The Baby Powder Battle: Which under P20 powder is the best at oil control?

Graduating from baby powder was a rite of passage for most of us. It signaled the end of our pubescent years and marked the beginning of our kikay era. But do you ever wonder what sets actual powder makeup apart from the one we've been using since childhood? Can baby powders do just as good a job in setting makeup? I tested three different baby powders to find out!


I picked up the Lewis & Pearl Body & Face Powder (P16.75 for 30g), Bench Daily Scent Refreshing Oil Control Powder (P16.00 for 30g), and the classic Johnson’s Baby Powder (P18.50 for 30g) on a quick mall run. Crazy how all three set me back just a little over 50 pesos, that our cheap setting powder recommendations now seem expensive by comparison! 

Swatches, from left: Lewis & Pearl Body & Face Powder, Bench Daily Scent Refreshing Oil Control Powder, and Johnson’s Baby Powder

Swatches, from left: Lewis & Pearl Body & Face Powder, Bench Daily Scent Refreshing Oil Control Powder, and Johnson’s Baby Powder

These powders come in many variants that smell differently so you do have a variety of scents to choose from. I’d say all three look, feel, and swatch pretty much the same way so the real test boils down to how good they are at setting makeup and controlling oil.

This is a typical before and after application. All three leave a flat matte finish and a slight white cast on my yellow toned light-medium skin.

We’ve already given you the real talk on talc, fragrance, and parabens in makeup and skincare. While these ingredients don't have skin-caring properties, they’re not necessarily bad for you either. Your reaction will depend on your unique skin condition.

FYI: crowd-favorite setting powders like the Laura Mercier Translucent Powder, Guerlain Meteorites Powder, RCMA No Color Powder, Coty Airspun Powder, and even the $100 La Prairie Cellular Treatment Loose Powder are talc-based powders, too!

After a week of wearing them for a couple days each, I realized that it was a close call when it came to oil control. To find out which reigned superior, I used them side by side to better gauge how well they controlled my sebum. I first compared the Bench powder (right side of my face/left side of the screen) versus the Johnson's powder.

Around hour three, I had lost the initial white cast for both sides but more shine was visible on my left cheeks, which was the Johnson’s side. I was uncomfortably oily by hour six on my T-zone area, and I noticed that my foundation was beginning to cake and break apart, especially on the left side of my nose. It didn't stop me from getting oily but Bench performed better for this round.

Using the same base makeup, I tested the winning Bench powder (left side of my face/right side of the screen) against the Lewis & Pearl powder. I did avoid touching my face for both days to avoid messing up the results, but I flipped the position of the Bench powder this time, just to be sure the previous win wasn't because it was on a less oily part of my face. During both check-ins, the Lewis & Pearl side was noticeably shinier.

Finally, I did a blot test to see exactly how much oil was produced by my face while wearing the powders. Judging by the residue, the Bench Daily Scent Refreshing Oil Control Powder was the clear overall winner, too!

While I’m not about to retire my favorite setting powders, it’s nice to know that these under P20 finds can do a mighty decent job. If you’re doing a major budget cut for your makeup kit, just refill your old powder canister with baby powder so you don’t have to bring a bulky bottle around! No one will be able to tell – except maybe for the first five minutes when you smell like a baby.

Have you tried using baby powder to set your makeup?