We originally reviewed CoverGirl's Clean Pressed Powder Normal Skin years ago and it's since gone through several reformulations, the most recent of which was in early 2016. One line from our previous review remains so relevant that we're repeating it in this update: This pressed powder for normal skin is the single most fragrant drugstore pressed powder that our team has ever encountered.
This affordable pressed powder comes in a round compact with a mirror and round pad for application. It's aptly marketed for those with normal skin with its mix of mattifying ingredients (talc, kaolin, oat flour) and emollients (mineral oil, dimethicone). True to claims, this powder controls shine sufficiently, but only if you have a light to moderate amount of gleam. Those with oily skin are likely to find this helps very little and those with dry skin will likely find it to be too drying.
There are 12 shades available at the time of this review, with shades appropriate for fair to medium skin tones.
On a positive note, several irritating ingredients such as eucalyptus, clove oil, and camphor have been eliminated, which is a step in the right direction. As the old adage goes, though, it seems CoverGirl took one step forward, and two steps back.
Typically when fragrance is in a product, if it's not in the upper half of the ingredient list, it's not as big of a deal. That's where it lands in this list, but, the scent is overwhelming. When we spoke with CoverGirl about removing the aforementioned irritants but keeping the fragrance, we were told "while it still has the Noxzema fragrance, those oils are no longer included." If you're familiar with the classic Noxzema scent, the revised powder's scent is identical. See More Info for details on how fragrance (artificial or synthetic) isn't best for skin.
If you're like us, you had a chuckle at the claim that this powder "lets skin breathe". Skin doesn't breathe and this product has nothing to do with breathing either (unless you count coughing from inhaling the overwhelming scent…).
The result of this apparent progress and spinning of the wheels is that this version of Clean Pressed Powder Normal Skin earns a resounding "no" from us. Check out any of these top-rated powders instead.
Irritation from High Amounts of Fragrance: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can impair the production of healthy collagen, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to look and act healthy. Fragrance free is the best way to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008; American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see or feel the effects on your skin for your skin to be suffering damage, and that damage may not become apparent for a long time, sometimes not for years (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012; Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Strengths: Inexpensive and widely available; a hugely improved selection of foundations, several with reliable sunscreen; good concealers; enviable pressed powders; some fantastic Lash Blast mascaras; mostly great eyelining options; a vast selection of lip color options, from the long-wearing Outlast to sheer lip glosses to the wholly impressive Lip Perfection lipstick; several great options in the Queen Collection.
Weaknesses: The older foundations are seriously lacking; the newer Advanced Radiance foundation has great texture but disappointing SPF rating; powder blush and eyeshadows; terrible makeup brushes; all of the "Clean" products contain irritating ingredients.
Since 1961, CoverGirl has been slowly building a portfolio of cosmetics that today is about as all-encompassing as a makeup line can be. Originating from the same "medicated" ingredients found in Noxzema Skin Cream (which was never medicated in the least, but seriously irritating for skin), the debut products are still available, albeit with slight modifications. The good news is that for the past several years CoverGirl has consistently updated their line with some very impressive products, especially their foundations, concealers, and vastly improved pressed powders. They also offer some excellent eye and lip pencils, lipsticks and lip gloss, and one of the all-time best long-wearing lip paints, Outlast.
What's puzzling is that although many of CoverGirl's latest products are progressive, they tend to hang on to the lackluster-to-poor options, including abysmal powder blush and eyeshadows and their long-standing, very irritating Clean Makeup. These items may be part of CoverGirl's humble beginnings, but you certainly don't see parent company Proctor & Gamble adding eucalyptus oil and menthol to their Olay products or to products of any of the other cosmetics companies they own. If those ingredients were so important, why not use them everywhere? Needless to say, the great products outnumber the disappointments, and the prices make it easy for those on a budget to be beautiful and enjoy some state-of-the-art products, provided they shop wisely.
CoverGirl's Web site is extremely easy to navigate, and presents a wealth of product information, along with practical (if somewhat cutesy) tips and tricks for successful makeup application and for finding the shades that work best for you. CoverGirl's consumer relations department is consistently helpful if you have any questions or concerns. For example, if one of your favorite items was discontinued, you might want to know what replaced it, and they will let you know. Such service and customer concern is yet another powerful reason to believe CoverGirl really has its (class) act together.
For more information about CoverGirl, owned by Coty, call (800) 426-8374 or visit the Web site at www.covergirl.com.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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