Difference Between Pressed Powder and Loose Powder
By Claire Miles - February 20, 2022

Makeup can be a pretty complex topic. There are so many products that seem to have the same purpose but look completely different… How are we supposed to decide between pressed powder and loose powder when picking a new face powder? Should we make this decision based only on our preferences or does our skin type matter?

Table Summary

Pressed PowderLoose Powder
Sets liquid foundation/concealerSets liquid foundation/ concealer
Good for dry skin types because it contains more oils than loose powderGood for oily skin types because it’s so fine it contains fewer oils
hand holding compact powder

Getty Images / Moment / Irina Marwan


Providing a more precise coverage, pressed powder can be used as foundation or as a setting powder – so that the makeup lasts longer and doesn’t move around. This is the best option for dry skin types as pressed powders tend to have more oils than loose powders.

Applied with a brush or a puff, loose powder is also used as a setting powder to keep makeup from rubbing off your skin. It is a great product if you are trying to define contour lines or achieve a luminous finish with some light coverage. Loose powder is a lot finer than pressed powder, which makes it great for oily skin types.

Pressed Powder VS Loose Powder

The main difference between pressed and loose powder is how these products are packaged. While pressed powder is pressed into a compact, loose powder is usually sold in jars. Typically, pressed powder is recommended for dry skin types because it has more oils, while loose powder is recommended for oily skin types since it has fewer oils. Another difference between them is that pressed powder can be used not only as a setting powder but also as foundation, while loose powder can only be used to set foundation.