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).
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