Judy just wants to know…Are all pressed powder makeup products the same or are some brands worth spending more money on?
The Right Brain replies:
While we stress the importance of looking at ingredients to understand the quality of a product, there are situations where the ingredients don’t tell the full story. Sometimes HOW the ingredients are put together can be tremendously important to the quality of the finished product. You don’t see this in simple mixtures, like shampoos, but you do see it on more complex products like pressed powders. Case in point: a recent article in Cosmetics & Toiletries revealed that the quality of a powder cosmetic products depends in part on how the powders are pulverized.
The powders used in cosmetics can form agglomerates, or clumps. These clumps prevent the powder from having a smooth application. To avoid these clumps powders are processed to break them into tiny particles. This is commonly done using a piece of equipment called a “Hammer Mill” which basically slams metal hammers against the powder’s surface to break the pieces apart. Most manufacturers used to this type of equipment.
However a more advanced process, known as “Jet Milling,” can break the particles into even smaller sizes and make them more spherical.
Not surprisingly Jet Mills cost more, and not as readily available, as Hammer Mills. That means if a company wants to make a higher quality powder they either have to invest in more expensive equipment or they have to use a contract manufacturer which owns this specialized grinder. In either case the use of jet milling to create a softer feeling product results in an increased price. Therefore it’s unlikely you’ll see this used in bargain products.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
While in many (most?) cases it’s not worth spending more on expensive products, there are some exceptions. If you value elegant feel characteristics you may want to spend more on your makeup to ensure you’re getting a jet milled product. You can do a quick test to see if you like the feel of a powder by running your finger over its surface.