The Gloss Report: Finishing powders

February 14th 2014


For make-up that will stay put all day with no shine but plenty of radiance, you need a good finishing powder. Here, the Gloss team put them to the test

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish


Price: £33

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Feedback: “I've always avoided powders, as I have dry skin which I try to make as dewy-looking as possible using cream concealers, foundations and blushers; but the problem with all those soft textures is that they don't last very long. A finishing powder to fix it all in place was just what I needed, a tip I've learned from many a make-up artist including Charlotte Tilbury herself. Her first range of products has had rave reviews and I can see why. Though we all know it's what's inside that counts, the packaging is gorgeous - a rose gold compact complete with mirror.

It’s one I wouldn't feel embarrassed about using on the tube for touch-ups - in fact, I'd probably do it more often just for beauty kicks. However, it's the rose wax and almond oil-infused powder inside that really impresses. The shade (I tried Medium) was a bit too dark for my very fair, extra pale (due to lack of sun) skin but it has a silky finish that doesn't settle into dry patches or look obvious on the face - a pet peeve of mine when it comes to powder. 'Airbrush' is an accurate name indeed; I swiped onto my T-zone and even dusted a little over my creamy under-eye concealer to fix it in place; shine disappeared, but left me with that soft-focus glow that these days only an Instagram filter can create. My base looked more even in tone than usual and it just seemed to smooth everything out - powder perfection. I'll be investing (it's quite pricey in my opinion!) in a lighter shade and saving this one for when my summer tan comes along.”

Reviewer: JJ

Score: 9/10

Chanel Natural Finish Loose Powder


Price: £36

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Feedback: "I do love a powder, whether it’s pressed or loose. I find them so much better than foundation as I hate feeling as though I have a cakey layer of product over my face. This translucent powder from Chanel is beautiful – a finely milled powder that is so unbelievably soft it is really easy to apply. It left me with a sheer, matte, natural finish that covered imperfections perfectly and blended in effortlessly. It contains photo-reflective pigments which really helps to give a natural-looking complexion while subtly disguising blemishes. It was very long lasting, with only a quick touch-up needed before I left the office. While it is expensive for a pot of translucent powder, it’s a generous size so should last a while. I really love the natural matte finish that this powder achieves, but if you prefer a more glowy look then this may not be the right powder for you."

Reviewer: SM


Laura Mercier Mineral Finishing Powder, No1


Price: £26

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Feedback: "A cosmetic doctor specialising in acne recommended that I try this and given the state of my jawline breakouts I gladly gave it a go. I wouldn’t normally opt for a loose powder; I’m a messy pup at the best of times and past experimentation has evoked dust storms and resulted in a slightly odd ‘dandruff face’ look.

I clearly haven’t been using the right powder, as this Laura Mercier mineral powder left no anarchy in its wake, either on my dressing table or my skin. In fact I’d go so far as to call myself a convert. Just the lightest dusting of this translucent shine-stopper minimized the appearance of pores on my nose and mattified my t-zone with no hint of cakey-ness. While sheer, it brought down the colour in my blusher very effectively (heavy handed is my middle name) and locked my make-up in place all day without ‘sitting’ on my skin. I only needed to reapply once before going out in the evening, which is impressive in my books. It felt light as air and my blemishes didn’t seem to get any more enraged, which is a big bonus. While the product is pricey, only the most minute amount is required to achieve relative flawlessness. I wore it over liquid foundation; as a finishing powder I think it would be too transparent to disguise imperfections. If you’ve been blessed with perfect skin however, buff away!

Reviewer: AH

Score: 10/10

Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder


Price: £24.50

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Feedback: “I’ve always suffered from an oily T-zone, so loose powder is a necessity when applying make-up. Without it, my nose gives Rudolph some serious competition. The pretty packaging of this product claimed that it was designed to reduce oil, which instantly gave me high hopes.

The first thing to note about this powder is its smell. It contains sage and rosemary, so it has a lovely rosy scent that is fresh without being too overpowering. Double points for the fact that all of the ingredients are pure. I used a powder brush to apply it (I’m not a fan of the puff that it comes with) and the moment it touched my face, all traces of oil instantly disappeared. The powder contains leaf extracts, to ‘help reduce and rebalance surface oiliness while promoting a softer, more even complexion’ which may be why my skin looked smoother and fresher. It’s light and silky, meaning it balances out the skin but still manages to go almost unnoticed.

It upheld its staying power through a hectic commute, although the power of my oily nose did break through around lunchtime. However, with a quick touch-up, my skin was left feeling as fresh as it did at the beginning of the day. All in all, this product is my new go-to powder.”

Reviewer: HI

Score: 8/10

MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder


Price: £20

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Feedback: "My sebaceous glands don’t know what’s hit them as of late. From gale force winds outside to cosy nights in snuggled next to my radiator (wild, I know), they’ve gone into overload and rendered me both shiny of forehead and glistening of nose. However, with this surprisingly portable powder packed in my make-up bag, my oil-slicked visage is finally under control.

Ideal for any skin tone, it’s been the perfect finishing touch for my morning regime, eradicating excess shine and setting my make-up for the day. Although getting a handle on its talc-like texture is a little fiddly to begin with, it wasn’t as messy as I thought it would be thanks to its handy size. I also opted to dip my brush into the lid instead of the pot to ensure I had enough to gently diffuse imperfections, without leaving a questionable white dust on my nose. A great addition to my anti-shine artillery, it’s provided the subtle boost that my my make-up needs to combat temperamental trans-seasonal oil levels."

Reviewer: AM

Score: 9/10

Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Loose Powder


Price: £25.00

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Feedback: "I can’t say I’ve ever been a big fan of powders, probably due to my teenage years when excessive experimentation with compacts and loose powders left me with particularly prominent tide marks. I’ve been scarred ever since. (I’d like to take a moment to thank my ‘friends’ for never having pointed these issues out to me).

However, I think I might have become a convert. This Bobbi Brown powder is extremely lightweight and has a slightly yellow-tinged base which looks a little terrifying but actually contains Vitamin E and is designed to boost the skins natural radiance and enhance any skin tone. I also tried applying it in smaller amounts to help keep my concealer in place and I’m pleased to say my pimples were no match for this powder.

I personally didn’t like applying powder to my whole face, as I find it dulls any highlighting and contouring in my make-up - I prefer the dewy look. For fixing make-up and brightening up smaller areas though, it’s incredibly long-lasting, doesn’t gather and brushes on like a dream. I think if you’re a powder fan, Bobbi Brown is lovely quality at a reasonably inexpensive price - I guess it’s just not really my thing.

Score: 7/10

Reviewer: KR

Diorskin luminous hydrating powder


Price: £32

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Feedback: "With its gorgeous, elegant packaging, this chic pot of powder would look great on any dressing table. It’s a beautiful powder that blends with the natural skin tone to create a natural and radiant finish, while the light, soft texture is also perfect for setting make-up.

I like to apply quite a bit of powder but because the texture is so silky, this product took a little bit of buffing for it to blend in completely. I tested the light version which I think is too pale for my skin, as it left a white layer when applied that needed to be blended with a brush. The medium shade would probably be more suitable for me. That said, this is a really luxurious powder and the micro-particles reflect light to give the skin extra radiance with a subtle natural glow."

Score: 7/10

Reviewer: SM

Aveda Inner Light Loose Mineral Powder


Price: £22

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Feedback: “For those with very oily skin, using a great finishing powder is more than just advisable - it’s a necessity. Of all the powders on the market, Aveda Inner Light Loose Mineral Powder has always been my go-to. The incredibly light powder gives a translucent finish post-makeup application and is also ideal for mopping-up any midday shine. Better still, its great for mattifying the skin while still maintaining a little radiance. Without this little pot of powder I would indeed be lost.”


Reviewer: KB

La Mer the Powder, in Translucent


Price: £55

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Feedback: "I really don’t normally like wearing face powder - in fact I’m slightly phobic about it. I feel it always makes me look caked and I don’t actually want anyone to know I’m wearing make-up as such. Recently however, when I’ve seen pictures of myself I realise I look shiny and may need to come round to the idea of wearing powder.

When La Mer does something, they do it very very well, and this product is no exception. The tub (whilst huge - definitely not one for your handbag), contains the finest powder I’ve ever tried. It takes the shine off skin without mattifying it, leaving you with the faint real skin-like glow of your dreams (you literally don’t know it’s there). I would recommend using it with the Powder Brush (£40, also La Mer) which is the perfect shape and bristle strength for getting into those areas where you need powder most, such as the sides of the nose and under the eyes. With a slightly a warm tint to it, this is perfect for taking the shine off any skin colour. I am a convert - if only I could fit it in my handbag."

Score: 8/10 (only due to huge tub)

Reviewer: ST

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