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I was a bit confused when I came to review this product, because I had bought it to use as a loose powder, whereas it's actually advertised as being a complete 4-in-1 foundation offering foundation, powder, concealer and sunscreen. I didn't realise this when I bought it, and to be honest there's no way I'd ever rely on this as anything other than loose powder. However, used as such, it does give quite good results.
The reasoning behind my purchase was that I wanted to try a loose powder instead of my usual pressed powder. This is because I find that sometimes pressed powder can drag my foundation and provide a bit of an unnatural finish, drawing attention to any dry patches. This one currently costs £4.99 from Boots, however I was sold on the fact it had a built in brush, as this would mean I would be able to carry it around in my handbag without having to carry a separate brush around with me at the same time.
The packaging looks quite simple and classy for a budget product. It's transparent so you can see how much of the powder is left, and the outside is plastic which makes it lightweight for carrying. The brush is built in to the tube, and this is covered by a plastic lid for hygiene reasons. Unfortunately, after a while of using this product, the lid cracked and broke (as did the lid for the liquid foundation in the same range, should anyone from Collection 2000 happen to be reading!). This meant I couldn't carry it around with me as the brush would have been exposed and I didn't really fancy applying powder to my face if it was likely to be contaminated with various bits of fluff from the bottom of my handbag.
Lid aside, the functionality of the product itself is pleasing, with the built in brush just allowing the right amount of powder to escape so that you can build up the application, rather than fighting with clouds of powder as I imagine would happen if I was using a traditional pot and brush. This makes it very easy to apply, and allows for a natural finish without any streaks or clinging to dry skin. I do suffer with dry skin in winter, and so it's important to me that powder doesn't cling to any dry patches and draw attention to them.
There are two shades to choose from, and I chose the Light/Medium instead of the Medium/Dark, for the obvious reason that I am quite pale and tend to suit lighter shades. The lack of choice could make it a little difficult for some people to match their skin, as it does seem quite limited. However, I wouldn't really say that the lighter version gave me much colour as such, it seemed almost translucent, and just gave my foundation a matte finish. This is why I find it odd that it's marketed as a foundation in itself, as for me it is neither strong enough in terms of texture or colour to give the desired effect without using other foundation products. There is also no way I would even try to use this as a concealer, as the dark circles under my eyes require good coverage and powder alone just doesn't do the trick.
The powder does give long lasting effects, although I noticed when I was using it in the warmer months I would have a slightly shiny forehead by the time I got home from work. I don't suffer with particularly oily skin, due to the dryness, so I should imagine if you had oily skin this might need topping up throughout the day. I only ever used to bother topping up on a night out (before the lid broke), as I'm not overly bothered what I look like in work. The product description on Boots claims that it gives a "light and luminous finish", but to be honest I would say it's more of a matte finish. However, this could be because I'm not using it as my main foundation, but instead am applying it on top of another product. It does make my skin feel more radiant than usual, and I think this could be because it's so fine, it doesn't settle into wrinkles or pores like some powders can.
I'm unsure how to rate this product, because as a loose powder I really like it, but as an all-in-one foundation solution this certainly isn't suitable for me. I think unless you have almost perfect skin, including no dark circles under the eyes, spots or wrinkles, then this would give your skin a nice boost without overdoing it, but for most people I think this would be ineffective as a main foundation. Add to that the issue with the packaging, which is one of the reasons I bought the product in the first place, I'm giving this product three stars.
(Review may also appear on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)