Even dry skins need a good setting powder! To sum up, I have a dry/dehydrated skin, with a fine grain and barely visible pores on the nose aisles. My skin has a tendency to look dull and feel like dry paper if dehydrated and not enough nourished. No breakout, no pimple. Never any natural oil on my face, not even on my nose. Why do I need powder then? After spraying my face with water and before applying my day cream, I apply pure vegetal oil - avocado or jojoba - to nourish it. Although it's efficient, it has the bad side effect to look shiny even after I apply my BB cream. Thus the powder need. I generally only use powder on nose, nose aisles and forehead (my cheeks drink the vegetal oil so greedily that the shiny aspect rapidly disappear). But talc and sometimes kaolin foundable in most powders are a plague for a dry skin - I can stand it once in a while but certainly not everyday. Also it is uneasy for me to find a good color match. Still needing powder, my choice first went to the MAC Prep + Prime finishing powder a couple of years ago because it's totally transparent and doesn't contain talc. Few time ago, I decided to give a try to its cheap concurrent the elf Studio High Definition Powder out of pure curiosity. MAC Prep + Prime contains 9g and retails for 19€ at MAC website. Ingredients: Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Silica, Mica, Zinc Stearate, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol. Elf HD Powder contains 0,28oz (8g), comes with a powder puff and retails for 6,80€ at elf website. Ingredients: Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Silica. Despite elf's jar being larger, you get a bit less quantity of product. Now although both powder promise and provide the same thing (colorless matte effect), they look and feel different on my skin. Mac powder contains mica and has a slight shine. Elf's HD powder does not contain mica and looks completely matte. Both feels smooth when you rub some product between your fingers yet, elf feels even smoother.
Appearance. - MAC Prep+Prime mattify well and the satin finish is really great. Without looking like a disco ball in the least, it brings something lively and fresh I love a lot. - Elf HD Powder makes my skin silky and totally flawless reducing the pores on my nose aisles to... zero. I love how unreal my skin look but the effect can be a bit dull. I generally add shimmer on the top of my cheeks and temples to bring light. Formula. - I have used Mac powder during an extended time but have never been able to use it everyday. I couldn't tolerate a daily use: it dries out my skin like crazy. At the end of the day with this powder, my skin tends to feel like paper, showing signs of visible de-hydration. It's dry to the touch, uncomfortable, lifeless and dull looking. I suspect corn starch to be the responsible element: my sister recently formulated a corn stash based finishing powder for me and it is also very drying. Although I will always reach for natural/vegetal ingredients, this one does not seem to do any good to my skin. - Recently I've worn elf HD powder for one full week straight and at the end of the day, it still felt comfortable (even my cheeks!) and my make up still looked perfect before evening clean up. I'm not too hot on using nylon on my face (it's just a personal matter if I find that weird!) but my skin seems to tolerate it well. Conclusion. Definitely, elf wins the match to me and it doesn't hurt that it is also the third of MAC's price. I really didn't expect to love it the way I do and truth to be told, I was afraid it would be even more drying than MAC Prep + Prime. Trying prove me wrong. Elf really propose here a keeper at bargain price. It doesn't mean that MAC Prep + Prime powder is bad. I genuinely think it does a really great job and I love the soft finish mica gives, but I wouldn't recommend it at all to dry skins. Normal and combination skins might find it better than I do.