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The Ultimate Guide to Face Powder

From translucent to mineral, face powder comes in many shapes, sizes and textures. Not sure which face powder is right for you? Not to worry, this ultimate guide to face powder will teach you everything you need to know. In a nutshell, face powder is a cosmetic that you put on to set foundation, or on a lighter day, BB or CC cream. You can find a variety of finishes on the market - some mattify, some add glow and others can give you a chiselled Kim K-approved contoured look.

There are two types of face powder - Finishing Powders & Setting Powders. Don't be fooled, these powders are idfferent and serve different purposes. Dont worry if this is new to you, this could slip up many blossoming MUAs. Although different they may be, they serve a similar purpose - Most 'setting' and 'finishing' sprays are designed with a similar goal – to make your makeup last longer. However, they do this in very different ways. A setting powder does exactly what it says on the tin - it sets your makeup. It is formulated to be budge-proof and keep your makeup right where you left it so it stays intact. Finishing powders are typically used to moisten the skin and is as close to a real-life filter as you can get as it often blurs pores and softens up the texture. You can also apply them differently too. You can use a damp blending sponge to gently press the setting powder into key areas however, I would recommend applying setting powder with a brush or puffer. Whereas for finishing powder only a light dusting with a brush is needed, less is more.

Always set your makeup! Setting your makeup - for me- is more important than finishing it. It makes your makeup last longer and look better. After all, it is pointless to finish something that hasn't been set yet... (if that make sense).


What Types of Powder Are Out There?

Translucent Powder

If you feel your foundation doesn’t need extra coverage, this is for you. Translucent powder is a firm favourite among the beauty gurus and comes in a loose and pressed forms. It’s commonly used to mattify and prevent shine while not altering the colours of your concealer or foundation because it’s see-through (the clue is in the name!). It can be used as a finishing prouct throughout the day to battle the elements and ensure your face remains intact. You can also use translucent powder to “bake”. This is a a setting method which means popping on a layer of translucent powder on your makeup (before finishing it) and allowing it to sit for about 10 minutes. This allows the heat from your skin to set your base foundation and concealer, dusting it off the remaining visible powder and this should leave your makeup with a creaseless, flawless matte complexion! Personally, you don't need to buy the most expensive brand when it comes to translucent powder as the cheaper brands do just as well, after all, it is translucent...

Finishing Powder

This kind of face powder is used to conceal the appearance of pores or fine lines. Can a translucent powder also be a finishing powder? Of course! It is also perfect for "baking"! Not all finishing powders are translucent though, a good variety have beautiful pigments that can further enhance your complexion.

Mineral Powder

If you are keen on makeup with less chemicals, looking into mineral makeup could be a good idea for you. Mineral face powders are exactly that – powder retrieved from minerals; some even come with added vitamins. You can get a mineral face powder either pressed or loose. Mineral powders are used by the pros in the place of a foundation, so only use it to cover your base if you are going for a full coverage look. I would recommend this if you have problematic mature skin as this could be kinder to your skin

Pressed Compact Powder

Can you believe that a pressed compact powder can be mineral, translucent and finishing all at the same time? It’s true. Having said that, it doesn’t have to be. Pressed powder is to do with the texture of the product. It’s smoothly pressed into a compact which makes it the perfect and neat travel companion. A lot of face powders that are pressed in compact form come pigmented, so you can find one that works for your skin tone.

Loose Powder

Just like pressed face powder, the loose option can also be mineral or translucent or finishing or all of the above. The difference between pressed and loose is that loose can often be messier and you may need a bigger powder brush to pop it on (that is after you’ve shaken off the excess!). Personally, I don’t get on well with loose powder as it is too messy, but if you are willing to take the risk, loose powder is a great option as it won't contain alcohol.

Banana Powder

No it's not the latest protein powder flavour, it's actually a yellow-toned powder (hence, it's 'banana' name) that not only sets concealer but also colour corrects too. It's perfect for disguising dark circles and blemishes and has been pioneered by the likes of MUA Mario Dedivanovic. Well, if it's good enough for the Kardashians...


What’s the Right Powder for My Skin Type?

Dry Skin

Because face powders may sometimes accentuate dry patches on the skin, it’s best to use a small touch of powder using a big fluffy brush after you’ve moisturised and put foundation on.

Oily Skin

Introduce your skin to its new best friend, the translucent powder. It will help keep shine at bay for a longer time. Let’s leave this whole shining business to the highlighter.

Combination skin

There is no right answer for this type of skin but ensure that your base is as even as possible. For example, if you have dry part of your face, ensure they're moisterised before applying your make-up.

Mature Skin

Finishing powders can help to minimise the visible signs of pores and wrinkles, so investing in one could be a great idea for those with mature skin. I would avoid using heavy foundation and I advise you always moisterise before applying product. I would recommend using a medium coverage liquid foundation and setting it with mineral powder.


I Want Light Coverage

To achieve the natural look, simply apply a BB, CC cream or tinted moisturiser and lightly dust over some mineral face powder. Hello glow from within!

I Want Full Coverage

After you’ve applied your foundation, follow with powder that you’ve matched with your skin tone. This will ensure full coverage, and if you work in air conditioned environments or are prone to your skin getting oily throughout the day, simply top up throughout the day, paying extra attention to your T-Zone.


Ultimately, experiment and see what product you like the most. I switch between different powders and foundations depending on how I feel.

I don't typically like a full coverage look as I like to lay it bare. For this I use translucent powder to set my foundation. It is my foundation which I will use for coverage and for some contouring. After I set my foundation I add some accents to assentuate my look like bronzer to contour and to add a shimmering glow. After everything I use a finishing spray (which I find painfully uncomfortable to use as it is literally spray in your face) and then I am ready to face the world.

I would definitely recommend you use products that are kind to your skin - definitely if you wear make-up frequently. Allow your skin to breathe and treat it with care as it can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Lets be effortlessly beautiful and not hide our beauty under layers and layers of caked on face paint...

Miss L.


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