How to Properly Apply Face Powder

Here's how to find the right powder for you and how to properly apply it.

Woman using brush with face powder
Woman using brush with face powder. Digital Vision / Getty Images

I have always been a fan of dewy skin. I find it youthful and sexy and the older I get the drier my skin gets, so I like the feel of moist makeup.

Until, that is, that I pose for pictures.

In almost every photo where I have not dusted my face with powder, I come across as a shiny mess. I literally look as if I just ate a big greasy pizza. Isn't it funny how pictures work? I mean, every diet I've been on seems to have stemmed from an unflattering photograph of myself.

Well, it turns out that powdering my face stems from photos, too.

Powders work like magic dust. They set the makeup and keep it from looking oily. The very best powders, however, are not obvious. You should never look as if you just powdered your face. You want a sheer, translucent powder that won't settle into fine lines.

How to Pick the Perfect Powder

I recommend heading to a department store like Sephora and trying out a few powders with the help of an associate. Explain what you are looking for -- mineral powders if you want purely natural products not tested on animals, for example, or a sheer powder if you want flawless coverage that soaks up extra oils.

The right powder will disappear on your skin. You don't want one that is darker or lighter than your skin. And make sure to step outside or in a window to test the color. Fluorescent lighting can never be trusted when it comes to makeup.

Remember that what works for your best friend or that beauty writer who came up with a "best" list, may not work for you. It's best to try out several powders to find your best match. Most drugstores allow you to return a product that doesn't work for you.

See this list of the Best Pressed & Loose Powders.

 

Should You Splurge or Save on Powder?

In case you're wondering if the powders you buy from the drugstore are of the same quality as the ones you buy at the department store for twice as much, check out my article, "Splurge or Save: Blush, Bronzers & Powders."

Use it to Keep Eyeshadow From Falling Under the Eye

Dust a bit of powder under the eyes before you apply eyeshadow. This keeps the falling shadow from marring your makeup. After you apply the shadow, simply sweep away the powder with a tissue.

Apply With a Big, Fluffy Brush

Throw out the cushion pad that comes with your powder and instead use a fluffy makeup brush -- the biggest makeup brush you can find. The best brushes are made with natural fibers (unless you're an animal rights activist and need to go all synthetic).

See this list of the Top 14 Makeup Brushes

Proper Application is Key

It's best to apply powder after your other beauty products such as concealer and foundation. It works to set the makeup. To apply, dip the brush in the powder and pat it on the side of the container to remove any excess. You can also blow on the brush, but I find this gets your pricey powder all over the place.

Never apply powder to the entire face, instead, press the brush into the skin under the eyes and then in a line from your forehead, down the bridge of your nose to the chin.

Be Careful With Over-application

You may be tempted to bring your powder along in your purse to powder your nose all night, but be careful not to overload on the powder. Instead, bring along blotting papers in your purse that are meant to soak up oils without messing up your makeup. This way you won't overdo the powder, which can result in cake face (see How to Avoid Cake Face).

Loved this? You might also like 20 Makeup Tips for Gorgeous Skin.