Pressed face powder is a cosmetic that individuals apply to deal with excess oil on the skin of the face. It comes in individual compacts or palettes and is available through most cosmetic departments, stores and websites. The recommended application method is via a makeup buff, but some people use other methods depending on the effect they want. People regularly confuse the product with pressed face foundation, which has a different purpose.
Manufacturers' formulas for pressed face powder vary and thus are what provide different results for customers. All pressed powders for the face contain some absorbing agents such as talc. They also contain oils and ingredients such as glyceryl isostearate and methicone. Preservatives, which normally are members of the paraben family, also make the ingredient list. Pigments, emollients, antioxidants, fragrances and synthetic or natural sunscreen agents can be part of a pressed face powder formula, as well.
Many people do not believe that all of the ingredients in a pressed face powder are safe. In particular, parabens are of concern because they mimic natural estrogen; elevated estrogen levels are associated with particular types of cancer. Studies have not shown conclusive evidence that the use of parabens increases cancer risk, however, so major agencies such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not believe they are a concern in a pressed face powder or other cosmetic. For people who want to play it safe, organic pressed face powders are available that are free of chemicals, dyes, fragrances and preservatives.
A mistake people make with pressed face powder is confusing it with pressed powder foundation. Pressed powder foundation is more for smoothing skin tone and is a heavier product used as a makeup base after moisturizing. A pressed face powder, by comparison, is a very light product that goes on top of makeup, or which is used by itself when no makeup is worn. It is designed to absorb the oil the skin produces, thereby controlling shine and keeping a natural- and clean-looking matte finish to the skin. The product enables the wearer to touch up their look very quickly, so individuals carry a pressed face powder compact or pressed face powder sheets with them while on the go.
Even though a pressed face powder is designed to be a light, finishing touch to an entire makeup job, the oils and other binding ingredients in these products mean that the powder can look cakey, settling into fine lines and wrinkles if not properly applied. It is important to pick a version that is labeled as noncomedogenic, which means the powder is formulated so it won't aggravate or cause acne. The powder should let the skin breathe even as it provides a base for a person's other makeup. If a person has a good complexion with an even skin tone already, it is better for the skin to use the powder by itself instead of adding foundation, as fewer products lessen the risk of irritation.