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I love wearing make-up, and it's a rare occasion that you'll see me leave the house without wearing at least my mascara - and that will usually mean I'm feeling poorly. Over the years I have built up a number of tried-and-tested favourites in virtually all categories of cosmetics - eyeliner, mascara, lipgloss, foundation, eyeshadows, and so on. I currently have two favourites in the pressed powder category. One is Barbara Daly for Tesco's 'ultra-light pressed powder' in 'fair' - the subject of one of my earlier reviews. Another, which I re-discovered recently after tidying up my dressing-table drawer, is Estee Lauder's AeroMatte Ultralucent Pressed Powder, which I have in the shade 'Transparent'. It's obviously been lurking in there for a little while (the packaging is different now), so out it came, ready, willing and able to add its premiere perfection to my skin. And I love it!
I bought it some time ago when I was on a shopping trip with my mum, who is a frequent visitor to the Estee Lauder counter. I was tempted by this specific powder after seeing it highly recommended in one of my favourite glossy magazines. It became obvious that I'd had it for a while, because when I was researching it online today, I saw that the packaging has now changed. My compact is square and quite heavy, and it now comes in a round compact, with a mirrored lid and a small powder puff. The packaging is still an elegant dark blue, with the golden Estee Lauder logo in the centre of the top.
The shades available are: Transparent, Light Medium Cool, Medium Cool, Medium Warm and Light Medium Warm. The powder is suitable for both normal/combination and dry skins. My skin is very dry, so I can't comment on whether any natural oiliness might creep through - although a reviewer on Boots' product page said she had found this to be so. This product is oil-free, non-acnegenic, and is dermatologically tested. The product weights 4oz/13g, is good for 24 months after opening, and the packaging is recyclable.
Right, now on to the good stuff! This gorgeous face powder is a premium product, as you would expect from the respected Estee Lauder cosmetics brand. It is very finely milled, so it never looks obvious that you're wearing it - and this is just what I like. It gives a soft, sheer 'veil' of cover to your skin, and provides a light matte finish. Although I have a fairly good complexion, a few dark age spots are beginning to make themselves known, as are more than a few wrinkles. I love using Max Factor's Ageless Elixir Foundation (the subject of a separate review), but on the days when I don't wish to wear - or don't have the time to apply - my foundation, I will use a quick sweep of powder instead. The look I want on these occasions is a soft, matte finish, which is also very sheer - and which will leave my skin looking as flawless as possible. I also don't want to feel the product on my skin, but I want it to last well during the day.
And for those those occasions I am delighted with the Estee Lauder powder. The product page on Boots' website gives the following description: 'AeroMatte is so soft and air-light sheer, all you see is beautiful skin. AeroPowder Technology creates an ultra-fine veil of powder that lets your skin's natural translucency peek through. Tiny imperfections seem airbrushed away. For a flawless finish that's perfectly natural.' I think this is an excellent description of this lovely pressed powder. It really does give a soft, sheer look to your skin, with a light, matte finish. The texture of the powder is lovely. I have very dry skin, and have never felt any discomfort or dryness while wearing this product. If you have oily skin, you may find that you need to reapply after a few hours.
I tend to use the little powder puff supplied only in order to prime my eyelids ready for eyeshadow, or if I want to apply a little top-up during the day when I'm out and about. Usually, I apply the powder using a powder brush or my kabuki brush - which I swirl around the powder to take up some product, and then gently sweep in a circular motion onto my face. It's easily done, beautifully quick, and delivers just what I want.
Estee Lauder's own website describes this product as having 'Exclusive Aero-Powder Technology', which 'creates an ultra-fine veil of powder. Lets your skin's natural translucency peek through. Tiny imperfections seem airbrushed away'. I love the fact that it really does give a flawless, natural finish.
I have a fair (but warm) complexion, with freckles, possibly courtesy of Celtic ancestry on both sides of the family. So I always opt for the lightest shade of powder, and in the case of this product, 'Transparent' did not let me down. I find that it perfectly suits my skin tone, and leaves my skin looking soft and smooth (even softer and more smooth than usual, she said modestly!).
I like both my foundation and my powder to help my face look as perfect as possible, while appearing as if I'm wearing virtually no make-up at all. I've found my ideal foundation, and now I have two gorgeous pressed powder compacts to choose from. I still love my budget Barbara Daly for Tesco powder, but I also love the very high quality of Estee Lauder's AeroMatte Ultralucent Pressed Powder.
When I first bought my Estee Lauder powder, I was surprised by how warm the shade 'Transparent' looked. I thought it might be too dark for my complexion, but my worries were soon allayed. It isn't completely translucent, but has a hint of warmth. Comparing my two favourite powders, I find that they are virtually the same shade. Can I even tell the difference between the two? Only just, and that's after some very careful scrutiny this afternoon by both myself and my husband. For the purposes of this review, I have worn the Estee Lauder powder on one side of my face, and the Barbara Daly on the other. My husband can't tell the difference, while I can see that the Estee Lauder gives just a touch more warmth.
I won't need to buy any pressed powder for some considerable time now, because I'm nicely stocked up - I bought three Barbara Daly compacts earlier this year, and now I have also re-discovered this little treasure. So, would I buy the Estee Lauder powder again, for £25, when I can get the same effect from my beloved Barbara Daly for £5.75? Probably not - but only because I happen to have found the ideal budget substitute. The price is the only reason I'm marking this down to four stars. Estee Lauder's AeroMatte Ultralucent Pressed Powder is a fabulous product, but it is expensive.
There are some premium cosmetics/skincare products that I cannot find a substitute for - for example, my Estee Lauder eyeliner, Lancome's L'Extreme Waterproof Mascara, and Lancome's Bifacil Lotion for removing said waterproof mascara (although I will always check online for a good deal first!). However, over the years I have happened upon some wonderful budget products which do as good as, or almost as good as, a job as their more expensive sisters. And I believe that to be the case after the Estee Lauder v Barbara Daly 'competition' that took place in my sitting-room this afternoon.
Shopping around today, the price I found for Estee Lauder's AeroMatte Ultralucent Pressed Powder is £25 at Boots, Estee Lauder itself, and also at the usual department stores such as Debenhams and House of Fraser. There are various delivery options available, for example: Boots will deliver free to your local store if you spend over £20; Estee Lauder will include a couple of deluxe samples with your order; and Debenhams offer free delivery if you're a member of their Beauty Club. A couple of shades can be found slightly more cheaply on eBay.
I'm so glad that I discovered this little treasure hidden away. I still love my Barbara Daly powder, and I don't think you can beat it for excellent value. However, the Estee Lauder powder, while being 'Translucent' and 'Transparent' does give an ever-so-slightly warmer look to my complexion, which makes it perfect for the summer months. Four stars.
(This review is also on Ciao, under the same user name.)