I’m rethinking whether or not I should take part in the Sephora holiday sales this year because I’ve been making a few pricier (at least for me) purchases lately. One of these purchases is the Gerda Spillmann Bio-Fond foundation.
I follow Brianna Stanko on YouTube and she’s been raving about this foundation for the past 6 months. Positive “First Impression” videos are all well and good but it’s when I see that a beauty guru consistently uses and praises a product over a significant period of time that I start to believe the hype. Call me cynical (I call it common sense) but if a beauty guru suddenly starts raving about a product in one video and then never speaks about it ever again on their channel I call that shilling and ignore.
Based on Brianna’s description of the foundation as well as her raves and continued use of the product, I felt pretty good about placing an order when I learned the Bio-Fond foundation was on sale on the Gerda Spillmann website. The full size foundation that I purchased normally retails for $59.99 (12 grams) but right now it’s on sale for $49.99. There’s also a smaller version that’s also on sale right now for $19.99 (4.5 grams, regularly $21.99).
I don’t usually like to post foundation and concealer reviews until I’ve used a product for at least a month but I don’t know how often Gerda Spillmann products go on sale so I wanted to get this early review up while people can still take advantage of the sale.
Probably the most difficult thing about buying the foundation is selecting the correct foundation shade. Although it’s been around for 40 years, the Bio-Fond foundation is mostly used by makeup artists for film and television so there’s a serious lack of swatches and reviews for it on the internet. There are some swatches available on Gerda Spillmann’s social media pages and a handful of reviews on YouTube but that’s about it.
If you contact them, the Gerda Spillmann customer service team is supposedly really great about trying to figure out the right shade match for you and sending out samples. I didn’t go that route though. I had a hunch about the shade that would match me best and went with my gut, and my hunch seems to have paid off. Gerda Spillmann added a couple of new shades to their Bio-Fond line not too long ago, one of which (Sand) has a yellow undertone. Having seen swatches of the older foundation shades which all seemed to lean pink, I knew Sand, even if it ended up being a bit too pale, would have the right undertone. I figured I could always add a bit of bronzer to make it work.
Well, even though I didn’t contact them about samples, I think Gerda Spillmann’s customer service is stellar. I placed my order at 2 PM on October 31 and received shipping notice 2 hours later at 5 PM that very same day! The package was shipped from Utah and 2 days later on November 2 it arrived on my doorstep in New York. That’s amazing! Furthermore, even though I hadn’t requested any samples, they still sent me a really decent sized sample of the Bio-Fond foundation in Sand, the same color as the full size compact I’d ordered, to try first in case the color I chose turned out to be wrong. They must have a lot of people asking for returns just for bad color matches. Note: they don’t accept returns on used cosmetics, so the unasked for sample is a really great idea.
One thing that bugs me about Sephora and Nordstrom shipping is whenever I order a single small item they’ll find the largest, most oversized box to ship it in. In contrast, my Gerda Spillmann order was packed very well in an abundance of packing peanuts in a small mailing box appropriate for a single item. The actual compact is boxed and tucked inside a velvet pouch. I haven’t owned a makeup item packaged this nicely since my Dior Amber Diamond highlighter which also came in an identical looking black velvet pouch.
The foundation is housed in a red plastic compact that has a slightly rubberized texture similar to NARS and bareMinerals compacts. There’s a decent sized mirror under the lid and a separate compartment underneath the foundation pan that holds a sponge applicator.
One important thing to note if you’re sensitive to fragrances is that the Bio-Fond foundation has a noticeable powder fresh scent that lingers on the skin. It doesn’t remind me so much of baby powder as it does the stereotypical “grandma makeup” fragrance. Scent is always a big factor for me when it comes to makeup and, aside from the occasional soft vanilla or bakery scent that I can tolerate and sometimes like, I usually consider scent in all of my reviews as a negative but there’s actually something inexplicably comforting to me about the Bio-Fond’s scent. While the fragrance is noticeable, it’s not overly intense. For instance, I think the coconut scented Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer is a lot stronger, so if you can handle that then the Bio-Fond shouldn’t be a problem.
Bio-Fond is described as a cream-to-powder mineral foundation. As someone who has very dry, flake-prone skin I typically shy away from anything described as having a powdery finish because that usually means the foundation’s going to be too drying/mattifying but Brianna constantly wears the foundation in her videos and the way the Bio-Fond makes her skin look — smooth, naturally glowy and skin-like — induced me to give it a try anyway.
I’ve mentioned it several times in past blog entries but I have a fondness for cream foundations and concealers especially those that come in a solid state in a compact or a stick format. Solid cream foundations and concealers generally contain petrolatum, mineral oil and/or some form of wax which are all ingredients that are great for retaining moisture in the skin. They don’t add any moisture but as long as you moisturize your skin really well beforehand, foundations like these tend to do a pretty good job at preventing moisture loss by acting as a sealing topcoat. The Bio-Fond foundation contains all three types of occlusive ingredients and, even better, it doesn’t seem to contain any harsh oil-absorbing/mattifying ingredients like silica, starch, kaolin or talc which are big no-nos for my dry skin. If you have sensitive skin or if you’re like me and react negatively to dimethicone, you may really like Bio-Fond because the ingredients list is short, simple and dimethicone-free.
Although I’ve only used the foundation for a short while, I’ve worn the Bio-Fond everyday for the past few days for 8-hour long stretches of time and it’s been working surprisingly well on my normally extremely dry skin type.
It’s difficult as someone with ultra dry skin to find a foundation that works but when I do I tend to stick with it, so I don’t jump from foundation to foundation very often. Some of the solid cream foundations that I’ve tried over the past few years have been Dermablend Cover Creme, Tarte Amazonian Clay Smoothing Balm, RMS Beauty “un” cover-up, L’Oreal Visible Lift Repair Absolute and Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse (not Dream Matte Mousse with the souffle texture but the Dream Smooth Mousse that had a solid cream consistency). Out of all those foundations, the ones that are most similar to the Gerda Spillmann Bio-Fond are the Tarte Smoothing Balm and Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse, not necessarily in terms of finish but texture because I found both the Maybelline and Tarte foundations to be rather drying and on the more matte side. All three foundations look solid to the eye but touch them and they instantly liquify into a lightweight, thin, smooth cream. The difference between the Tarte and Maybelline foundations and the Gerda Spillmann is the latter has a really beautiful satin finish that looks incredibly skin-like and natural on the face.
The Gerda Spillmann Bio-Fond foundation has light coverage that can be built up all the way to full. It’s easily customizable and layers beautifully without ever looking heavy or cakey. It looks great freshly applied and in my experience looks even better and more skin-like and seamless the longer it sits on my face. I believe Brianna Stanko likes to apply the foundation using a damp beautyblender sponge but I find foundation application with damp beautyblenders to be time consuming and wasteful of product and prefer to stipple (not buff because that exacerbates/cause skin flaking) the foundation on with the Up & Up Complexion Brush. What I do is dab a few streaks of foundation onto my cheeks (it’s where I primarily wear foundation) with my finger, stipple to blend with the Up & Up brush, and repeat the process once more to achieve medium coverage that I prefer. Then I blot the entire area with a dry beautyblender sponge to remove any excess that may have pooled in the pores, a step which is more out of habit than necessity because the Up & Up brush does a perfect job every time.
The Up & Up brush is a very soft, dense brush that helps pack product on and works foundation into all the nooks, crannies and pores of the skin but doesn’t suck a lot of product into its bristles. A damp beautyblender, in my experience, sheers foundation out so much I have use more product than I normally would to achieve the same amount of coverage using a brush or fingers to apply. Some people argue that the finish using a damp beautyblender to apply looks better. Perhaps if you usually buff with a brush or apply with fingers it’s less streaky in comparison but I don’t notice a significant difference in finish when I use a damp beautyblender versus stippling with a dense brush.
As with any foundation, if you have dry and flake-prone skin I recommend applying this foundation on well-moisturized, well-exfoliated skin. In my experience, it’s not quite as good as the L’Oreal Pro-Glow over dry patches upon immediate application but the Bio-Fond settles beautifully and holds up a lot better on dry skin in the long run. Give it 20-30 minutes to melt into the skin and it looks so flawless. And at the end of the day, the Bio-Fond still looks fantastic and like actual skin compared to the Pro-Glow that definitely looks makeup-y and has gone slightly dry and powdery on me. I would definitely say the Bio-Fond offers more moisture and is less drying.
The Gerda Spillmann Bio-Fond foundation is available in 21 shades. Sand, which is one of the newer shades, is described as a “Nude Almond” and I believe one of the lightest if not the lightest shade in the range. It has a yellow undertone and is, amazingly, perhaps the most perfect foundation match I’ve ever found. I don’t have much to compare the Bio-Fond to since I’ve purged nearly everything from my makeup stash but in terms of shade depth it’s similar to the NYX Gotcha Covered concealer in Light and L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Glow foundation in #202 Creamy Natural that I’ve been using for the past few months. The NYX concealer is pinker which works well to brighten and conceal my undereye circles. The L’Oreal foundation is one of the more neutral shades in their Pro-Glow line but still leans a bit pink and has a hint of grayness that puts me in mind of Asian BB creams.
My skin tone falls in the NC15-20 range so if you have similar coloring or tend to use the same foundation/concealer shades that I do, Sand will be a great match for you. I only wear foundation on my cheeks and the Bio-Fond in Sand matches the rest of my face, jawline and neck perfectly. If I were less shy or less paranoid I would post some selfies but I took some photos of myself in daylight wearing the foundation and it looks amazing and undetectable on camera. Honestly, on camera it looks like I used a filter to smooth out all of the texture and flaws in my skin. It’s fantastic!
I’ve been using the sample I received daily as a foundation and spot concealer and have barely made a dent in it, so a little bit goes a long way at least with a brush. I don’t know how quickly you’ll go through it with a beautyblender but I’m going to continue using mine with the Up & Up brush.
I was hoping I wouldn’t like the Bio-Fond as much as I do because it’s a pricey foundation but the way I rationalize it is the RMS “un” cover-up foundation/concealer, which I liked but didn’t necessarily love, is $36 and only contains half the amount of product. Compare that to the Bio-Fond which is a much better value and has a better finish, lighter texture, and a better and more diverse shade range. The only possible drawbacks in my opinion are the price, the strong scent (which I personally like) and you have to be careful about using it over dry patches (which is a common issue with ALL foundations for anyone with dry skin). Also, if you’re lighter in skin tone than me I don’t think you’ll find a shade match. But overall Bio-Fond is a wonderful foundation that I recommend trying. Order a sample at the very least.