Splurge or Save: Brightening Powder

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During the chilly months, my skin looks a little bit dull and lifeless.  I exfoliate, I moisturize and yet, I cannot fully recover from the paleness of winter.  And so, I turn to brightening and correcting powder.

Splurge.  A few years ago, a friend gave me a Guerlain Meteorites Voyage Compact ($170), the original brightening powder.  The mix of colors and minerals in the powder give the skin radiance and life.  Apply it over foundation and you go from matte and dry to vibrant and bright.  It’s kind of miraculous.

Also, if you have combination skin, this powder and it’s pearly counterpart will remove even a hint of shine from your skin even in the sweltering August heat.

Save.  Obviously, Guerlain is not for those on a Hill Staffer budget.  I couldn’t believe when I went to replace the compact how much it cost.  So I went searching for a cheaper alternative.  After a few Google searches, I came upon Physician’s Formula Mineral Correcting Powder ($14).

The concept and the products are very, very similar.  Apply multi-colored powder over foundation and transform matte, lifeless skin into radiant, vibrant, supermodel skin.  And if you have a little acne or rosacea, the green in this powder will help tone that down.  It’s not a miracle cure, but it helps.

Verdict. $170 for face powder?  Will it clean my house and bake me cookies?  No?  Then, of course, I am going to choose the drugtore brand.  It doesn’t work quite as well, but it’s not 92-percent worse.  So if you need a little perking up, don’t pay too much for it.



  1. gingerr says:

    Pretty nice friend! Do you think she got it as a gift/promotion?

    I've come to appreciate that application is key to great looking make-up. A better brush could well catapult drug-store make-up into a better looking outcome.

    November 30, -0001/Reply
  2. Nina says:

    The brush makes a big difference with stuff like this, I think. I doubt you used it Belle, but the tiny flat brush pictured with the Physicians Formula product would probably lead to weird coverage. With a nice quality kabuki brush and a little skill I think the difference between the products would be even further minimized.

    November 8, 2012/Reply
  3. Carol says:

    So do you put this powder on before bronzer? after bronzer? instead of bronzer?

    November 8, 2012/Reply
  4. Beth says:

    For what it's worth, you can buy the refills for the compact separately. Nordstrom has them for $55. Still not cheap, but definitely better than $170.

    November 8, 2012/Reply
  5. Amy says:

    I've got the Guerlain Meteorites in the ball version. I love the effect, but the balls go flying everytime I swirl my brush over them (even when I make cone with my hand around the container!) I once bought the Wet n' Wild Mega Glow Illuminating Powder in a pinch while traveling, and it wasn't bad for $3. It didn't have the correctional properties of the Guerlain, but the subtle shimmer was nice. Small investment if you just want to try an illuminating powder with out the cash outlay.

    November 8, 2012/Reply
  6. DG says:


    Have you checked out the Guerlain illuminating and mattifying pressed powder at Sephora? It's $56.. I'm thinking of trying it out with the VIB 20% discount this week.

    Does Guerlain makeup clog pores? Link below

    November 8, 2012/Reply
  7. Belle says:

    Carol: I don't wear bronzer in the winter months.

    November 8, 2012/Reply
  8. Shelley says:

    Is it too dry for combo/dry skin in the winter?

    November 9, 2012/Reply
  9. stella says:

    I use physician's formula stuff daily. Great for covering up red spots, or under eye darkness. I also like that it's milky soft, but won't make my skin too oily. And unlike some drugstore powders, it's not chalky land won't dry out my skin. When I have a bad breakout, I apply this with a small brush over problem spots and it makes them disappear.

    downsides – re-application every 6 hours or so.
    color options – the palest option is too pale for me, but the next closest shade option is too dark.

    You should also checkout the highlighting creme by PF. That's definitely more of a brightening tool, also great.

    Also, I don't use this for “brightening.” I use it for evening my skin tone.

    November 9, 2012/Reply