It is a shade that also helps to correct Olive with sallow skin tones. A great mineral makeup for darkening other shades depending on the undertone you wish to achieve. It can be lightened with VIVIANA or BIANCA to achieve perfection or our MINERAL BASE CLEAR to maintain color tonality.

Mora: This natural mineral foundation is excellent for very dark rich warm bronze skintones which possess golden and reddish brown undertones combined in the skin. Beautiful shade for many ethnic women. Popular among African American women since they find this shade to be very versatile. For women wishing to have more yellow in this shade and want to tone down some redness, mix with XANTHA to achieve a dark golden yellow caramel tone. This mineral foundation can also be lightened with TAWNY.

Ebony: This natural mineral foundation has been asked for and we brought it to those women who needed more than just a dark brown mineral makeup. This is a beautiful dark luscious cool chocolate for African American, Middle Eastern or Indian women who possess both red and blue in their skintone. A rare shade that can be extremely difficult to find. This shade is excellent for darkening other foundation shades and works well for balancing warm tones by making them more neutral. Use a little or a lot depending on how much you wish to alter each shade. It can also be lightened with MINERAL BASE CLEAR to keep the same undertones and overtones.

Check out the darker skin tones in the bottom half of the photo. Rich-looking, huh? (I will do swatches of the shades later on in this post.) What I love is that Katherine Corkhill (the owner) took her time to get the formula(s) right and also made the darker shades with the right iron oxides/ultramarine pigments that cater to the complexities in darker skin tones. We are not all red-undertoned. Some of us have yellow, golden, bronze, olive or neutral undertones! As previously stated, you can also easily mix the shades and she even gives you suggestions on which shades can be mixed.

I am the shade Xantha. When I say that I couldn’t have found a more damn near perfect color, I mean it! Whenever I want more warmth to my skin, I mix it with Melanie. If I want to make my skin appear more neutral, I mix it with the shade Adriana. I have also mixed it with the shade Olivia for a deeper olive shade. I have to be careful though, because if I put too much Olivia I will look straight up green. LOL. With all that being stated, it truly is amazing that all of those mixes happen to work with my skin tone. In terms of formula, for foundation I use either Dewy (for cooler months) and Velvet (for warmer months and I happen to love the coverage). I also use the Velvet formula to color correct the darkness under my eyes. I’ve used the shades Jennifer and Calla, but I actually prefer to use the Mineral Clear Base and then apply my foundation shade on top! I’m still playing around with those shades, but I’m liking how the Clear Base looks right now. They provide sample sizes, so you can purchase that size to see which shade matches you the best. I actually recommend that you do that first before getting the regular size.


I took their suggestion by using a flat top brush for the most coverage, and I use the Moist Method to apply the foundation. The method is simply spraying your brush with either water (or whatever kind of spray solution), dipping the brush into the foundation and then pressing and lightly sweeping across your face. This method also decreases the “fly-away” effect that usually happens whenever you use loose powders. The foundation ends up looking so beautiful and natural on the skin. The consistency is not chunky nor grainy (thank goodness). It’s pretty smooth, so you can even apply this dry. I prefer using the Moist Method, though. Unlike most mineral foundations, you do not have to do the constant buffing to get the foundation to work into your skin.


I was also pretty surprised at how well this foundation covers my skin. At first when I applied this foundation, I thought the coverage would be less than good, but after it settled into my skin I saw the coverage. Foundation is supposed to even your skin, anyway. If you’re into the super-full coverage (aka plastic-like) type of foundation then this might not be for you, but I think you’ll be surprised. I tend to be heavy-handed generally speaking, so I even have to keep in mind that I don’t need a whole lot.  Note: Katherine made this foundation with people in mind that suffer from rosacea, having scars on their faces and other skin conditions that usually require a lot of color correction…but this foundation can be used by anyone! Since I DO like a more full-coverage look, I went with the Velvet formula which provides the most coverage. The Dewy formula also provides decent coverage!


In the beginning, there was a slight learning curve. For my particular skin type (combination/oily), I have to make sure I don’t use a moisturizer that’s too emollient or too rich. The “dewiness” will shine through even more and quicker. When I started using my Paula’s Choice moisturizer, it ended up working so well. I can go at least eight hours without looking a shiny hot mess. Even if there’s a bit of oil breakthrough, the foundation does not break apart on my face. All I have to do is blot and it looks like new again. The only transfer I’ve experienced is from my nose because of me wiping what seems to be my forever runny nose! The wear is great for my skin. It also does not oxidize on my skin. This foundation feels quite comfortable on my skin. Sometimes it feels like I’m wearing nothing, at all! I’ve worn a mineral foundation that I was testing out from another company, which is very full-coverage…and I could literally feel it on my skin. Not cute. So, Sterling knows how to make a formula that provides coverage and feels light.

And now my favorite part of review posts…swatches! Haha! I purchased samples of all the shades so that you all can see how they look.

I did swatches on my skin, first *click pics to enlarge*:





And then did swatches on a white sheet of paper:

without flash

without flash

with flash

with flash

Final Thoughts: As you can guess, I’m pretty impressed with this foundation…especially it being a mineral foundation. Most mineral foundations are usually not “up to par” whether it’s due to poor color choices, oxidation, showing a cakey appearance, containing bismuth oxychloride (which is a common irritant), a heavily-based mica formula, not long-lasting or just not good quality at all. I love that I can manipulate the coverage (like you can do with full coverage foundations) and it looks like skin. This is my holy grail powder foundation and my foundation when I want to give my skin a break from the “others”. I highly recommend that you check this out if you’re “iffy” about mineral foundations in general, or if you’ve been searching for a mineral foundation and wasn’t satisfied with what you’ve come across thus far.

Stay tuned for future posts talking about blushes, finishing powders, bronzers and eyeshadows. 🙂


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