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How-To: Choose a Powder

These days, buying a neutral powder comes with many, many decisions. Mineral or regular? Loose or pressed? Oil absorbing or luminizing? Translucent? Sheer? SPF? Talc-free?

Really, the most important thing is that the powder does what you want it to: set foundation or concealer without caking, keep grease at bay and not break you out (or aggravate any other skin problems). Oh, and actually match the color of your face. Here are some tips for choosing:

  • White and translucent powder can even make the palest complexions look grayish — so stay away.
  • Pressed powder is great to carry around for touch-ups, while loose powder usually offers more coverage.
  • Don't use the applicator that your pressed powder compact comes with for as long as the powder lasts. The grease you're blotting away is getting soaked up in there and could cause breakouts.
  • Use a powder brush for a sheer finish (tap out excess before you use it) and a big puff for a smooth finish.
  • If your skin is combination, use oil-blotting papers before powder.
  • If you have very dry skin, you may only want to use powder to set under eye concealer.
  • Sometimes your skin's oils or other products you use can change the color of a powder. If you're buying an expensive kind, you should test it in daylight before you buy (and give it some time to settle on your face).
  • Source

Join The Conversation
Glittersniffer Glittersniffer 8 years
I need to go get another pot of the mineral veil...I'm out! :(
WiCkeD_LaDy WiCkeD_LaDy 8 years
i love The Mineral Veil from BE, but i love my Estee Lauder double matte oil-control pressed powder (YIKES!! that's a long name), but thank for reminding me to clean up my powder sponge bella
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I love Mineral Veil too. Is oil why sometimes when you use a compact the powder starts too look discolord and actually hardens?
missyd missyd 8 years
hmmm Bella thank you! I never thought about the applicator that comes with the powder issue (that the grease gets soaked into it and causes breakouts). Good point!
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 8 years
I'm a MAC Studio Fix girl :)
chatoyante chatoyante 8 years
I love Bare Escentuals...I don't use the Mineral Veil, though, and it seems fine. Out of curiosity...does it make a big difference?
TidalWave23 TidalWave23 8 years
I love the Covergirl pressed powder compacts. I use the Soft Honey shade religiously. I pair it with Dior liquid foundation for a flawless, airbrushed look.
lizlee89 lizlee89 8 years
two words: PHYSICIAN'S FORMULA! I have tried every brand of powder in existence (I used to work for a makeup store) and while I found many I liked, I never loved any as much as I love Physician's Formula Organic Loose Powder. It covers so well, lasts a long time (I don't know how that it considering how much powder I put on every day - maybe it's a miracle haha), and it smells really good. their pressed powder is really good too for touchups (I love the balanced color). the only one that ever came close was bare minerals, which is great but a little too expensive for me. anyhoo, trust me, I highly recommend PF's powder, and really all their products...
emalove emalove 8 years
I use and love BE Mineral Veil...I also carry a Cover Girl Clean pressed powder compact with me at all times for mid-day touch-ups.
PurelyCosmetics PurelyCosmetics 8 years
Ingredients in those powders make all the difference in the world! If you want a more matte finish, or one that keeps you from photographing with a whiteish cast, use Silk Powder as a finishing layer. Silk powder is also perfect for comibination skin, as it hydrates your skin where necessary, and abosrbs excess oils. If you have oily skin, avoid using anything with silicone deriviatives in them (anything that ends in "cone", such as dimethicone), as these ingredients will clog your pores. Ingredients that contain bentonite clay, kaolin clay, or silica will help for oily skin as well. Dry skin? You can use loose powder as well. Best way to apply is to mix with a dab of moisturizer and apply with your fingertips. Then you can buff on additional layers dry if needed for more coverage. Carnauba wax treated mica will keep a color true; if you have oily skin, you may find the color change on you if there is magnesium myristate in there. By checking ingredients, you'll find a loose powder for every skin type. I'm not a fan of pressed powders, as most contain parabens as a binder, which is linked to breast cancer. HTH.
melda melda 8 years
thanks bella!!! i needed these tips.
palacinkabeauty palacinkabeauty 8 years
Two of my fav. translucent powders are from Color by Cynde Watson (pressed) and Kanebo Sensai (loose). These work well on pale skin as well as brown skin without leaving a gray or white cast.
writerjenna writerjenna 8 years
Great tips! Thanks!!
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 8 years
"White and translucent powder can even make the palest complexions look grayish — so stay away." Not so much, I'm afraid. I'm so pale that I kind of have to use white or translucent. Most brands' version of "light" is actually orange on me. Bobbi Brown pressed powder in White is actually really amazing if you're really and truly fair-skinned.
goingpostal20 goingpostal20 8 years
I'm a huge studio fix fan, I'm a very no fuss kinda girl, and this makeup helps me achieve that polished look without all the hardwork!
SanDiegoLove SanDiegoLove 8 years
I wear Bare Minerals foundation and Mineral Veil and very rarely need to touch up. On the occasion that I wear MAC Select SPF15 Foundation, I top it off with Studio Fix powder. Love it.
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