Face Off: 5 Loose Powders in my Stash
In my last Foundation Week entry, I started talking about the confusion among loose powders, so I thought I'd catalog my own collection and share how I use them. Here they are in alphabetical order:
Ben Nye Luxury Powder in Buff, PHP 1000 / 42g, Digital Traincase (main ingredient: talc)
This is probably the only setting powder I've been able to use in my kit. There's too many finishing/HD powders around that I don't really have much choice when it comes to plain, flashback-less setting powders. I'm investing in RCMA No Color next because I prefer translucent to this tinted one.
I find Ben Nye pretty okay. It's not extremely silky and oil control is about average. It’s not bad, but I wouldn’t settle on it. I didn't get the super-famous Banana because I feel it's only used for highlight-baking on deeper skin tones, such as Kim K's.
This is HD powder, meaning, leaving too much of it on will cause flashback. I have mistakenly used it to set in the past, back when I didn't know any better, but it thankfully didn't leave coke patches. On a personal level, I don't really care about flashback because I use Ellana to smoothen and set daily makeup. On a professional level, I reserve this as a finishing powder for intense looks because I find it more matte than my other HD options.
I like how this powder leaves me feeling super silky! This is actually the old packaging - the new ones come in mirror jars, But I love it so much I brought it to Korea and back :))
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Loose Microfinishing Powder, KRW 25500**, PHP 2250 / 8.5g, MUFE (main ingredients: mica, silica)
The infamous. The notorious. The much-reviled “usual suspect.” I feel so bad that MUFE gets a bad rep when it's being misused anyway. It's not setting powder, and if you use it like so it will definitely flash back. This finishing powder is formulated specifically for 4k video, and when you're under that tight of a scrutiny, every single line and pore pops out like a sore thumb. The light-reflective particles in the powder catch enough light to distract away and sort of blur out the harsh texture on your skin. The catch is, using too much (think: setting, baking or fallout-shield levels) will leave you with war paint patches that are not visible to the naked eye.
I love using it in HD Photography. The new cloth mesh top gives one an idea of just how much product you're supposed to be using. I just find it annoying how the cloth stains over time as foundation inevitably contaminates the brush as it dips back to the mesh guard.
Peripera Oil Capture Pact 2016 limited set (w/ Peri Ink), KRW 10 000 / 6.5 (main ingredient: talc)
I have two: one I use for personal midday touchups and one in my kit for mid-shoot touch ups. Talc being the main ingredient means it will not flash back, which makes it perfect for retouching because piling on HD powder throughout a shoot day can eventually lead you to cokeface.
I’m not sure if less-than stellar oil-control is due to the formulation or the pressed format, but I'm not too impressed with Peripera Oil Capture Pact.
Shiseido Maquillage Snow Beauty Powder 2014 edition, PHP 3998 / 25g (main ingredients: mica, polymethyl methacrylate, talc)
The one, the only, the best. I love this powder and I will never shut up about it. It feels baby-butt silky. It's a great setting powder, and I often don't find the need for a finishing powder when using Shiseido Maquillage Snow Beauty Powder because it gives me baby skin anyway.
The top ingredient is mica, which we've already established is there for light reflection. I like how that ends up giving me a moon-like glow in real life. Interestingly, it also has polymethyl methacrylate, which is a great filler. I'm guessing it's this ingredient that smooths me out on a molecular level and makes me feel as supple as I look! Talc is a third ingredient, which is great for oil control. Not really a huge selling point for me, but important on the topic of setting powders nonetheless.
You can see in my swatches how Ben Nye is practically invisible both with and without flash. Ellana Minerals and MUFE, my two HD powders, are invisible without flash but are obviously present under flash. They're so invisible in fact, that as I put on additional layers of MUFE, I could barely see where I set the first layer and ended up painting on a really wide stripe. Peripera and Shiseido Maquillage are more or less visible with or without flash. Granted, these are all heavy-handed swatches and I find them all quite useful when not over-used.
When it comes to translucent powders, the only thing I really worry about is flashback. I need to be able to pile on the setting powder and make sure to work really sparingly with finishing/HD powders. The ingredient list is key- it gives me a general idea of the flashback potential (talc=no flashback potential, silica/mica=high flashback potential). Still, there are many other factors that can affect flashback potential such as other light-catching ingredients, setting spray temporarily erasing flashback, etc. You can have a general guide but it’s still crucial to do an actual cam-test each and every time.
*I received this item as a press sample
**Korean price reflects student discount rate. Philippine price is SRP.