Budget Beauty: What is the best pressed powder under P600?

Have you found your HG pressed powder yed? I personally have a few favorites, but I still am always on the lookout for promising options with affordable price tags. I mean, it’s the one item in my makeup arsenal that I keep hitting pan on! Finding a good formula is a challenge for my sensitive combination skin though because what works for my oily T-zone (nose and forehead) usually emphasizes texture on my drier U-zone (cheeks, jawline, and chin).

In this Pressed Powder Battle Royale, I tried six drugstore picks to find out if budget-friendly formulas could work for my skin. To keep the playing grounds fair, I used each pressed powder the same way. Since some of them didn’t come with applicators, I used a powder brush to apply the powder and set my makeup: I skipped the primer and used the same cream stick foundation with a dewy finish for each look. I also didn’t use any finishing or setting sprays to see how long the powder could keep my skin matte and my makeup intact. I also wanted to know how well the powders performed for touchups, so whenever I felt shiny, I would blot with an oil film to check oil control and powder transfer before retouching the powder with a brush.

L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 16 HR Powder (P600/9g or P66.70/g)

Oily-skinned beauty fans worldwide rejoiced when L’Oreal released the Infallible Pro-Matte line. This powder promises 16 hours of wear with oil control, a matte finish, and “air-fine texture.” It comes in 6 different shades, and I got to try 300 Nude Beige. Off the bat, I like that the sponge applicator comes in a separate layer with the mirror; I hate it when a film forms over powder makeup because of facial oil and sweat buildup.

I love the natural matte finish I got when it was freshly applied, though it has light coverage. It delivered on its claim to be “never cakey, never flat.” I can’t verify its “16 HR wear” claim but it does have decent staying power (around 4 to 5 hours on me) and wears off evenly. It has pretty good oil control, and by the end of 8 hours, my skin looked like it was just about to cross the line between dewy and oily. I also like how my base, blush, and highlight remained intact throughout the day. I was also pleased that the powder neither creased on my undereye area nor emphasized my texture issues!

Strangely, this powder always oxidizes two to three shades darker when I use it (or is it just me?). I wish the packaging was sturdier as the acrylic casing protecting the hinges can break easily. This is the priciest of the pressed powders in this battle BUT the formula works very well with my combination dry-oily skin and IMHO well worth the price! I don’t mind retouching as it gives me the finish I prefer.

Maybelline Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Pressed Powder (P399/8.5g or P46.94/g)

Much awaited in the PH because of so many YouTube vlogger raves, Maybelline Fit Me! Matte + Poreless pressed powder promises a “natural poreless-looking finish” with up to 12 hours of wear. There are 8 shades available locally, and I tried 220 Natural Beige, a pretty good shade match to my light-medium skin tone. I was looking forward to trying this, as it’s so much cheaper than L’Oreal’s Infallible by about P20 per gram. It even has similar packaging, with its sponge applicator and mirror in a separate compartment.

Even though the powder offers light coverage, I love the natural healthy-looking finish. It also blurred my visible pores, which is a feat for me without a pore-filling primer. It could do better with oil control though, as I oiled up after just around two hours. There’s minimal transfer when blotting with an oil film though, and retouching was a dream. It blended really well and didn’t settle into any lines, pores, or dry patches.

By the end of the day though, it turned into a shade that is a lot warmer than my skin tone. The liquid foundation also oxidizes so it might be a consistent flaw for the line. The formula is supposedly for normal to oily skin types, but I can see this working for dry to combination skin as well. Staying power might be low at only 2 to 3 hours, but it does give a healthy glow!

Essence Mattifying Compact Powder (P239/12g or P19.92/g)

An affordable European drugstore contender, Essence puts forth a worthy challenger. Described simply as an “extremely smooth powder for a matt and flawless finish,” it comes in only 4 shades. Shade 02 Soft Beige looks almost orange in pan, but surprisingly goes on translucent.

The first thing that hit me when I tried this was how good it smells! I live for that chocolate-y vanilla scent. It also goes on very matte, which made my skin look unbelievably flat right after application BUT it’s one of those makeup wonders that looks much better over time. Plus, the oil control is amazing: I only had to retouch once as I oiled up at around the 5-hour mark!

The powder has such outstanding staying power that I feel like I wouldn’t even need to retouch this if I use the right setting spray with it. Oily skin types will definitely love this while normal to combination skin types may find that they never have to retouch after setting with this powder. That’s just as well as the compact doesn’t include an applicator sponge, so you’ll need to use a separate brush.

Covergirl Trublend Mineral Pressed Powder (P475/11g or P43.18/g)

I haven’t tried a lot of makeup from Covergirl but I do hear good things about the brand from Western bloggers. Their Trublend mineral pressed powder comes in 6 self-adjusting shades, and I got 2 Translucent Light. At first glance, this is pricier than the Maybelline Fit Me, but it comes out almost P4 cheaper per gram! The packaging plays to one of my pet peeves, though, and I wish it came with a different compartment for the sponge.

The powder mattified my makeup, and looked pale upon application. True to its claim though, it did adjust to match my skin tone! It has pretty good oil control so I only had to retouch once, 4 hours into wear. It does transfer a bit when blotting but the staying power is pretty good. I guess my biggest issue with it is that the dry patch on my chin started flaking midday but I could probably fix it by using a moisturizing mist. I feel like this is a good option for oilier skin types looking for that matte-but-not-flat finish.

Colourette Flexipowder (P599/14g or P42.79/g)

Now this might sound expensive for pressed powder but local contender Colourette’s Flexipowder comes with a whopping 14g of product compared to the 10g average of the other powders. That’s a lot! It has a very light floral scent that is undetectable when applying. Out of the 6 pressed powders I tried, this is the only one that affords some sun protection at SPF 15. I got to try it in Almond, the lighter of the two available self-adjusting shades.

I wasn’t expecting much in way of coverage as it plainly states that it has sheer coverage. I like that my skin somehow looked healthier with it! The shade was a pretty good match right after application but it oxidized through the day to a deeper shade with an olive undertone. It does control oil well but the powder emphasizes dryness and texture with every reapplication, making it wear off patchily as the day ran its course. The very limited shade range might be a problem for those with lighter skin tones but this is a good option though for those looking for a powder that feels light on the skin, and oil control without heavy coverage.

Ever Bilena Face Powder with Vitamin E (P115/11g or P10.45/g)

The most affordable powder of the bunch, local beauty brand Ever Bilena offers pressed powders in 6 shades. Warm Beige is apparently a new shade release and comes in a black compact while the others are in white compacts.

Off the bat, I was surprised with the medium coverage I got! Its matte finish held for the next 3 hours, but a line began to form on my undereye area just after about an hour of wear. Over time, the powder emphasized visible pores and blemishes. As much as I love the coverage I got, it got cakey upon reapplication. By the end of day, parts of it were still there, but coverage has worn off on my pimple and some dark spots. Consider this option if you’re on the lookout for an affordable pressed powder with heavier coverage.

So who won? For me, Essence Mattifying Compact Powder has become a fave for days when I need staying power for my makeup. I don’t worry about retouching; a single oil clear sheet after lunch is more than enough to keep my facial oil at bay. And I won’t deny it, that yummy chocolatey vanilla scent makes it a joy to use when I set my base! 

I also reach for the L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 16 HR Powder on days that I use dewier foundations, and Maybelline Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Pressed Powder when my combination skin is more dry than oily. I also really like that Colourette Flexipowder never caked on me - perfect for those light makeup days!

It helps a lot to know which powders would work best for your requirements so you don’t end up buying a bad match. Is your HG pressed powder on our list? What powder would deem as the best you’ve tried?