**These pictures are from Sephora's, Walmart, and Beautylish websites.**
For the next part of The Good, The Bad and The Eh, we're doing Loose Powders. Loose powder is obviously not travel friendly but it also has more uses than just setting the face. You can tidy up a messy dramatic and winged eye with some loose powder. You can use it under the eye to catch fall out from shadows and then just sweep it away. You can "bake" with it which essentially just makes your makeup stay through a hail storm. A lot of people bake to clean up contour and some bake under the eyes as a highlighting technique. I do not bake under the eyes because it really accentuates fine lines in my opinion. I actually don't bake much at all. I do however like loose powder to set the under eye area, especially certain kinds which I will explain. I also like setting the face with loose powder for a heavier makeup application. If I had to choose I would pick pressed powder over loose powder most every day but I've found some really good ones that make a difference.
So starting with the Good:
My go to powder for a few years for every purpose for a powder possible is the RCMA No Color Powder. This is inexpensive. I think you get like 3 oz of products for around $10-$12. I get mine from Frends Beauty, it's also available at Beautylish. This is ideal for baking. It's great to set the under eye as well. It's just all around great. It's not overly matte finish in my opinion, it's more natural finish. Which I like because it doesn't take away from the overall look and finish of your makeup.
A great powder that I've really like recently is the new Becca Soft Light Blurring Powder. Now this is a tricky powder. I only use it on the perimeters of the face because this is super luminous and it's a peach tinted powder. It mimics "golden hour lighting" which is the ideal lighting around sunset and sunrise that makes beautiful pictures. I didn't like this at first because I used it all over and on my nose it was super noticeable with a sheen and I hated it. I was totally going to return it. I decided to give it another try and this time avoid the areas where I didn't like it. So I used it on the cheek bones up the temple around the forehead and a light dusting down the sides of jaw. I really loved it like that. It totally did blur and my skin looked like a living filter. My favorite combination is this powder with the Smashbox Radiance primer which is "golden hour" lighting as well. Some of you will not like this. It will be a total fail. Some of you will love it. I do not think there is an in between. This is $38 for .35 oz of product. Which is expensive when you think about it.
I've found my favorite loose powder for under the eyes specifically through this little quest of powders. It's the Cover FX Perfect Setting Powder the Illuminating finish. I don't find it overly illuminating I just find that it sets the concealer beautifully and blurs any lines as best as it can. Let me also add, just for kicks, there is no powder out there that is going to photoshop your face. It's not possible to completely transform your skin's physical appearance with the application of powder. So while there are great products that help us, we have to keep our goals realistic in the process. Moving on, it comes in a light shade which is a sheer translucent and then a medium shade with a warmer undertone and it's just lovely. It comes in an original finish, a matte finish and then this finish. It's $35 for.35 oz or $10 for .14 oz
Last for the Good ones is the Coty Airspun Translucent powder. This is very inexpensive, less than $10, I got mine off Amazon but it's also in my Walgreens and Walmart has it for $5.97. I paid right at $10 for mine. You get a very nice amount of product. This has a very subtle peachy pink color, it also has a strong fragrance as well. Which is odd if you ask me. I feel like this is great for light baking. Where you aren't really packing on a ton of opaque powder, your just doing a more sheer to light application which is going to look better anyway. This also sets the under eye really well, as well as the rest of the face no matter if you use a brush or a sponge. You get 2.3 oz for around $10 like I said and that is a nice amount of product especially if you like to bake. I don't recommend baking with super expensive powders. It's just wasteful when there are other options out there for less and for more product.
Now lets move onto the Eh powders:
First up the Kat Von D Lock It loose powder. I swear I don't try to bash her stuff. I have plenty of products that I love from her. I think I should just give up on the entire Lock It line though. This isn't bad by no means. It does a good job of setting the face. I don't really like it under the eyes all that much and basically there are just some things I prefer over it. It does come in a travel size which I do really like and that is what I bought so I could just give it a try. Side note: There are other loose powders in the line that are for brightening and what not. This specific one I'm talking about is the Translucent.
Next is the No 7 Translucent Powder. This is good but it's not great. It's kinda expensive and still considered "drugstore" makeup which I think it crazy because it is not drugstore prices. You get a decent amount of product but I think it's just mainly good for setting the face with a large brush. Not great for baking, and not impressed by the way my under eye area looks when I have it on.
On to the bad....
I'm just gonna go ahead and piss all of you off in one go. I don't mean to but here it is: I don't like the Laura Mercier Translucent setting powder OR the Brightening Powder that is for under the eyes. They both do not work in my opinion. The Brightening Powder emphasizes lines and imperfections under my eyes and the Laura Mercier just doesn't do much at all for my face. I don't like it for baking because I feel like the RCMA is the best for that and even the Coty Airspun is better in my opinion. I just don't like it and yes it will set the face, most loose powders do, but there are others that are way cheaper and work way better. So I'm sorry. I hope you can forgive me and we can still be friends.
Both of these pictures are using the Becca Soft Glow Blurring Powder around the perimeter of the face. The one on the left is using the Coty Air Spun to set the under eye area which did really well. The one on the right is after 8 or more hours of wear and my skin still looked super smooth and hadn't creased at all. I'm pretty sure the under eye was set with Algenist Color Correcting Finishing Powder I believe. It was also around 9 pm when I took that picture with a ring light situation on my phone, versus the left side which was taken in natural light early in the day.
The one on the bottom is using Coty Airspun on the entire face and the Cover FX to set the under eye. Taken in natural light, about mid day. (Please excuse my brows, they didn't want to act right that day.)
It's time for another round of "The Good, The Bad, and the Eh." This time we're talking about powders. It's going to be a 2 part though. This one is going to be pressed powders. The next will be loose powders. I'm going to preface by saying this is just *my opinion*, so don't get offended if I don't like one of your favorite powders. It's not personal, it's makeup lol.
So lets's start with the good. I actually have quite a few that I really like from different price points which I love. I like for options of all sorts to be available.
First up is my Holy Grail, my absolute favorite, my one and only for a good year or two and it's the Algenist Color Correcting Finishing Powder. For a very long time this is all I would use to set my under eye area. I absolutely love it and I recommend it to everyone. It's quite mesmerizing to look at with the different colors in it but it's totally transluscent on the skin. It's not a powder that claims to "airbush" or "photoshop" the skin. Algenist works with "AlgaCorrecting complex plus an algae-derived ingredient combine for glowing, luminous-looking skin". Of course with anything that is luminous or light reflecting there's a blurring aspect that comes to the skin. I actually love that in a finishing powder more than anything else. I don't think most primers do a good job of living up to that, and some foundations do a good job and some don't. However, a powder that you use to set and basically finish your makeup is ideal to be the luminous and blurring step in the makeup. I do not find that it makes you luminous from a highlighter quality, I believe it just simply color corrects and gives you an overall pulled together finished look. Which is all I really want. I would choose that over intense luminosity and intense smoothing. I just want to look pulled together and makeup to be on point but not too much, not too heavy, or unrealistic. This is at Sephora and it's $38 for .32oz .
My second favorite powder is my 2nd in running to the Algenist powder. It's the Too Faced Primed and Poreless Pressed Powder. Now this is a matte transluscent (slightly pink) smoothing powder, it's also available as a loose powder. I've not tried the loose powder. I went in as a total skeptic of it's smoothing abilities and blurring claims. I am happy to say I was definitely wrong about it and it's my go to powder for under the eyes, and it's also my go to powder for large pores. It's a thin veil of product and to me there is a visible difference of the appearance of my fine lines under my eyes and the appearance of the pores as well. I also love that it can be dusted on and work just fine or it can be pressed in with a sponge and have the same effect and a matte finish. I love it very very much. The packaging is also adorable as well. It's $30 for .35 oz. This give a more "perfect" finish to makeup where you definitely look Instagram worthy. It's the closest thing I've found in pressed powders to a "photoshop" quality.
Next is a great light reflecting and overall finishing powder which is the Hourglass Ambient Powder in Diffused Light. This has a yellow cast to it and it's a really subtle luminous "banana" like powder. For such a long time everyone set their under eye with a yellow-ish banana shade from either Ben Nye to ABH Contour Palette Banana shade. This is a luminous version and I feel the best choice if you want that shade. This was in the first line of the Ambient Powders which was amazingly successful and to me sky rocketed the Hourglass brand. They have other shades but this is what I would use to set the face. The others I feel are a bit too luminous except for Ethereal Light which is a cool white sheer powder. They are now available in travel size which is $22 for .049 oz of all the shades. The full size is $46 for .35 oz which is expensive on both counts. There have been several Ambient formulas but the original is the best.
Now onto some really great affordable options. Most recently the Wet n Wild Photo Focus powder. This is a silky sheer powder. It's a bit luminous and it's tested specifically to work well under flash photography and in pictures. It does work very well. It's around $6. They don't have a translucent shade but they have a nice range of shades and I don't find them overly pigmented so I think you'll be ok with your shade or a shade lighter and a fluffy brush.
Another great matte finish powder is the Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless. I do not feel like it's as good as the Too Faced Primed and Poreless but I do feel like it does help with larger pores and it's definitely matte. It's a good alternative and it's something I like to keep on me in my purse or traveling to touch up and blot my T-Zone. Also if it breaks or gets damaged, or lost, you've not lost an expensive powder and I personally feel like it's always good to have 2 powders. Whether they're the same or different but one for your vanity or counter space when you're doing your makeup and one to take with you where ever you go.
Now moving onto the Eh powders. They're neither great or terrible they're in the middle and they're just alright. The reason they're worth mentioning is because it might help you choose a better powder for yourself. Or it might help you avoid a powder that's not right for you.
Covergirl Tru Blend. I like this because it's actually pigmented and it provides a nice finish. A satin-matte finish and a bit of coverage as well. However it doesn't set the under eye for me and it emphasizes lines more than I would like. Which is why it's in this category.
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Pressed Powder. Don't kill me. I know, I know, everyone talks about how wonderful it is and how smooth it makes the skin. Don't get me wrong as a setting powder for the entire face, it's very very nice and it does give a smooth finish to the skin that you can feel. I have an issue with this because it oxidizes my under eye concealer. It's $45 and I feel like for that price it shouldn't oxidize. Before you ask, no it doesn't matter what concealer I use, it still oxidizes it and if I use too little that it doesn't set the under eye and then the under eye creases terribly. I have some pictures that are not photoshopped or anything that will show you the difference of this versus other powders. I would prefer any of the powders in the "Good" section over this and for the same price almost, I would choose the Hourglass powder.
Now onto the bad. This is just my opinion. It's not the Gospel guys. These just didn't work for me. So don't get offended.
Covergirl Outlast. This is the new formula or new packaging at least. Some love it but I find it very ordinary and not that great. It's lovely to the touch and very silky feeling. It's a sheer pigment and it's only 3 shades, or that's all I seen. I just don't think it's amazing or even good and I much prefer the Wet n Wild to this one. Mainly because I find the shades very peachy and not what I like at all.
Next is also going to be a fan favorite that I just never liked, which is the older formula of the Make Up For Ever HD pressed powder. They have reformulated and I hear it's quiet nice. I do not like this in the loose or the pressed formula, or at least the old one. I find that again like so many others it makes lines more noticeable and I just don't enjoy it. Which HD is High Definition which means essentially everything in that filter, finish, or whatever is going to be more defined and I do not want that. I want the blurring filter, finish, etc. I want the smoothing, I want the luminous, I don't want to be more detailed. Which I'm sure is not what they meant but if we just break down the name that's kinda what it implies. I would like to try the new formula though just to see if it's finally the immaculate powder that it should be.
So that's all I got. Those are what stand out. I narrowed the list down quite a bit. There are plenty of decent powders out there but I'm trying to discuss the ones either heavily talked about or the ones flying under the radar that I wish people would talk about.
Ok so just for a comparison, on the left we have Too Faced Primed and Poreless Powder on the under eye area. We have Wet N Wild Photo Focus setting the rest of the face.
Now on the right (just ignore my attempt at Faux Freckles) I'm using the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish powder under the eyes and also the rest of the face. It's just dusted on. The pictures are taken with the front facing camera on my phone, in natural light, at a window. It's not photo-shopped (obviously). Also this is right after I had finished the makeup and took pictures. Not after 4-8 hours of wear later.
I'm from Tennessee. I'm a makeup and skincare lover. I have always enjoyed creating looks but I love to help people with product knowledge and application even more. I've been able to do these things because God has seen fit to bless me with the opportunity.