I never skimp on setting powders. My skin is acne-prone so I'm willing to pay a little more for something that is less likely to cause breakouts. I usually avoid buying drugstore powders because I've had some bad experiences with them in the past. However, I have to make an exception for this one. Not only does it get along so well with my skin, it also keeps oil at bay. And the best part? It's dirt cheap! :)
The powder doesn't come in the most desirable packaging, unfortunately. It's a basic round pan with a clear lid top that has no secure locking mechanism of any kind. Horror, I know. And yes, it does and will come off if you try to toss it in your makeup bag. Definitely not travel-friendly. The compact (can I really call it a compact?) also feels very fragile like it's going to crack any second if you drop it. But guess what, I'm not going to complain because this powder really does wonders at keeping my skin matte and for the price? Go ahead and crack, I'll just get a new one!
The powder comes in 6 different shades including Transparent but I purchased mine in 020 Nude Beige. Initially, I was going to buy Transparent but then I thought I'd pick something with a little bit more coverage. 020 Nude Beige blends in with my NC30 skin perfectly and it does provide minimal coverage, meaning it will not cover any major blemishes or redness. This powder is meant to be just a setting powder to keep your skin matte. If you are looking for something with better coverage, you will have better luck with foundation powders.
The texture isn't silky smooth but it's soft enough and it blends nicely without being powdery or chalky. It has a mild fragrance smell but isn't really noticeable. I like to use MAC 182 Buffer brush to apply but I think any powder brush will do the job just fine. You can use a sponge or powder puff as well to achieve an even higher mattifying effect especially if your skin is oily to very oily. My skin is combination so I tend to layer more just on the T-zone and only brush lightly on the rest of the face. Another good thing is this powder layers well without looking cakey or feeling heavy. In fact, it feels very comfortable on the skin and it does seem to absorb oil amazingly well considering how “light” it is. However, for people with dry skin, this powder may not be suitable for you since it tends to emphasize and cling onto dry patches and it could also dry out your skin even more.
Onto the real test, whether it really does keep my skin matte. Well, I'm not gonna lie. My face doesn't stay completely matte throughout the day that's for sure but it does keep my face matte a lot longer than most of the other powders I have (even the high-end ones). With Stay Matte, I only have to blot slightly maybe once in the late afternoon and that's about it. It really did impress me and definitely exceeded my expectation in terms of keeping my face shine-free for a long period of time. As I mentioned above, this powder has sheer coverage so it's not going to cover up any imperfections nor will it make the appearance of large pores any smaller. To achieve such results, you need to use Stay Matte in combination with a makeup base/primer and a good concealer/foundation.
Another thing about this powder to keep in mind is that, it does contain a bunch of unfavorable ingredients such as Talcum, silicone derivatives, paraben, BHT, and mineral oil. So be cautious if you are sensitive to any of them. As great as it is, I try to limit the usage to less than a few times a month, not because it causes me breakouts which it doesn't, but because I'm really unsure whether any of these ingredients will harm my skin long term. So, a little bit of extra information there for your consideration. :)
Overall, Stay Matte performs really well in keeping my skin oil-free. And for those who do not like to touch up makeup, this powder may prove to be handy. The packaging isn't the most ideal but for the price, you can't really complain. :)
NOTE: The new Stay Matte has a makeover! Not that it's any improvement on the lid-locking system, just the pan that is different. It has a black pan now, instead of nude.