Monday, April 2, 2012

Erno Laszlo Controlling Face Powder (Loose) Review & Swatches

As I have mentioned in my other posts, I am no stranger to Erno Laszlo Skincare. It is the first luxury skincare line that I began using at the age of seventeen. I used it religiously for many years, but eventually strayed from the line. Recently I decided to revisit some of my old favorite products- among them the loose Controlling Face Powder in Translucent (Light). Erno Laszlo, having recently been sold to a new owner, is in the midst of designing new packaging, discontinuing some old products, creating new products, and relaunching the line that was at one time chiefly associated with Hollywood royalty the likes of Marilyn Monroe. 
Some of the Nordstrom store locations still have the loose Controlling Face Powder in stock, but online you will only find the Controlling Pressed Pressed Powder. I purchased mine in Translucent (Light) which is a barely-there neutral shade that I either wear on top of my Erno Laszlo Regular Normalizer Shake-It (reviewed here) or on top of whatever foundation or tinted moisturizer that I choose to wear. According to Erno Laszlo, Controlling Face Powder is a "Facial powder for normal to oily skin. Controlling Face Powder is a treatment powder that helps control oil all day long. It gives skin a polished, matte appearance." 
Back when I was seventeen I was reluctant to put anything like foundation on my skin, but this powder was considered part of the treatment line, and so I used it as such. It gave my skin such a beautifully polished appearance, or that flawless "Laszlo Look" in the vernacular of Laszlo devotees. 
If my early beauty routine had not been informed by the ordered specificity of the Laszlo regimen (read: regime- LOL, but there was a stringency to the order of things) I am not sure how I would approach the application of this loose powder, but every time I open this elegant faux Carrara marble jar I am transported back to the seventeen year old me. I was "taught" to apply the loose powder with a cotton ball and buff it into my skin until I reached a flawless level of blended perfection.
Today I still apply it with a cotton ball, but I leave all of the blending and buffing to either my Hakuhodo G527 (reviewed here) or my Hakuhodo G543 (reviewed here).
Unblended on my arm. Once blended it vanishes completely leaving only a  beautifully even complexion.
Laszlo's Controlling Face Powder has a refined light texture that is neither too drying, nor in the least bit cakey for my combination skin. It is very comfortable and long wearing, and since I'm not excessively oily in my T-Zone I don't require many touch-ups. Make no mistake, this formula is not for everyone- it is specifically formulated for normal to oily skin types. Beauties with dry complexions can receive the same lovely flawless finish with Laszlo's Duo-pHase Powder which is specifically formulated for extremely dry to slightly dry skin types. 
If you are opposed to using products that contain parabens- be sure to note that there are 5 of them in this powder.

Overall assessment: I am very happy with this product. It's pretty old school compared to powders such as MAKE UP FOR EVER's HD Microfinish Powder, but rest assured you will not see any of the horrifying bounce-back when the flash hits this Laszlo powder.

1 oz. $48.00
All stock images taken from Erno Laszlo. The remaining photographs are all mine.


  1. Ooooooh.


    No no no no no no no no no no no no no no.

    I wonder how long before I cave.

    1. I was actually going to email you to tell you that you might want to get your paws on one of these! I'm hoping that they aren't discontinuing the loose powder altogether- I'm hoping instead that the lack of online availability just means that this is just going to be repackaged (since the company seems to be getting quite a face lift)! If you can't locate it through one of your area stores- I think that they still have a few at the Nordstrom at the Glendale Galleria (818) 502-9222 (suburb of LA). I don't think that it will be hard to track down if you call the 800 number and have them track one. However, the pressed powder (which you may prefer) is still available online. I think that you will like this! Did your Chen Man Play It Proper Beauty Powder arrive yet?

  2. Yes, it arrived last night. I was a little surprised how close it is to Light Sunshine, but that could just be a surface trick. I do not consider Light Sunshine a blush. Also the Chen Man looked a tiny bit peach in hue, but when I examined it, it was late afternoon, and at the southwest sun may have been playing additional tricks on me. I will look again today, especially in comparison to Light Sunshine, which I love.

    As long as Play it Proper is not too warm, I am sure I will love it just as much as Light Sunshine.

    And thank you for all the contact info for the EL powder. I hope they don't do too much of a facelift. I like the current packaging.

    1. I'm glad it arrived. I am not really sure why they are calling it a blush in the Chen Man Collection-- it was repromoted from another collection where it was called a beauty powder--clearly it is a beauty powder just like Light Sunshine is. I think it's a ply to market more. That's odd that you detected some peach in Play It Proper-- mine is a decidedly cool pink with no peach. I hope that yours is too. I have lost considerable faith in MAC with respect to the consistency of quality- because they launch far too many collections that often include inferior products. While I think that this beauty powder is one of the highest quality things that I have purchased from them in years- I would not be alarmed if your powder wasn't exactly the same as mine. Let's just hope that yours is also peach-free!

      I agree! I love the El packaging-- it is part of the lineage of the company. I hope they don't stray too far.

    2. I looked at Play it Proper again, and it is definitely a warm pink, not at all a cool, blue-based pink like the swatches you put up! %@!^&*@# MAC. The surface of this beauty powder also feels stiff and scratchy, like the other one I have, not creamy like some other MAC products I own (e.g., their blushes).

      I have lost faith in MAC quality/consistency, too. I love some of their products, but I have had to return nearly every single eyeshadow quad I bought because of quality issues. The last one I bought was SO gorgeous (I think it was called Interior Life, all plums and blues and greys--GORG!), was utter crap. Totally unusable. The textures were chalky, stiff, and decidedly UNpigmented. It reminded me of what happened to Stila textures, where you now need to scrape your fingernail across the top of a pan to get any pigment onto the brush.

    3. Seriously?!!! How hard could it be to make the color and texture the same for MAC? My Play It Proper is soft and creamy, and blue-based. DId they add peach pigment and fiberglass to the batch that your product came from. Pitiful to have such a wild disparity in quality. I would definitely return it!

      I know just what you mean-- I bought the Interior Life Quad from the Daphne Guinness Collection- 3 of my shadows were okay, but one was chalky crap. It is such a gorgeous quad that I haven't had the heart to return it yet. I was going to give it another shot before dumping it. I actually have a return pile of several MAC Shadows (from LE collections)- their collections just come out with far greater frequency than they should-- so it is no wonder that the quality is often so poor. I read somewhere that the LE stuff is made at another location than the permanent range of products. That could certainly account for the lack of quality-- particularly if all they are trying to do is get it to the marketplace as quickly as possible.

      It's exactly the same thing that happened to Stila-- and the common denominator is that it is also owned by Estée Lauder. That company seems far more interested in the bottom line than in creating quality products. I'm pretty sure that this isn't what the woman herself would have wanted to see happen to the lines under her umbrella!

  3. Was the color with the worst pigment from the quad the darkest one? I could not believe how bad that was. Compared with, say, Typographic, a creamy, dense charcoal grey ... blech. MAC's matte2 formula is outstanding, so I have NO IDEA why they are phasing it out because the regular mattes are mostly crap, the lustre formula is too sheer and unpigmented, and the other formulas are a bit better quality, but I am no longer interested in frost or duochrome finishes. Even the satins are getting inconsistent in finish.

    Estee Lauder owns Stila now!?!? I had no idea, but that explains a lot. EL killed my beloved Prescriptives (which was started by Sylvie Chantecaille) from neglect and then reformulated products so the colors changed. My absolute favorite eyeshadow of all time, Px Mushroom, is no longer the same color it used to be and it breaks my heart.

    How sad that the Estee Lauder brand is choosing quantity over quality. Well, I vote with my dollar, and here's how I feel about the EL monster:

    - Never shopped EL products so no loss there
    - I'm *mostly* over MAC, though I still have a soft spot for it
    - Have almost zero luck with Bobbi Brown (too muddy and warm)
    - Lost all interest in the extremely-limited color palette of Px
    - Find Origins to be a snoozefest (I miss the Clean Sheets frag)
    - Have what happened to Aveda
    - La Mer? No thanks
    - Not interested in paying $$$ for Tom Ford products, which aren't that great
    - Would rather die than buy any new Coach! (I'll hang onto my pre-EL vintage leather, thanks very much)

    The only line that seems largely unsullied is Clinique, but they've been under the EL mothership since my first purchase back in the 80s, I believe. Many of their skincare products have greatly improved since my first 3-step, but I can't say the same for their makeup.

    Sorry to ruin your lovely Erno Laszlo article, lol.

    Carry on!

  4. That's the one-- I just grabbed the quad. The darkest color is utter crap-- patchy and unpigmented, like dried out old chalk-- which frankly would make a better eye shadow.The palest color (pink) is buttery soft with good pigmentation, but it is so pale that barely shows up. the mauvish purple is a little stiff, but has good pigmentation once applied to the skin, and the dark grey/mauve has excellent pigmentation and is as smooth as butter. The only way that I can use the dark one is wet as a liner.

    Believe it or not I don't have a single matte2 formula-- I didn't realize they were phasing it out. The regular mattes are pretty bad. Yeah- the only duo chrome that I still use periodically is Vex, but I limit the use.

    Yup, Estée gobbled up Stila in 1999, but it looks as though they may have dumped it in 2006:

    They also gobbled up Smashbox-- which I never really tried save for one product that I returned.

    I DID NOT REALIZE that Sylvie Chantecaille started Prescriptives-- no wonder it was such a fantastic line!! Killing good product lines seems to be what the Lauder Companies seem to do best these days.

    I agree with you about EL choosing quantity over quality!

    -I never shopped EL products either-- always thought the demographic was for our grandmothers. They can revamp all they want-- it has never spoken to me.
    -MAC still has a bit of a pull for me as well. The tried and true quality products at least. Plus there is nostalgia- since I started using it way back when- when it was a Nordstrom exclusive and not owned by EL
    -Over Bobbi Brown for the same reasons. I have a few lip glosses that I like (I know that you aren't a lip gloss girl), and they are fine, but nothing terribly special either.
    -I was intrigued by the online relaunch of Px, but not enough to try anything again.
    -Origins was always kind of meh to me. It was novel in the beginning. I do, however, like and use their recycle program (but not their product- LOL)
    -I stopped using Aveda when EL gobbled it up. Plus their products seemed to start drying my hair. Haven't tried their makeup since the 1990s.
    -La Mer- too expensive, and not the same product that Max Huber created. I actually met and spoke with him at I. Magnin when I was a late teen or in my 20s. Lovely man, and it was an outstanding product back then.
    -While I love my rx TF glasses- the makeup line never spoke to me. Despite the gorgeous packaging (which seems a bit cumbersome)- the products just seemed to me to be EL products parading around in fancy schmancy packaging for outlandish prices. I won't spend $48.00 on a lipstick or $45.00 on a lip gloss-- not even for the Guerlain Rouge G lipsticks!
    -Couch- the products seem so cheaply made now.

    Clinique does seem largely the same to me as well. Hopefully EL doesn't decide to ruin it as well!

    What happened to the idea "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"????!

    You hardly ruined my article!!

  5. Your assessment of the quad is spot on, exactly as I remember it. I had it about 2 days and sent it back to MAC with a NOTE! I wasn't satisfied to just fill out the return form. I wrote them a "shame on you" note that I included with the return. The warehouse boy probably threw it away,lol.

    And I had a chuckle over the EL demographic. Yep, moms and grandmas. It doesn't call me either, not the least of which is due to the gold packaging. *barf*

    As for Px rising out of the flames, the only color they kept that I was interested in was Mushroom, but since it's completely different now, meh. Also, it pisses me off that they did away with the four color lines and merged everything into a Cool and Warm category. It isn't the same at all!

    I remember reading about Max Huber in the mid 90s. If I was going to try La Mer it would have been back then, but I couldn't make myself spend $300+ on a face cream.

    Tom Ford packaging IS gogeous. I love the heavy, solid lipstick tubes that could be used as doorstops, but I don't find what's inside to be better than any other $14 lipstick. Really. It's a lot like MAC in expensive clothes.

    Re Coach, it's all about emblems and neon/preppy colors (though no true prep would be caught dead sporting around such a handbag unless the colors came in a Bermuda bag ;) ). As for the interlocking C's (remind you of anyone?) I don't advertise for any brand. I loved the old Coach leather that used to be so discreet.

    1. LOL-- can't you just see the warehouse boy tossing it into a bin filled with so many other notes of contempt for subpar chalky quads!!! Probably lots of trees were lost there!!

      Yup, that gold packaging did not and does not speak to me in the least bit. It does seem that EL has gained some popularity in the pre-menopausal sector thanks to some new marketing and products!

      Px revamp= too little too late. Go back to your roots or forget about it!

      Max Huber WAS the Company! it's a pity that his daughter sold it to EL after his death. She should have hired people to keep her father's vision alive.

      I would pay $14.50 for a MAC lipstick in TF packaging-- LOL!

      Ah yes, the derivative interlocking C's!!! I thought that the Coach revitalization was going to be a great thing- along the lines of Tom Ford resuscitating Gucci, but I guess not!! Those old school Coach bags were indestructible-- remember the solid brass duck fob?! A train could run over one of those old leather bags and wouldn't even damage it!! You would get sick to death of it before it would ever show any signs of wear!!

    2. I'd pay $14.50 for a MAC lipstick in TF packaging,too!

      Wasn't the duck fob Dooney & Bourke? I have at least one of those bags banging around, too. Purchased in the late 80s, no doubt. I gave several of them to my mother, along with a lovely old Coach nose bag, all of which will come back to me one day.

      I did, indeed, get sick of all that leather. They're all stored in boxes under the eaves. :) But one day, out of Purgatory they come.

      The main reason for their storage is I don't have the lifestyle I once had. I used to dress for work, and I had mountains of shoes and bags and suits. Oh, and the scarves! I sometimes really miss those days, and I have hung onto so much stuff, even though there's little chance of my needing 10 pairs of kitten-heeled shoes anymore, now that I changed industries where dress-up means wearing one of my colorful Polartec tops. ;D Long live geek chic!!

    3. YES, are absolutely right-- the duck fob was Dooney & Bourke!! LOL! Yes definitely the late 80s. I seem to remember that there were several D&B and Coach bags from that era that my mom, sister and I would trade- because we would get so tired of looking at the one that we had!

      It would be fun to find those things and look at them again!!

      Hey, geek chic is comfortable!! You could start new trend pairing kitten heels with colorful Polartec tops-- and perhaps some on-trend bright lipstick (just not the Pantone Tangerine)!!

    4. Gaaaaa! My eyes. What has been seen cannot be unseen!

    5. Horrifying, but true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. I'm very late in commenting here, but in case anyone sees this...Clinique was started by EL in about 1968 -1970 or so. EL's big rival at the time was Revlon, believe it or not. They came out with rival "Dermatologist" lines. Revlon's never did well and died, but Clinique, developed with EL by Dr. Norman Ehrentreich (sp) became huge. Clinique was always an EL brand.

    1. Nina, are you saying that Clinique was started by Ernest Lazslo? I know it's now owned by Estee Lauder, also has "EL" initials, and that's how I read your comment through the first time (as if EL = Estee Lauder). After as second read, I thought, Hmmm.

    2. Hi Nina and Zuzu,

      As I understand it Clinique has always been part of Estée Lauder. Dr. Norman Orentreich as dermatologist helped guide the line.ée_Lauder_Companies

      I had no idea that there was rivalry between Revlon and Estée Lauder in the skincare arena!

    3. Revlon used to have two "serious" brands: Charles of the Ritz and Ultima II both of which are now in beauty hall heaven. Clinique was inspired by the runaway success of the Erno Laszlo line which despite being ridiculously expensive and requiring purchase of all the products for your skin "clock" (type) had waiting lists through the 1960s. Clinique was Lauders version of a Doctor led dermatology line. Lauder's main rivals were Elizabeth Arden & Helena Rubinstein for many years but L'Oreal bought Rubinstein and pretty much destroyed it and Elizabeth Arden is now straggling behind somewhere in Avon land with only Prevage to give it kudos. Estee Lauders domination is kind of scary! I used to love the original line like Almond Clay Pack and refining tonic that were developed by Estee herself but the skncare now is silicon, slippery tastic.

    4. Ps. Erno have changed the packaging and its pretty horrendous! Have stopped using the line since.

    5. Lastly (sorry!) how has Creme de la Mer changed from the Max Huber version ( apart from bringing out a new serum every month!)
      I have used the Creme and quite like the "wet" cooling feeling it gives when patted on but find their marketing and constant slew of add on products off putting - particularly when they originally marketed it as the only creme you would ever need!

    6. I saw the new packaging from Laszlo, and much prefer the old packaging. Since Erno Laszlo was the first cohesive line that I used (starting with EL as a teenager when I was a 1:00)- I have definite sentimental attachment to the old packaging. They seem to have discontinued lots of things, and some of the reviews I have read indicated that they have reformulated some of the items, but I haven't actually looked at the products inside the new packaging.

      I'm not sure about whether or not Max Huber's version was a different recipe rom the version that EL now makes. I do remember using it years ago-- long before Max Huber died, and it was phenomenal. THey do seem to launch new serums almost as quickly as MAC launches new collections!

      Charles of the Ritz & Ultima II-- wow, what a blast from the past!! Thanks for stopping by!!!!!! Have a lovely weekend! :-)


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