A trio of indie foundations: Bravon, Idun Minerals and EX1. Duds or jewels?

What’s your vice? Do you have certain products that you can’t get enough of? I’ve got double vices – eyeshadows and foundation. Even when I find a foundation that gets a lot of love from me I still want to know what else is out there. Problem is that I end up with some duds among the jewels. Three foundations that I purchased in the last year haven’t gotten any attention on the blog so I’m going to rectify that today.

FOUNDATIONS from IDUN, EX1, and Bravon

All of these are from independent companies and IMO it’s great to support brands like this. They are mostly only found on their own website. The three I want you to know about are from BRAVON, EX1, and IDUN. Have you heard of any of these?

BRAVON Luminous Skin Perfecting Foundation

BRAVON is a brand I’ve neglected to write about in spite of the fact that I have quite a bit of the brand. I bought the Luminous Skin Perfecting Foundation over a year ago and have used it consistently since then. It’s the fullest coverage of the foundations I’m reviewing today. There are 16 shades to the collection and they do a good juob of helping explain the colors with their descriptions. ($29).

Bravon is the brainchild of Bravon Pascua who’s been in the industry for over 25 years and rose to prominence with Sephora and Bare Escentuals before deciding to create his own company. He’s well known on the west coast and is in a lot of independent stores where he does fabulous events too. Unfortunately for me I can only buy online but it’s worth it.

BRAVON Luminous Skin Perfecting Foundation in Alabaster

Bravon Luminous Skin Perfection foundation is considered to be a medium to full coverage. The nice thing is that it’s very light on my skin and doesn’t look heavy. It gives a radiant finish which is much more youthful than a matte finish. Some of the ingredients in this foundation are Indian Jasmine, White Water Lily, Vitamins C and E which all condition skin. There’s also “specially-engineered titanium dioxide diffuses and scatters light to help even skin tone for a glowing complexion.”

  • Alabaster– porcelain to fair skintones with cool undertones
  • Natural Ivory – fair to light skintones with cool to neutral undertones
  • Warm Ivory – fair to light skintones with cool to golden undertones
  • Golden Ivory – fair to light skintones with cool to rich golden undertones
  • Soft Beige – light to medium skintones with neutral undertones
  • Cool Beige – light to medium skintones with cool to neutral undertones
  • Warm Beige – light to medium skintones with neutral to yellow-olive undertones
  • Purely Natural – medium skintones with cool to neutral undertones
  • Cool Natural – medium skintones with neutral undertones
  • Warm Natural – medium skintones with neutral to golden undertones
  • Golden Natural – medium skintones with yellow-olive to golden undertones
  • Natural Tan – tan skintones with neutral to golden-caramel undertones
  • Tan – tan skintones with yellow-olive to caramel undertones
  • Golden Tan – tan skintones with rich golden-caramel undertones
  • Honey Bronze – tan to dark skintones with caramel to rich golden undertones
  • Chestnut – dark to deep skintones with neutral to rich golden undertones

Hypoallergenic. Paraben Free. Talc Free. Cruelty Free. Liquid Mineral Foundation. Made in the USA.

I have the shade Alabaster which is their lightest but I wish it were a little lighter. If I’m particularly pale on any day I have to avoid Bravon or else mix it with a white foundation to lighten it. Other than that I think it’s a wonderful product and one that lasts me well throughout the day. It’s not a fussy foundation – it likes any tool I choose to use.

Water (Aqua/Eau), Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Poly(Glycol Adipate)/Bis-Hydroxyethoxypropyl Dimethicone Copolymer, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Tocopherol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Nymphaea Alba Leaf Cell Extract, Jasminum Sambac (Jasmine) Leaf Cell Extract, Onopordum Acanthium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Polyurethane-16, Silica, Silk Powder (Serica Powder/ Poudre de soie), Melanin, Dextran, Trifluoroacetyl Tripeptide-2, Octyldodecanol, Alcohol, Mica, Boron Nitride, Polysorbate 20, Xanthan Gum, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Phytantriol, Dextrin Palmitate, Pentylene Glycol, Ferulic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Methicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sodium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol May Contain/Peut contenir ±: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Zinc Oxide (CI 77947)


EX1 Invisiwear Liquid Foundation

EX1 Cosmetics Invisiwear Liquid Foundation is said to be a lightweight, luminous foundation. But it isn’t that way on me at all. There are 14 shades without names, just numbers, and no descriptions on the websites that it’s available at. This is my dud. I had read a rave review on Byrdie and even though I knew that the shades ran yellow I felt that the lightest shade would still work for me. It costs $18 and LookFantastic has sales all the time so you can usually get it for less.

According to EX1 Cosmetics the foundation is great to conceal imperfections since it uses ‘true color’ pigments and light diffusers that work in harmony with your skin tone.

#1 is the lightest shade and has a light yellow undertone to it. It’s not the color that makes this a no-go for me. It’s the texture. It just doesn’t apply well on me at all. My fingers are the best tool to use; a brush or beauty blender sponge makes it bunch up so that it looks uneven. I’m not sure what skintype this is best for. I am dry but not overly so and it just looks like a flat matte on me and it doesn’t last well throughout the day. I’ve read that it bunches up on oily skin too. But if you have normal skin and like a matte finish then it might work for you. When I look in the mirror after I’m done applying EX1 I find that I can see the foundation and that it’s not even on my skin. I try to even it out but I don’t feel I’m that successful at it.

Oil and fragrance free. Non-comedogenic. Clinically and dermatologically tested.

  • Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, Triethylhexanoin, Pentylene Glycol, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Dimethicone, Propylene Glycol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Peg-10/15 Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Methicone, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Propylene Carbonate, Tocopherol, Disodium Edta.[+/- (May Contain) Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Ci 77491, 77492, 77499 (Iron Oxides)]

IDUN MINERALS has two formulas but when I bought mine they just had one. If you’ve read Phyrra’s blog then you know that she is crazy about this foundation. As someone who is extremely light she found a great match in the shade Jorun. It’s not easy picking a color online and I was torn between shades. So I emailed the company and told them my dilemma (not as fair as Jorun but definitely fair with cool undertones). They suggested the NORRSKEN formula in SAGA and the shade is just right! They have a great chart though for recommendations to help you decide.

IDUN NORRSKEN Pure Mineral Illuminating Foundation (Saga)

IDUN Minerals Norrsken is a Pure Mineral Illuminating Foundation ($28) and is considered to have light coverage. Their new formula Nordic Veil is a fuller coverage. With Norrsken though I can build up the coverage if I want so I’m content.

Why do I love (yes love) IDUN MINERALS NORRSKEN?

It has a pure water base with purified mineral ingredients. This Swedish brand follows the strict guidelines of their pharmacy authority. They are a vegan, cruelty-free brand with a wide range of shades for all skintones. They are proud to be Scandinavian and they use a touch of concentrated lingonberry oil in their formula to keep skin hydrated and radiant.

IDUN NORRSKEN foundations

In my opinion they’ve done just that, hydrated and radiant. IDUN Norrsken has a dewy finish that looks very natural on. Sometimes I’ll use a finishing powder but I don’t have to at all. I find that I can use any method I want to achieve a smooth visage – a rounded brush, beauty blender sponge, or fingers. The foundation lasts well all day for me and I don’t have to touch up when going out at night. It feels good and it looks good.

Aqua / water, Isononyl isononanoate, Cera microcristallina / microcrystalline wax, glycerin, Octyldodecanol, Caprylic/capric triglyceride, Tocopheryl acetate, Silica dimethyl silylate, Disteardimonium hectorite, Vaccinium vitis-idaea seed oil, Mica, Peg-30 dipolyhydroxystearate, Octyldodecyl xyloside, Phenethyl alcohol, Magnesium sulphate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Caprylhydroxamic acid, Disodium edta, Helianthus annuus seed oil, Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract.
May contain (+/-)?C.I. 77891 (iron oxide), C.I. 77492 (iron oxide), C.I. 77491 (iron oxide), C.I. 77499 (iron oxide).

dried down

Two jewels and one dud. IDUN wins the gold medal with Bravon skating in right behind for the silver. EX1 has been eliminated for this dry skin dame.  —  Marcia


  1. I really need to try Idun, I’m always confused when I order foundations online too, so it’s great to know they offer help.

  2. Yes, Idun sounds like a great foundation. I like the looks of it!

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