There are all sorts of makeup products in the world, there are products that can be used at whim to add a pop of colour or a touch of sparkle and there are products that you absolutely can’t do your makeup without.
One of those products that live on my vanity for everyday use is loose powder. Whether I am going with a super natural “no-makeup” makeup look or full glam, I cannot do my makeup without a loose powder to set everything in place and perfect the skin.
I’ve had so many questions about loose powder in general from why I use it and what I recommend to how I apply it and how I stop it from looking dry. So I thought I would throw together a little “loose powder 101” along side a review of my new favourite one!
Loose Powder 101 – The Why
– Powder is used as a final step in your makeup routine. After you have applied any liquids or creams to the face you need to “set” them into place by applying a translucent or tinted powder over the top. This gives you a smooth, even canvas to then apply powder products like blush, bronzer etc.
– The amount and kind of powder you apply is dependant on your skin type, dry complexions can get away with little to no powder on the majority of the face but combination to oily complexions need a powder to keep all of their makeup intact.
– There are different types of powders including loose, pressed, illuminating, mattifying, and baked all of which have a different purpose. To see my top 10 powders in all categories, check out this post!
– Loose powder is designed to help makeup adhere to the skin, it sets liquids into place so that they don’t migrate, transfer or move on your face. The application of powder will also prolong the life of your makeup and keep it in place for hours.
– Some powders also have the ability to blur the look of fine lines, wrinkles, pores and even add coverage. They can also prevent creasing.
– Powder can also be used to fix mistakes, tone down over-applied blush or mattify a cream lipstick.
Loose Powder 101 – The Who
– Loose powder typically comes in a jar or tub with small sifters that allow the powder to come out. They consist of ultra-fine particles of powder (some are finer than others) and when applied to the skin they provide a light amount of coverage.
– The terms that label a loose powder can be interchanged by brands but a “setting” powder and a “finishing” powder are actually quite different.
– A setting powder is what we think of as classic powder–it goes on after your foundation to get rid of shine and “set” it so that it lasts a long time. It can be tinted to match your skin or translucent.
– A finishing powder is generally used AFTER setting powder to blur fine lines and pores, giving you an extra-perfect look. It’s best for situations where you’re going to be photographed a lot, rather than an essential step for everyday makeup. These powders are white and can cause flashback if not applied properly.
– Powders labeled “HD” are most often finishing powders and are intended for use in front of a camera.
My Current Favourite Loose Powder
In my experience, loose powders are pretty impossible to get right, they are either too dry, too chalky, too heavy or too light. I only own 4 powders that have passed all of my tests to make it into my collection. The latest one to earn that spot is the new Maybelline Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder.
The Maybelline Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder ($10.99 CAD/$8.99 USD – 0.7 oz) is a true gem from the a brand that just keeps hitting it out of the park. This drugstore powder is a real life filter for your face that performs just as well if not better than some of my high end alternatives. It is described as a finishing powder and while it can be used as such it works wonders when used as a setting powder.
It is an ultra lightweight, mineral based powder (contains Talc, Dimethicone and Silica) that is incredibly finely milled for a luxurious silky smooth feel. It is in fact NOT a translucent powder as it comes in 8 rather opaque shades (05 Fair, 10 Fair Light, 15 Light, 20 Light Medium, 25 Medium, 30 Medium Deep, 35 Deep & 40 Dark). The range contains a shade for just about every skin tone and because the powder (once blended out) gives a sheer hint of colour with buildable medium coverage it can be made to work for those who don’t fit exactly. The lightest shade of 05 Fair is slightly darker than my natural skin tone but it blends in beautifully and adds just a touch of added coverage.
The powder is completely unscented so it is safe for anyone with sensitivities and can be used for both setting the face and baking if you so prefer. The mineral based formula and the incredibly fine texture make this powder apply like an absolute dream. It simply melts into the skin smoothing over any texture and filling lines to leave you with an absolutely flawless finish, even if your foundation isn’t looking its best.
Unlike most loose powders, this one does not completely mattify the skin to the point of looking parched. It has a beautiful demi-matte finish that successfully mattifies any oily spots but still lets your natural radiance shine through. The ultra-fine particles don’t sit on top of the skin making it look dry, cakey or flat but they truly melt in for a seamless finish.
The powder holds up beautifully throughout the day and I don’t feel the need to add more powder or touch up at all throughout the day. I do find it will dry out my inner tear duct if I use it under my eyes for long periods of time but it is fine on the rest of my face.
Loose Powder 101 – The How
Once you have found a powder that you love, you have to find out how you want to apply it. You can use a brush, a sponge, or a velour puff (stay away from the sponges that come with products).
– If you have normal or dry skin, apply a light dusting of loose face powder as soon as you have put on your foundation. Use a large, fluffy powder brush with natural bristles to lightly spread a thin layer of the powder. Brush away any visible deposits of excess powder.
– If you have oily skin, try applying a very light dusting of loose powder on your clean face before you apply your foundation. Then, apply foundation and top with another layer of powder. Using the powder in this way will help absorb extra oil and keep your makeup looking fresh throughout the day.
– If your skin tends to be more dry or if you have texture try applying the powder with a sponge. Using a damp sponge and pressing the powder into the skin will help to smooth over and dry patches, texture, lines and peach fuzz. It gives a much more natural yet perfected finish.
– Always use a setting spray or face mist after you apply your powder. You can use just about any kind of mist including Mac Fix+, Smashbox Primer Water and Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist. This will help the powder to meld into your skin and become more natural and soft looking.
– Baking is a technique that has become increasingly popular and it is based on the idea that applying an excess amount of powder to the skin and letting it “bake” will help the powder adhere to the skin and lock in the makeup underneath. It works because the heat of your skin mixes with the powder, essentially sealing in all of the makeup underneath, filling all of the lines and creases and leaving it with a flawless finish.
– To bake you lightly set the area and then apply an excess of powder over the same spot pressing it in but then leaving a decent amount on top. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then brush away any leftover powder. Popular areas for baking are the under eyes, the lines around the mouth and along the jaw. Baking will not only set the areas but also brighten them.
I hope this post answers some of your questions about loose powder and how to use it but comment below if you have any more questions!
What is your favourite way to set your makeup?