I feel like this is one of those age old makeup debates that never seems to have a definitive answer because everyone has a differing opinion. I'm not sure that I have all the answers either, but I'm going to share my thoughts with you!
Hooray for all the things we already know! Besides the obvious differences, loose powder is a great item to have and use at home. It's nearly impossible to carry in a purse, and also requires a powder brush which takes up more room if you're already worried about space in your bag. For portability, pressed powder is a much better choice. Even it's container is compact and the puff used to apply it stores inside. As an added bonus, most compacts have mirrors which can save extra space.
Loose powder is more finely milled than pressed powder, which can give it the appearance of lighter coverage. However, it can also be packed on to provide coverage as thick (if not thicker) than pressed powder if desired. Most loose powders contain talc, making them ideal for oily skin that can help offset even the most stubborn shine. These powders usually come in a wider variety of shades, making it easier to find an exact match. And if your skin tone is not available, it's easy to pry the tops out and mix shades to create your perfect custom color.
If you're looking for a matte finish, pressed powder is definitely the way to go. However, it tends to deposit a lot of powder on the face and can be a telltale sign that you're wearing makeup. If you'd like a lighter application, you can always use a powder brush to apply it but that does minimize the space saving aspect of the compact if you are taking it on the go. An advantage to the heavier application of pressed powder is that it can be worn alone, where as loose powder looks best over tinted moisturizer or foundation.
Personally, I prefer to use a tinted moisturizer to even out my skin tone and top it with loose powder. I like the lighter, more natural coverage it provides. I also feel like even though it helps control oil, it still leaves me with a slightly dewy look which I'm a fan of. However, I do have a pressed powder compact in my purse for touch ups to my T-Zone.
I think both powders have their place and this comes down to personal preference more than one being better than the other.
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What are your thoughts? Pressed? Loose? Or both?