Baking on a Budget: Affordable Loose Powders

Not all of us have the money to be buying a Laura Mercier loose powder to bake with (yet). So I had a look in my local boots to see what options there were for those of us still wishing to bake, but on a budget.

Amidst a sea of pressed powders I could only find 3 loose powders, which was slightly disappointing. Even though drugstore makeup is becoming better and better at keeping up with makeup trends, they are still a step behind luxury and cult beauty brands. I hope in the future to see a few more options for loose powders at drugstore prices!

But in the meantime, I wanted to give you a rundown of my thoughts of the three I did manage to find.

The 3 loose powders I purchased

From top to bottom:

Collection Sheer Loose Powder in 1 Barely There

Rimmel London Match Perfection Silky Loose Face Powder in 001 Transparent

GOSH Prime’N Set Setting Powder





COLLECTION Sheer Loose Powder in 1 Barely There

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Described as “Ultra fine powder enriched with silk and Vitamin E…for long-lasting wear”, it also handily contains both UVA & UVB sunscreens (still not an excuse to forgo sunscreen, but another good barrier for your skin)

I love its simple, no-nonsense packaging. It feels very sturdy, especially considering this product is only £2.99! It comes with a sifter and a pad to apply it. However, I wouldn’t bother using this pad; a Beauty Blender or similar does a much better job.

Though this powder was beautifully soft and smooth, I had a major issue with the colour. Although it is not described as translucent, the colour ‘Barely There’ would seem to suggest, at least to me, that there would be very little colour at all. However, despite the fact that this was the lightest colour available, it came out dark and a little orange on my skin. Although this may therefore be handy for setting contour/bronzer areas, it made it fairly useless for baking/highlighting under the eyes and setting my oily T-zone.

It also had a pretty strong scent. Not an unpleasant one – it smelt kind of like babywipes… But I know some people dislike products with a fragrance on their face. If that’s you, then this may not be the powder for you.

Perhaps if Collection came out with a translucent version of this setting power I could get a little more on board – especially considering it is so affordable. For now though, I’ll be giving this one a miss.

RIMMEL LONDON Match Perfection Silky Loose Face Powder in 001 Transparent

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This powder claims to have “Smart-Tone™ technology to perfectly mimic skin’s texture and tone” which should last up to 14 hours. Whilst I don’t entirely agree with these claims, I would say that this was definitely my favourite powder of the bunch

The colour was a lot better than the Collection powder, so I would recommend if you have fair skin. I’m not sure how well it would adapt to deeper skin tones however. I could both bake under my eyes and set concealer on the rest of my face thanks to the translucent colour of the powder, yet it didn’t have any brightening effect under my eyes.

Formula-wise, this powder is really good! Especially for its price point. The powder is super-fine meaning that it doesn’t cake up as easily and is less detectable on the skin. However, just be careful when using it as it does have a tendency to go everywhere! I was that idiot who would put way too much on my brush, sweep it over-zealously over my face…and then end up with it in my eyes or down my throat. So just be wary of that!

I found that my makeup did last longer when I baked with this powder. I could go around 6 hours before having to touch up, and it prevented creasing under my eyes and in my smile lines.

Overall, I would recommend this powder to anyone looking for an affordable loose powder option. The formula is beautiful, the colour is sheer enough to match most skin tones and it was a good powder to bake with if longevity is what you are looking for!

GOSH Prime’N Set Setting Powder

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I have mixed feelings about this powder. It does an amazing job at highlighting my under eyes and keeping my T-Zone oil free. In fact, I would go as far to say this has been one of my best discoveries in attempting to control my oiliness. I can put it on in the morning and still be shine-free by lunchtime, which for me is a miracle!

It is a lot brighter than the other two powders, owing to the fact that it is essentially bright white. Although this is good for highlighting, it can lead to a white sheen on the skin if you use too much.

And here we get to the real issue with this powder for me – it is too damn glittery! I don’t know whether that was intentional or not, but glittery under-eyes is not the look I am going for. The first few days I used it, I could not understand why I had glitter all over my face despite not using any especially glittery eye shadows. I was so disappointed when I realised it was the powder, because it had been doing such a great job with my oily skin.

Other problems include major flashback in flash photography. It can also make your skin dry, at least in my case, if you leave it to bake for too long. I would suggest sweeping this powder away almost as soon as you put it on if you are prone to dry patches.

Overall, this powder did amazing things for my oily skin and the longevity of my makeup. However, the glittery and dry nature of this powder was a real con. This powder was therefore a tale of two halves – amazing at one thing, but failing miserably at another. I have continued to use the powder, but more sparingly for setting rather than baking. I would recommend if you are struggling to find products to control oiliness. However, be warned of the glitter!

Although the Rimmel powder was my favourite of the bunch, the search goes on for a powder that can excel at everything. There must be one out there – Let me know if you have any suggestions!