Makeup Tips: Do You Have To Spend A Fortune On Face Powder?

When it comes to finishing a look and setting makeup in place, there’s nothing more equipped to do the job than a dusting of transparent powder. It’s always been a staple in my makeup bag, well before I started using foundation or investing in heavy duty concealer – it’s a great way of removing shine, creating a uniformed finish and making me feel ‘done’. Although it frequently gets a hard time as a product designed for grannies that can leave your complexion looking cakey, if used correctly it really is a life saver. I literally cannot go without a light dusting over my base to set my makeup, even in the height of summer when dewy finishes and glowy radiance are all the range. However, do you need to spend a fortune on translucent powder to ensure a great finish, or can you get away with a budget brand that will do the job just as well?

To start with, there are two different types of face powder – loose and compact – which offer slightly different results. Loose powder is often a lighter alternative and ensures an airbrushed finish on skin, allowing you to lightly dust over the surface and fix makeup into place. However, it can be messy and it’s not practical for using outside of your bathroom. Compact powders have been compressed to provide a ‘solid’ pan from which you can brush over and remove a little product; these are much more practical if you’re concerned with mess and also make it super easy to touch-up on the go. The key is to avoid using the puffs and foam applicators that come with the compacts, as these can overload the skin and leave you looking way too powdery; invest in a mini brush for on-the-go instead.

So, do you need to spend a fortune to get a good product? Essentially all powders are made up of pretty much the same thing (mainly talc,) but the more expensive products tend to be more finely milled (or ground) for a super fine powder. The finer the powder, the more natural it looks on the skin and less likely it is to end up feeling cakey. Most of the time you’ll be parting with additional cash simply for the pleasure of buying into a brand name and the beautiful
package that holds it – rather than the product formulation itself.
Unlike foundations and lipsticks (which tend to use more advanced
technology as the price point increases to provide comfort and a
long-lasting formula,) essentially every powder formula is made of very similar ingredients; there’s only so much additional performance you can get from a basic formula, so it’s good to be cautious.

However, when it comes to compact powders I have noticed that the cheaper brands have a much higher tendency to break and smash – meaning you have to throw them away and part with yet more cash for a replacement. I very rarely get through an entire pan of Max Factor, Rimmel or Collection powder, but my Chanel, Charlotte Tilbury and YSL compacts are still going strong. You may be buying into a beautiful brand, but that beautiful pack also helps protect the product inside and ensure you can use every last bit. Your purchase decision has to take this into account – is it worth spending £20.00 now rather than having to replace a £4.00 product five times?

If you’re a little worried about powders initially but want to give them a go, investing in a more expensive product may help to ease you in and provide confidence. (I would definitely recommend visiting a makeup counter for tips on application.) However, budget buys and mass market brands tend to offer equally as good products if you know how to use them; using a light powder brush is key to only picking up the amount you want and not overloading the face. (Use sponge applicators at your peril!) I have a combination of brands, price points and textures in my collection, but I wouldn’t say there’s a huge amount of difference in performance. Essentially, the decision is yours – are you more concerned with a pretty pack that you can chuck in your handbag, or would you rather spend a few quid and splurge the rest on a new necklace?

Are you a fan of face powder? Do you prefer budget buys or more expensive alternatives?



  1. Elena Doinoff
    December 16, 2014 / 2:50 pm

    To me, the best poswers out there are Korean ones. They tend to be all lighter shades but the texture is simply amazing – soft, silky and so finely milled!

    • Lydia Devine
      December 17, 2014 / 10:00 pm

      Oooh I might have to give this a go! I'm definitely a fan of the budget powder's though! I prefer to save the pricey stuff for things which will last longer like palettes and lipsticks! xF U Z Z Y P E A C H D R O P S

  2. Lily
    December 16, 2014 / 6:20 pm

    Powders are essential within my make up routine, but I find there is little difference between budget or expensive ones I have found

  3. Emily Knott
    December 16, 2014 / 6:26 pm

    I actually love a bit of loose powder. MAC’s prep and prime is my go to. Although I don’t use it on a regular basis, it’s a godsend for setting my makeup before a night out.

  4. Anonymous
    December 16, 2014 / 6:30 pm

    I use Seventeen miracle matte powder, £3.99 and it's fab. Lasts all day and does make my make up feel done 🙂

  5. susan1375
    December 17, 2014 / 12:34 am

    I bought a paul and joe one in the unicorn Xmas set 2 years ago and I use it every day – there is still loads left. My makeup does look better when I use it.

  6. Mary Bloomy
    December 28, 2014 / 9:39 pm

    Do you recommend any high end powder in particularly? I always go for drugstore brands but I'm very curious to try something else! 🙂 xx Mary Bloomy

    • London Beauty Queen
      December 29, 2014 / 2:01 pm

      I'm currently using Charlotte Tilbury, but you don't get a huge amount of product. I've previously used Clinique and Bobbi Brown and have been really happy. I would suggest shopping around!

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