11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases

From the spectacularly scientific Clinique Almost Powder Makeup, to the simple but very effective Maybelline Matte Maker, prices vary wildly in a powder and often high-street can be just as good as high-end. We tried and tested a range to bring you the best.

1. Bourjois Healthy Balance Unifying Powder, £9, amazon

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It's rare for a beauty journalist to actually finish a powder product – too many to test out, not enough time and powder compacts last for ages – but I am swirling round on the very edges of this one. It gives a great matte coverage that lasts all day, and a really natural glow. It leaves skin looking completely un-made-up, but somehow flawless. Top Marks. 

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2. Clinique Almost Powder Makeup SPF15, £25, for 10g, John Lewis

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This innovative and exceptionally lightweight powder creates a super-sheer, ultra-natural finish. It's uncanny how skin looks perfect, but without looking made-up. It's also non-drying for dry skin, but can still reduce shine and oil breakthrough in combination skin.

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3. Laura Mercier Mineral Finishing Powder, £26 for 9.6g, John Lewis

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If you like your powders loose, this is my top pick. It'll help control sebum, visually minimize pores and help boost the effectiveness of other mineral products. But most impressively, it's packed with skin-caring goodies:  antioxidant milk thistle extract protects against UV damage, anti-ageing amino acids, magnesium and calcium, zinc repair damaged skin, and grapeseed extract protects collagen and elastin from damage. This is a hardworking powder that can be used to set foundation, or worn alone for a luminous, soft-focus look. 

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4. Max Factor Creme Puff Pressed Powder, £6 for 21g, amazon

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Max Factor is celebrating 60 years of the Creme Puff with new gold packaging. Created in the 1950s to give screen sirens creamy, flawless complexions, the formula has remained the same since. Use it as a medium to high coverage all-in-one base, or over foundation. Light reflective particles give skin a lit-from-within finish and it's one of those products found in make-up artists' kits. It’s great value too – a whopping three times the size of many other brands.

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5. Chantecaille Poudre Delicate, £45 for 9g, Liberty

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Smooth and lightweight, this luxurious powder contains healing and hydrating Monoi de Tahiti butter, which adds a moisturising element for added softness and elasticity. Your skin will never look cakey or dry with this one. 

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6. Maybelline Matte Maker Mattifying Powder, £4 for 16g, amazon

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Packed with mattifying particles which absorb and dissolve oil, this lightweight powder leaves a soft, flawless and even finish on the skin, without it looking cakey or heavy - which can be rare in the cheaper end of the powder market. It blends seamlessly and leaves skin matte. 

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7. Pur Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup, £24 for 8g, amazon

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Pioneers of pressed mineral make-up, Pur avoids harsh chemical dyes, petroleum based oils, fragrances and fillers. This hardworking multi-tasker not only brightens, but it corrects and protects – improving skin tone and texture in just 8 weeks use. And it's available in 10 shades.

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8. Rimmel Clear Complexion Clarifying Powder, £4 for 16g, amazon

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For setting your foundation and controlling shine, this is a great buy. It also contains Rimmel's PureSkin complex which actively helps to minimize breakouts. Perfect for oily or combination skin. 

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9. MAC Prep & Prime Transparent Finishing Powder, £21 for 6.3g, John Lewis

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Don't be alarmed by the whiteness of this powder – it's a colourless finishing powder that suits all skintones. It reduces shine and also contains optical brighteners to minimize the look of fine lines and imperfections. You can set foundation with it, or wear it alone.

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10. Dr Hauschka Compact Powder, £21 for 9g, John Lewis

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Rose, witch hazel, black tea and silk combine to make this a nourishing, mattifying translucent powder that suits all skin tones – and unusually for a powder, it has a lovely floral smell.

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11. Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Powder Foundation, £45 for 9g, Space.NK

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This ultra-fine powder foundation can be used with a dry sponge for matte coverage or a damp one for an ultra-sheer look. Free from make-up nasties like talc, paraben and mineral oil, the light reflecting particles in this make skin look radiant. 

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Verdict

Bourjois Healthy Balance gives great coverage and a lovely natural glow, while Laura Mercier Mineral Finishing Powder does actually minimise the look of pores and help control oil production. But for sheer longevity in the business, you've got to hand it to Max Factor Creme Puff – 60 years and still going strong.

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