Best Foundation Powders

My best picks from cheap to steep & a few in between

Powder foundations are beloved because they are both powders and foundations in one, they're portable and they provide more or less coverage depending if you add a bit of water to them. Apply in the morning, stick the compact in your purse for refreshers during the day and voilá! You're set for the day.

If you care about putting only organic, natural products on your skin, mineral makeup is a great bet. Minerals are great for sensitive skin because the makeup is made of organic, fragrance-free ingredients. You don't have to worry that you're putting on your skin ingredients that were created in a lab.

The particular powder foundation from Neutrogena gets high ratings on the review websites. It's inexpensive (I've seen it sold online from $9 to $14), but acts like a more expensive powder by providing full and long-lasting coverage. Users love how they can build it up for more coverage.

This is a great bet for women with oily, normal or combination skin because it's oil-free.

Like most foundation powders, Palladio's foundation can be applied dry for a light finish or with a wet sponge for fuller coverage. You'll love the compact, which, though a bit bulky, does split into 2 separate sections — one for the powder and one for the sponge. The sponge section has holes that allow it to breathe.

Comes in 7 shades.

The word on the street is this is an excellent powder foundation for those with normal skin and skin sensitivities (rosacea, allergies to talc) but not so great for those with bad acne or major skin discolorations they want to cover up.

It evens out skin tone, gives skin a lovely glow, won't accentuate dry skin or large pores and if you have oily skin it will keep down the oil production for a few hours (use rice blotting papers if your skin does get oily). If you have dry skin, always use a moisturizer or foundation primer first. It's a great mid-level price point, too.

Before my oily skin turned dry and I switched to tinted moisturizer, I used this particular powder foundation for years. In fact, I still have a compact rolling around in a makeup drawer. MAC Studio Fix is perfect for women with oily skin who want to minimize the appearance of large pores.

The trick with Studio Fix is to find the right shade for your skin tone. Studio Fix comes in many, many shades so I recommend trying them on at a MAC counter. And keep in mind, you may need 2 different shades for the different seasons of the year — most women are usually a bit darker in summer. I recommend a shade for winter and a shade for summer, blending the two in between.

Women swear by this stuff. A classic mineral foundation powder, bareMinerals has been around for a long time now. This powder comes in 12 shades. It gives you all the flawless coverage you want with a no-makeup look and feel that should last up to 8 hours. The creamy minerals diminish the appearance of imperfections without drying out skin. The groundbreaking formula is clinically proven to promote clearer, healthier-looking skin.

Laura Mercier is known for making great foundations and her foundation powder is no exception. You can get more coverage by applying it wet with a sponge or less coverage by applying it dry with a foundation makeup brush. Makeup reviewers claim it blends well, has great staying power and is build-able — meaning you can build up how much coverage you want. This product is particularly great for oily skin. If you have dry skin, I recommend applying a moisturizer or foundation primer on skin first, otherwise, this product can make your skin appear dry and scaly.

The only cons to this powder I've found are the price ($40) and the fact that used daily it will last you about two months, a little less than your average foundation.

Chanel's best-selling powder foundation is an investment. But one that's worth it. It will leave you with an airbrushed, glowy, yet smooth finish. This comes in 15 shades and SPF 10, which is rather low, so I do advise using a sunscreen under it. One con: Chanel still tests on animals, so if you are an animal lover, choose a mineral makeup instead.

This mineral makeup is pricey, but from what the reviewers are saying, it's well worth the money. This pressed base goes on beautifully, won't settle into fine lines and wrinkles and leaves one looking rather air-brushed and gorgeous. One downside is you may need to layer on a few applications to get the desired effect and this means you can run out of your fancy powder within a couple months.