Back to Beauty Basics: Here's how to choose the best powder for you

Face powders are an oily-skinned gal's best friend, but even dry skin like mine benefit from a good powder product. With makeup brands releasing all sorts of face powder products these days though, how do you choose which ones to use? Here's a quick guide to help you navigate the powder makeup aisles!

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Choose according to purpose: Foundation, Setting, Finishing, Mattifying

If you spot a product labeled Powder Foundation, it means you can actually use it as base makeup. Using a brush to apply this type will give you a light powdery finish so it's often recommended for oily skin. If you need more coverage, you can wet the sponge it usually comes with before brushing the same product over to set. You can try some powder foundations for less than P400 or P500.

Catrin Diamond Mineral Foundation, Avon Ideal Oil Control Plus Dual Powder Foundation (P289)

Catrin Diamond Mineral Foundation, Avon Ideal Oil Control Plus Dual Powder Foundation (P289)

You may also come across something labeled as Setting Powder. As the name suggests, it sets your base makeup (could be powder or liquid) to make it stay put and help it last longer. If you're using a liquid foundation, you may need to set it with a setting powder for a more matte finish, especially for oily skin. You can also opt to use a powder foundation but it will add additional pigmentation whereas setting powders are usually translucent. I love the Laura Mercier one but there are many budget options as well. Another oil control hack that I tried is using the setting powder under foundation and it worked okay for me.

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder (P1,850), Nichido Final Powder in Ivory Glow (P150)

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder (P1,850), Nichido Final Powder in Ivory Glow (P150)

Sometimes confused with setting powder is the Finishing Powder. This powder is supposed to go on top of the setting powder to give a "finished" look as the name suggests. This gives a look akin to a face filter, but needs to be applied with a light hand and blended well. Some brands use the terms setting and finishing powder interchangeably though, so you'd have to check which is which by the product's recommended use.

Mizon Correct Skin Finisher (P1,200 via Althea Korea), IPKN x Estherlovesyou Twinkle Color Correcting Blur Pact (via YeppunonniePH)

Mizon Correct Skin Finisher (P1,200 via Althea Korea), IPKN x Estherlovesyou Twinkle Color Correcting Blur Pact (via YeppunonniePH)

The most common use of the face powder would be for oil control, and is known as the Mattifying Powder. The Happy Skin Matte of Your Dreams Oil Control Mattifying Powder is one example.

Happy Skin Matte Of Your Dreams Oil Control Mattifying Powder In Translucent (White) (P1,299)

Happy Skin Matte Of Your Dreams Oil Control Mattifying Powder In Translucent (White) (P1,299)

There's no rule though that you can't use a setting or finishing powder for retouching midday as long as it also gets the job done for you!

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Shop by Type

In general, there are 2 types of face powders: Loose and Pressed. The loose variety is usually used for baking and for oil control. The baby powder from our high school days technically count as loose powder even if it's not labeled as makeup, and Kim proved how well these work despite the cheap price tags. The Shiseido Baby Powder is another baby powder that proved its mettle in the oil control department.

Althea Petal Velvet Powder (P210), Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder (P360)

Althea Petal Velvet Powder (P210), Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder (P360)

The loose powders from the beauty section of the department store are often used for setting makeup at home and rarely for retouching on the go because it can get a bit messy. Amp up your options: the PV staff recently shared our faves and we had a three-way loose powder battle to see which works best for oily skin.

Maybelline Fit Me Pressed Powder (P399), L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 16HR Powder (P600)

Maybelline Fit Me Pressed Powder (P399), L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 16HR Powder (P600)

The pressed powder type is more portable in a way, since a compact is easier to slip in your bag and apply while in transit. Most powder foundations and mattifying powders are available in pressed powder form. Unlike the loose powders, there are ingredients added in to make it all stick together, which may not be good news for pretty sensitive skin. If you have similar skin conditions to Liz’s, you may want to check out these pressed powders she loved last year.

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Add to Cart by Finish

Powders can also come in different finishes like Natural, Matte, and Shimmery. The first two are the more common options especially for powder foundations, setting powders, and mattifying powders. Those with oily skin usually go for the matte finish to combat oiliness, but the overall look can appear flat so some blush and highlight might be needed. They can also go for the natural finish which is more recommended for dry and combination skin.

Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder in Highlight-01 (P1,750), W-Lab Sebum Out Finish Powder (P560 via Althea Korea), Skinfood Peach Sake Pore Pact (~P380)

Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder in Highlight-01 (P1,750), W-Lab Sebum Out Finish Powder (P560 via Althea Korea), Skinfood Peach Sake Pore Pact (~P380)

The shimmery finish is more often found in finishing powders labeled as illuminating or brightening. They provide a subtle extra glow to the look, plus you can use them as highlighters in a pinch!

We hope this guide helps you figure out which powder product is best for your needs. It can get tricky but by checking out the multiple reviews and picks we have here on PV, you’ll be sure to choose more confidently! Have you found that perfect face powder yet? Which ones are your favorites?