Finally, Finally, I’m done! As with many things, I’m somewhat behind since going back to work, but it did give me opportunity to test the products under fire! We’ll break it down by brand, as most had both a loose and pressed and I tried both where comparable. ***
Application Notes: All products were applied over Mary Kay’s Foundation Primer to obtain an even finish. They were also tested twice with and twice without concealer, my concealer of choice being Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, in 15. If a reasonable applicator was included, that applicator was used, or fell back to testing with my standard powder brush from Bare Escentuals, and the applicator design and utility was factored in to the overall score.
Odd result note: Loose powders are generally available in fewer colours, and in some cases, much fewer colour choices. I found they also tended toward a toastiness, no matter the shade. At first I thought it was my imagination, so I tried the Maybelline Mineral Loose Powder, CoverGirl TruBlend and L’Oreal TrueMatch Natural Mineral Makeup in a strip test versus their brand’s pressed powders and found it to be true for all three. The only exceptions were the Revlon ColorStay Aqua and the Bare Escentuals.
Fit Me Pressed Powder: Part of the brilliant Fit Me system. This was an easy-to-choose colour which was one of the most accurate Ivory foundations of all, mine is 115 Ivory. It gives great coverage and silky finish, settles softly and doesn’t cake under my eyes where I have the crepe-y dark circles. Works brilliantly with concealer from the system for a slightly more full-finish look, or alone for a bit more natural look. The compact is a lovely little black square that fits easily in the purse for touch-ups, but unless you’re active on the job or chasing kids, when used with primer you probably won’t need to. It has a great mirror, and my only complaint is the little powder puff. It is a thin papery-backed spongey thing in the bottom compartment of the compact and is good for the barest touch-ups, so I used my standard powder brush for most applications, then substituted the perfectly-sized compact powder brush from a Mary Kay colour compact. ***TOP PICK**This is a great product available to all women at any drugstore for a great price-- 4.5 out of 5.
Mineral Power Powder Foundation: Used Classic Ivory 2. Ties loosely into the Fit Me system, but I was less confident in the colour selection and was less satisfied with the end result (see “Odd Result” above). It’s an opaque, browner ivory, still a soft, relatively sheer coverage and finish. It settled well around the eyes without caking and covered the dark circles relatively well without concealer. A brush was packaged with the tub, but was separate, and wow was it rough. I threw it out. Meh. 2 out of 5.
Bare Escentuals/ Bare Minerals:
Generally available in sets from their website, from ULTA, Sephora, which generally come with foundation and mineral veil including brushes. At first glance, the price seems premium-brand, but considering the brushes and quanitity/ quality of actual product, I truly consider this a steal. I use the Fairly Light and Mineral Veil, with and without the Maybelline concealer, always with the primer. The set sometimes comes with BE’s primer, and it is excellent as well, so if it gets you into a good habit, great--you’ll see a real difference. Follow the directions on the dvd, or if purchased in a shop, get a do-up by a make-up specialist. It’s really easy and really fast, and I have never felt that my skin looked so radiant made up. BE minimizes and evens my entire face skin tone--red cheeks, brown sun spots and under-eye circles. ***OVERALL TOP PICK***/ **TOP PICK** Specialty Shop/Online--I put this stuff off for ages, tutt-tutting the ads like I did with Pro-Active, then tried it in desperation and am in LOVE! 5 out of 5!
ColorStay Aqua Mineral Finishing Powder: >>>COLOUR??<<
weeeeiiiird. It feels wet as it touches your face, hence the concealer/liquid-style brush. This foundation applies really well, especially into crepe-y under-eyes, and is sheer and silky as it becomes a dry powder immediately. It’s unique and well formulated, gives a good amount of colour correction for all problem areas. Applicator is a high-quality, soft bristle brush which retracts into a plastic casing which in turn fits into the top. It can tend to retract while in use, but the brush itself is really lovely and I never used another from my own set. Another solid Drugstore Find: 4 out of 5.
Revlon Colorstay Pressed Powder: I used “Fair”, and it turned out to be chalky and slightly yellow. The compact is WRETCHED. Truly terrible. It’s a standard two-level round compact, which should open with a button or notch on the front of the circle, but the button on this one is so badly designed that it’s nearly impossible to grip the stupid compact and open it. I had to hold it cupped in both hands on the table, trying to press the button, but it doesn’t pop the lid up, you have to try to get a nail in between the layers and pry it open. The product wasn’t worth the fight, it left me looking like I was dead or wearing stage makeup for a revival of Cabaret. Complete disappointment after the triumph of the CS Aqua.
CoverGirl: CoverGirl gets honourable mention for having an online Makeup Match system that helps you find the type of product and shade that works for you. Although these two powders did not work for me, I have hard-to-match see-through ghosty skin. The actual quality of the products and applicators is stellar and I would still happily recommend checking out this system for their powder or liquid foundations.
TruBlend Mineral Powder (Loose Powder): I used 405 Translucent Fair. It comes in a standard tub, but the lid doesn’t screw on, so for heaven’s sake do NOT travel with this, it just lifts off. HOWEVER--what you do get is a nifty application system: There is a lovely, proper puff inside, and instead of tipping a bunch of powder into a lid, you hold the puff on and tip the entire thing upside down, then right side up, lift the puff, which is now full of powder, and sweep across your face. Applies softly and evenly with the puff. This powder, however, has a sheen. It’s almost sparkly. It would be a great foundation for younger users, as it is light coverage, good quality, stays put and has this, well...luminous quality. A good first powder. But for older users, not so much. 2.75 out of 5.
CoverGirl Clean Pressed Powder: I used 205 Ivory. CoverGirl has an insane number of powders, a huge number of those pressed powders alone--so after much deliberation, I opted for the Clean for Sensitive Skin. It’s a nice formula for the skin condition it claims to address. It feels clean, and wore well all day without requiring re-application. CG really seems to pay more attention to their applicators than other brands, as the little puff in the bottom was actually puff-y. I just felt it was yellow for an Ivory and slightly chalky, but these are the two main complaints for Ivory pressed powders. Meh. 2.5 out of 5.
True Match Pressed Powder “Super-Blendable Powder”: L’Oreal have a nice system with Warm/Cool/Neutral delineations, and an online system to help you choose. I chose Neutral-1/ Soft Ivory, a nearly exact neutral, only slightly too pale upon application. Very good coverage in first pass, and it is, indeed, very blendable. If purchasing again, or recommending to a twin, I’d go with the Cool 1 or 2 to get a bit more pink. It works well with concealer, but as with most pressed powders and many drugstore brands, the colour is a bit flat. Flat, but not chalky, in this case. It stayed put all day, but this powder did eventually cake under my eyes, with and without concealer. 3 out of 5.
True Match Natural Gentle Mineral Makeup: I went with the Light Ivory 458 with SPF 19. This loose powder fell into the problem category mentioned at the start. It was too toasty and a bit off in the colour. The powder gave decent coverage, but seemed to darken under my eyes, working better with the concealer for a more polished overall look. Application was awkward in that it was a cylinder package with a screw-off top. The brush is part of the screw-top construction and topped with a clear, tall cap, but when removed, that cap became the inner lid and was really deep. So there was really nowhere to shake the powder into that the brush could reach, plus the construction of the lid/brush was awkward to hold. Bit of an engineering fail, but the quality of the brush itself was pretty nice. I ended up unscrewing the entire lid, shaking powder into the much shallower lid underneath the brush and using my BareMinerals brush. Meh. 2 out of 5.
Mineral Powder Loose: Gentle formula, and available in a decent of shades. Not as many as liquid foundations, but more than most brands anywhere else (shades .05-2.0 in Ivory, Beige, and Bronze), and your consultant with help ensure you get the right one. I have used Ivory 1, and found it covered very naturally, comfortably and easily. This is the foundation that got me into wearing foundation--until this powder I thought I’d have to resort to pancake or suffer with my uneven “natural” look. Comfortable, even in Summer. Works great with concealer, and of course using over the Mary Kay Foundation Primer. 4 out of 5.
Mineral Pressed Powder: Works just as beautifully as the loose, comes in the same lovely pleasing tiny square black compact as the Maybelline and has the best little brush. I love stepping out knowing a perfect little compact is in my purse--I feel invulnerable! Well formulated, well-designed. While some pressed powders can seem a bit chalky compared to their loose counterparts, my Ivory pressed powder seems just a bit more delicate in colour but just as sheer, if not a bit more. Even if I’ve applied with something else at home and need 911-touchup, if this is in my bag, I just dust it on sparingly and it looks great. **ANOTHER TOP PICK 4.5 out of 5**
I rate Mary Kay, Bare Minerals/Bare Escentuals and Maybelline’s Fit Me highest overall for accuracy, quality and value. You’ll be able to access these easily and at a range of price points to create a polished, professional look, or your first Basic Face with confidence.
***Full Disclosure: I have, in the past, been a Beauty Control consultant and am currently one for Mary Kay. I do it solely for the discount and do not sell for profit, the same way I also hold discount/membership cards for Sephora, Ulta, Peninsula Beauty and Sally retail cosmetic and aesthetics shops. I strive to give fair reviews of all products used in this blog, and pay for everything out of my pocket. If ever a product is given without purchase by a shop, Independent Consultant of a direct marketed brand, or manufacturer, this will be *explicitly* stated at the beginning of the review and the product will be highlighted as such.
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