Does A $5 Dupe Perform As Well Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder?

It's tempting to replace my go-to powder with the much-less-expensive Coastal Scents Silica Powder spheres, but is it really comparable?

In my very first xoVain article, I talked about five of my favorite products. One of those was Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder, which not only sets makeup for hours but creates this soft and gorgeous "lit from within" effect.

I don't wear it EVERY single day, but it's one that I apply whenever I go full-face and want to make sure my makeup lasts from morning to night. I'd say that's ranges from three to five times a week. A little goes a long way and it WORKS--really, really well.

Like a number of amazing products, though, it isn't exactly cheap. In fact, at $34 for .17 ounces, it's one of those products that I have to really prepare myself for both mentally and financially. (Does anyone else have a hard time spending more than $30 on any given item?)

So when I heard about a dupe by Coastal Scents--their Silica Powder Spheres--my interest was naturally piqued, especially since I could get one ounce of what was presumably the same exact product for a mere $4.95.

I mean, HELLO. That's nearly six times the product for a price tag that's approximately six times less expensive! How could I say no?

Not one to easily part with a staple in my beauty lineup, I decided to compare the two for about three weeks before giving MUFE the boot. I alternated using either one and discovered some things that may surprise you.

I'll get to those in a moment. First, let's compare the basics.


Coastal Scents Silica Powder Spheres: $4.95 for 1 oz.

Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder: $34 for .17 oz.

If it's just money we're talking about, obviously Coastal Scents is the no-brainer winner here. That's not all we're talking about, though.


To the naked eye, there really isn't much of a difference between the two when it comes to actual product appearances. They're both a very fine, powdery product.

I found that the MUFE powder has a little more weight to it, which I think allowed it to apply more evenly. The Coastal Scents gave off a bit of a cold sensation while being applied. (I'm not sure why that is.)

Either way, both are very fine and, ultimately, very light. They're nearly identical.

Setting Power

This was one of my primary concerns for both products. After all, even if you're only spending $5 on a product, if it doesn't do what it says it's supposed to, that's still $5 down the drain.

Fortunately, they both worked very well in terms of staying power and preserved my makeup through the day and/or night. In fact, I really couldn't tell a difference between the two when it came to this factor.

Both look pretty good, no? You can't even tell it's two different products.

When I realized that the Coastal Scents lasted JUST as long as the MUFE powder--and created that smooth and silky finished I loved--I felt like my decision had already been made.

And then… I had my picture taken.

Flashback Test

Here's where things get interesting. One of the biggest concerns with any brand of finishing powder is camera flashback. It's real. And it can make you look like you have cocaine all over your face if you aren't careful.

On a fateful evening at a bar, while wearing the Coastal Scents Silica Spheres Powder, I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in over a year. Naturally, I decided to document the moment by having someone take our picture. Because we were in a dark bar, a flash was used.

I was horrified at the image I saw! Just above my left brow was a giant, white splotchy spot. And my heart sank, for I knew the culprit was my cheap dupe.

I recreated a similar situation simply by drawing my blinds and then taking a photograph of myself with an on-camera flash. This below image was taken the EXACT same day/time that I took the above three images of my face wearing both products.

Womp womp. Party over.

I know what you may be thinking. And for a second there, I thought the same thing: maybe it was the two different types of brush I used.

The MUFE-designated brush was slightly thicker and more rounded, while the CS-designated brush was flatter and not quite as full. THEN I remembered my CS-designated brush (for this project) was actually the brush I'd been using for my MUFE powder over the past year. I've never had a problem with MUFE powder flashback, so I knew the brush wasn't the issue.

The Final Verdict

As someone who does have my picture taken a lot, I think you'll probably guess what my ultimate decision was: MUFE wins in this Battle of The Finishing Powders, even with a price tag that's way higher.

And you know, I don't really even mind the price tag when I really think about it. I've had the same .17-oz product for many months now and I absolutely love the effect and finish. That $34 is definitely well spent.

All that said, I will put my Silica Powder Spheres to use on days where I know I'm not going to have my photograph taken. I'm not one to waste product.

As for anyone else who's trying to make a similar decision, consider how often you have your photograph taken, especially with flash, before making the switch. If that's not very often, Coastal Scents Silica Powder Spheres may very well be the ideal product for you.