Part 5 of my Foundation Series- Powder- Which one to choose and how to use it. Check out the rest of my foundation basics Here.
Powder is one makeup product that, I’ll admit, I’m a trifle afraid of because it’s so easy to get wrong. There’s been several occasions when I’ve ruined a carefully made up face by being too heavy handed with the stuff. Too much powder and it’s cakesville, powder can emphasise fine lines and dry skin, it can change the colour of foundation- the wrong powder will leave you a lovely shade of orange. It’s a risky game.
But on the plus side, it sets foundation so it won’t budge, soaks up oil to keep you matte and bounces light off imperfect skin. Professional makeup artists always powder, and if you don’t, you could well be missing a trick. I’ve put together this little guide to start you on the road to powdering like a pro. I’ll try and keep it short, powder is a complex topic.
Types of Powder
- Powder Foundation- These are essentially the same as pressed powder but the give more coverage and staying powder, good for normal and combination skin. Gives light matte coverage. Use instead of Liquid Foundation.
- Loose Powder- Finely milled powder used for setting foundation, blurring imperfections and mattifying. Can be messy.
- Pressed Powder- Comes in a compact. Ideal for easy transportation. More likely to give a cakey appearance than loose powder.
- Finishing Powder- This is a very finely milled loose powder designed to be used over setting powder to create a super perfected appearance. Also used for “baking” (I’ll get on to baking another day). Finishing powder is particularly important if you’re being photographed a lot.
I really like loose powder for a light dusting over my foundation. I’m find it less cakey and heavy than pressed powder. It makes a giant mess all over my vanity and clothes, but my face looks dead nice.
How to Apply Powder
It’s easy to get this wrong. The main thing to remember is be sparing with it. Apply a little at a time and blend it well.
After applying the rest of my makeup I finish off with a light layer of powder in an attempt to fix the makeup and combat shine. Sometimes I just use concealer and powder to give my skin a break from liquid foundation.
I shake a little powder into the lid and pick up a bit onto a fat natural fibre brush.
Whirl the brush around in the powder then brush it on the back of your hand to remove excess. Then you can apply to your face, whirling the powder over nose, forehead, cheeks and chin. Keep working the brush over your face after its empty to blend the powder in.
If you’ve applied too much you can bring it down by misting your face with setting spray, if you have some lying about, although any type of face spritz would work.
What to apply powder with
I like to use my Bare Minerals brush (pictured above), it’s big and soft, just perfect for the job. If you have a large blusher brush, that would work. Just make sure you only use the brush for powder so that you don’t end up with a face full of blusher. Natural fibres are better for powder, but understandably you might not feel comfortable with using one. There are some excellent synthetic brushes around e.g. Real Techniques
You can use a powder puff or sponge although I think it’s safer to use a brush, it will pick up less product.
Which Powder to get
I feel safer getting a translucent powder since they suit any skin colour. I want my powder to start off light, you see, powder oxidises as the day goes by. That is, it reacts with skin oil and darkens. So if it’s pale to begin with I might manage to avoid “midday orange face”.
Here are some products to check out-
- My absolute fave is Loose Powder in Translucent by Collection. I find the finish and colour perfect- not cakey or orange at all. And it’s only £3.
- Makeup Forever HD Finishing Powder is rated by makeup artists, it’s £22 though. Eek!
- Bare Minerals Loose Powder Foundation and Mineral Veil has a following. I don’t get on with it, I can’t seem to apply it without looking like a cake head. I’ve had more luck with their Ready Pressed Powder Foundation.
- If you’re after a pressed powder and have dry skin have a look at Bourjois Healthy Mix Unifying Powder. Its ludicrously soft. A good choice for ladies with dry skin, it’s hydrating!
- Rimmel Stay Matte is a classic, well admired for its all day mattifying and perfecting qualities. It’s £3.99, amen to that.
- Laura Mercier, Clinique, Nars, Mac all do highly rated powders if you want to spend money on something nice.
Overview of How to Use Powder
- Loose powder gives a lighter, less cakey finish
- Apply sparingly with a large soft brush
- If you have difficulty matching your skin shade go for a translucent powder
Powder is difficult to get right but, as any makeup artist would tell you I’m sure, it’s worth trying- it can make such a difference to the lifespan of makeup and it gives skin a flawless finish.