Product Series: Powders

by Sarah

We’re slowly making our way through the Product Series. And I think I’m subconsciously taking my time with it cos we’re almost done with the base/face products and I’ve had so much fun creating these series so far that I’m trying to savor the last few posts.

Today’s post is all about Powders!

Product Series: Powders

Product Series: Powders

Powder is pretty much the last step of achieving a flawless base in makeup application. Skin types, external factors such as weather and even formulation of foundations and concealers can affect the finish of how our skin looks. Powders help to set all the previous products we’ve used into place, prevent shine and oil and extend the wear of our base makeup.

As with all other makeup products, powders too have come a long way in previous years. Gone are the days of powders with chalky, talc containing formulas which would make the skin look like the Sahara desert!

Ranging from light and breathable mineral formulas to heavier coverage options, powders typically come in two types: Pressed and Loose. We can also split them into two other categories: Colored powders (to match the skin tone) or Translucent powders (which are colourless and universal). Results wise they all serve the same purpose but some people prefer mineral formulas, some find the loose powders too messy and some just want the fuss-free option of translucent powders…it all depends on personal preference.


Colored powders are exactly as the name suggests. They come in many different shades like foundations and need to be selected to compliment skin color. Depending on the coverage preferred, colored powders can be applied as a very light dusting all over the face or concentrated on oily parts of the face – prominently T-zone. Here are some of my all time favorite colored powders both in pressed and loose formulas:

Click on the product pictures below to be taken to the stores; except DS=Drugstore

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 MAC Select Sheer / Laura Mercier Mineral Powder / MAC Mineralize Skinfinish / Bare Minerals Perfecting Veil / Rimmel Stay Matte (DS)


OK, this is where people get a bit confused cos these powders are usually pure white in color and it’s hard to understand how they could be used on any skin color no matter how light or dark. Well, texture of translucent powders almost feel like corn starch. And with such a texture being so “light and airy”, it mattifies the skin without leaving any color behind. Translucent powders are a great option which takes the guesswork out of trying to match colors or worrying about product build up which can make the skin look cakey.

HOWEVER!…and this is where red flags go up for most people, translucent powders generally contain zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is used in products containing SPF and they’re renowned for causing flashback (white cast) in night time photography. And if not used correctly, translucent powders, although not visible to the naked eye during application, rear their ugly head as white powder patches all over the skin in photos. And it happened to the best of celebrities as below…yikes!

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 6.25.09 pmScreen Shot 2015-02-25 at 6.26.03 pmScreen Shot 2015-02-25 at 6.26.34 pmScreen Shot 2015-02-25 at 6.26.57 pmWhen using translucent powders at night time, where you know there will be flash photography, the key is to use a very small amount of powder, dust it lightly all over the face and buff over the skin numerous times to make sure the product doesn’t collect in any spots. Here are my favorite translucent powders:

Click on the product pictures below to be taken to the stores; except DS=Drugstore

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MAC Prep&Prime Loose Finishing Powder / Laura Mercier Invisible Setting Powder / Makeup Forever HD Micro Finish Powder /NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder / MAC Prep&Prime Pressed Finishing Powder


*Go light! This is possibly the most important advise I can give regarding powders. Powders absorb oil and when applied over products already on the skin such as concealers, correctors and foundations, addition of powder can give the skin a heavy cakey look.

*It’s best to apply powders with large fluffy brushes and dust over the skin all over (and go in with an additional layer only on the areas which are known to get more oily such as the T-zone). *There are many other setting options now such as setting sprays which I’ll cover at the end of the Product Series, so it’s important to use powder only as a light veil to tie everything in.

*If you prefer the fuss free aspect of translucent powders but still worried about the flashback problem for night times, OR you’ve gone a little too heavy with your powder and want to bring some dewiness back to your skin, you can use a binding spray such as MAC Fix+, Evian spray or even your favorite toner sprayed all over the face. This will help settle the powder particles down, eliminate that overly mattified look and also gel all the face products together to give the skin a flawless luminous glow.

What’s your favorite setting powder and why? xx


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