A Puff a Day Keeps the Shinies at Bay

April 6, 2014

Happy weekend everyone!! How do you feel like a long, good story? Sit back, put your feet up, grab a cup of coffee or tea… for this is going to be a long read!

Once upon a time, I only had 1 loose powder, La Mer The Powder in Translucent. And that was my world… until a little angel whispered to me that I should test out other powders. So thus empowered, I decided I should expand my range like a good lil blogger. And here are a few that I’ve been rotating over the past few months!

Loose Powder - La Mer, La Prairie, SUQQU, Koh Gen Do, Dior


It has taken me a very long time to write this because powders are really quite a difficult story to tell… what makes a powder “good” or “bad”? And photographing them has proven to be a challenge beyond that of my paltry skills and equipment. But instead of burying them as a failed experiment, I shall attempt to describe them with words. Read on, read on!!

Before we delve into the story proper, let me explain to you how I got started with La Mer, and got irrevocably hooked for life. Yes, if you give up reading at this point, you already caught the gist of my tale. About 7 years ago when I was living in the US and going up the mountains to ski every other weekend, my skin took a major beating. I had severely sensitized skin, which was often flakey and had patches of eczema. Not a pretty sight, and the only thing I could wear on my face to tone down the redness was La Mer’s Tinted Sunscreen (which has sadly been discontinued). But I also needed something to keep shine at bay, and most powders dried up my skin horribly and emphasized the flakiness. One day, I received a 5gm deluxe sample of La Mer The Powder in Translucent, and it was nothing short of a miracle.

La Mer The Powder


This is one of the finest powder in the world, and is so light it goes on imperceptibly. La Mer claims that it is developed with symmetrically shaped, uniquely coated airspun sea-born particles… all I know is it goes onto my skin and just magically blends in. It comes in 4 varying shades, but I found Translucent to work well on me. It doesn’t have color correcting properties, but neither does it turn my face white and powdery. The powder also contains some very soft shimmers that reflects the light, blurring away imperfections. In terms of oil control, it does that beautifully for about 4-5 hours, after which a touch-up is required.

The jar is one of the largest and heaviest piece of make-up I have ever known. But it is beguiling as the sides are rather thick. It comes with a plush powder puff, but I prefer applying my loose powder with a brush, and the jar to be too bulky to be tipping over on a daily basis. The sifter lid pries open easily, so I usually decant a spoonful of this into a smaller container for daily use. La Mer The Powder is a luxury powder and is priced at USD65. However, it comes with a generous 25gm of product, which when you break down on a per unit cost basis, works out to USD2.60 / gram…not at all that outrageously priced.

Once I started on my quest to experience more, I decided to pick up something quite similar, and quite different at the same time. I chose the Diorskin Nude Rose Powder.

Diorskin Nude Rose Powder


Launched last year, the Diorskin Nude Rose Powder received so many rave reviews I had to check it out for myself. If I thought La Mer was finely milled, the Diorskin Nude Rose Powder was lighter than air! Every time I tipped the jar over to dispense some powder, I unleash a pink cloud. This is not necessarily a good thing though, as I found that it simply disappears from my face within 30 minutes to an hour.

Let me clarify. “Good” loose powder should be invisible when applied. However, you as the wearer should be able to tell the difference, i.e. minimized look of pores and other imperfections, smoothening of texture, brightening and other color correcting properties. Minimal, but mission critical differences. From the moment I dust on the Diorskin Nude Rose Powder, the pink pigments brightens up my complexion. There are obvious shimmers in this powder, which go further to bring about a glow. Absolutely divine! But, it either gets “eaten” up by my foundation, or floats away with the breeze, because by the time I arrive in the office, the magic is gone.

The packaging on this is one of my favorite – elegant clear glass jar with a silver reflective cap at the top complete with the Dior logo engraved on it. The puff is lovely too, with a touch of pink. However, the sifter lid does not pry open no matter how hard I tried, so decanting this is simply not possible. It is at a lower price point than La Mer at USD56, but it only contains 12gm of product. On a per gram basis, Diorskin Nude Rose Powder is almost double the price of La Mer at USD4.67 / gram!

Let’s shift gears for a moment, and examine the other doyen of the luxury skincare universe – La Prairie Cellular Treatment Loose Powder.

La Prairie Cellular Treatment Loose Powder


My initial reaction to this was that it is quite a different powder from both La Mer and Dior. It is not as finely milled, and at first glance, the powder tended to clump together and isn’t as smooth. Having spent 7 years of my life with La Mer, I had a hard time adjusting to La Prairie. But I persevered, and tried my best to understand this powder.

This is probably best suited for oily skin types as I found it mattified the complexion quite a bit. The powder itself did not carry any shimmer which lends a different finish – more powdered, matte finish. I experienced some difficulty picking the powder up evenly on my Hakuhodo S105, which is loose fluffy powder squirrel-haired brush. I found to easier with a much denser brush like the Chikuhodo Z-9, which I admit is not easily accessible to most, so an alternative is to dust it over with a puff and then buff things out with a brush.

La Prairie Cellular Treatment Loose Powder comes beautifully in a hefy plastic jar with a shiny metallic cap with La Praire embossed on it. The included puff is thick and the sifter lid snaps open and shuts easily. It retails for USD80 and comes with 66gm of product, making this the cheapest on a per unit basis – USD1.21/gram!

I also had the chance to try out 2 powders that are not easily accessible and I’d like to briefly introduce them to you.  The first is the SUQQU Nuancing Loose Powder.


SUQQU Nuancing Loose powder Glow

SUQQU needs no introduction from me, I’ve reviewed many other makeup items from this brand. However, getting hold of this powder is not that easy, and I was blessed to have been given a sample to try.  It is as finely milled as my beloved La Mer The Powder, and contains far less shimmer so may be welcomed by those averse to shimmery powders.  Perhaps as a consequence, I did not notice much brightening from this powder.  The finish is imperceptible, mildly mattifying without emphasizing pores and fine lines… the way good powders are supposed to.  However, in terms of longevity, it did not control shine as well as La Mer, and went away after 2-3 hours.

And lastly, this Koh Gen Do UV Face Powder.


Koh Gen Do UV Face Powder

The version I was able to try here was a limited edition release, but was quite enjoyable and I envision the permanent powder available in its makeup line-up – the Maifanshi Face Powder – should be quite good.  It is finely milled, and does not dry up my skin or emphasize lines and pores.  The limited edition version here has a slight pink tinge and lends a brightening effect.

And some samples of the various powders discussed above, for you to get an idea of the color and textures:

Loose Powder sample comparison


From left to right, the powders are: La Mer The Powder in Translucent, Koh Gen Do UV Face Powder, Diorsnow Nude Rose Powder, La Prairie Cellular Treatment Loose Powder, and SUQQU Nuancing Loose Powder.  The powders are really quite varied in color – notice how La Mer The Powder is a light beige in color despite being termed “Translucent”; and Diorsnow Nude Rose Powder is really quite pink in comparison to the rest.  The texture of La Prairie is noticeably coarser, and it tends to clump together.

I hope this has been an interesting read, and thank you for making it through such a lengthy essay.  This is the start of my journey through the land of loose setting powders, and I will be back soon with more!  I’d also love to hear which are your favorite powders so do leave me your comments below!  Have a good week ahead!