Wednesday, 26 May 2010

HD Powder Showdown: ELF vs Makeup Forever

Disclosure: I purchased the Makeup Forever HD powder myself, and the ELF powder was a PR sample.

Makeup products bearing the High Definition moniker have become more and more common in the last year or so, supposedly because of the need for products which help the skin to look flawless and natural even through high definition cameras.  For normal consumers, this doesn't apply quite so much - our skin isn't filmed and broadcast on the big or small screens, we have significantly less close ups - so HD products are becoming more synonymous with ultra natural, ultra flawless finishes.

Both ELF and Makeup Forever make HD powders, which are transparent, fine powders designed to set foundation and give a soft focus finish.  The major difference between the two is the price point - the ELF powder retails for £6, and the Makeup Forever powder costs £22.50.  The question is, does the Makeup Forever product offer enough more to justify the price difference?


Both powders are very simple in formula, with similar ingredients.  The Makeup Forever powder is 100% silica powder, and the ELF powder lists its ingredients as Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer and silica.  So, not much difference between the two there.


In my opinion, this is where the big differences lie.  The Makeup Forever powder is contained within a small glass pot.  The powder sits beneath a sifter with a couple of holes in it, and the small diameter of the pot makes it slightly difficult to swirl a powder brush in it.  It's pretty easy to dispense powder though; turning the pot upside down with the lid on allows a small amount of powder to flow through the sifter, which is plenty to cover the whole face.  This makes it slightly more portable than the ELF, as the amount of powder dispensed is smaller.

The ELF powder comes in a larger, squared off plastic pot, which is less weighty than the MUFE offering.  It's also got a much wider opening, which makes it easy to dip or swirl a powder brush as necessary.  There are also more holes in the sifter, which conversely makes it quite hard to get powder out of the pot without making a big mess; turning the pot upside down causes a very large amount of powder to fall through.  Not only does this make it harder to control how much powder ends up on the brush, but it also causes powder to fall onto the shoulders of the pot - which is very messy indeed.

Neither powder is particularly portable once the sticker is removed from the sifter - a prolonged period upside down will result in lots of powder being dispensed.  However, the MUFE is just a little bit too small in diameter, so the ELF powder wins this round.


As you might guess, with such similar formulations, both powders perform to the same standard.  I've used both for a good few months now, and am equally pleased with both products.  Applied over foundation, the powders provide a pretty semi-matte finish, and do indeed make the skin look flawlessly smooth.  They both last very well, with shiny nose only occurring after about 8 hours, which is pretty good in my estimation.  The best thing, for me, is the silkiness of the powders, which really translates across onto the skin - the finish is very smooth, and very silky.  So long as you don't overapply, you don't get any ashy or whitish tone either.  No winner for this category.


To all intents and purposes, I think these powders are pretty much the same.  The ELF has the edge in terms of the packaging, provided you don't want to carry it around with you, and is definitely better value for money than the more expensive MUFE version.  I will definitely be repurchasing the ELF product in the future - silica powders have now become my favourite foundation setting loose powder, and the ELF product represents the best value for money.

If you'd like to try either product, you can get the Makeup Forever HD powder from the Guru Makeup Emporium in the UK for £22.50, and the ELF HD powder from ELF's website for £6.


  1. I was curious how the ELF compared. I've got the ELF one and haven't really used it!! Now I may finally dig it out and see how I like it! Thanks!

  2. Thanks for this, I found it really interesting. Always been slightly curious about HD powder and didn't want to spend out a lot to find out how they compared.

    May have to give one a whirl.

  3. Great review! I'm a fan of the ELF HD powder but I haven't tried the mufe version. Good to see a comparison.

  4. I love these showdown posts! I honestly don't see why anyone would pay that much for the MUFE if the ELF is just as good x

  5. I guess the only reason to go for the MUFE would be because it's slightly more portable. Not worth it for the price to my mind though!

    Glad this has been a helpful post! :)

  6. Thanks for this comparison post! I actually just saw the ELF powder on someone's blog today for the first time, and wondered if it was just straight silica powder.

  7. I would never buy the MUFE powder knowing that it's plain silica, you can buy that for under $4 for an ounce from a wholesaler. At least the ELF one has another ingredient added! I also think i would go mad not being able to swirl my brish in the powder pot!

  8. I use the ELF HD powder and i've found that it makes me look at least 3 shades darker whenever I take a photo with flash!

    I may try the Makeup Forever one this time round. Great review!

  9. Keep the sticker on and poke maybe two or three holes in it. That gives you a much more manageable flow of powder through the sifter!

  10. ive had the ELF for a while and found some of the powder is 'beading',forming little balls of powder, which are a pain!
    have you had that happen to yours?

  11. Oh no, sorry to hear that! No, mine is still fine and powdery. Maybe some moisture got inside? You could try leaving it open in some sunlight, see if it dries out at all, maybe?

  12. Thanks for the review :)
    I used two of your pictures on my blog. I linked them to this post and gave you full credit.

  13. Cool - Im gonna spend £6 rather than £22 :) who wouldnt!?


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