How to Properly Apply Face Powder

BIPOC Woman Looking at Reflection in Mirror and Applying Face Powder with a Makeup Brush
Getty | Design by Julie Bang.

I am a fan of dewy skin, especially since my skin has gotten drier with age. Unfortunately, my love of the dewy look takes a turn as soon as I see how the look translates to pictures. 

In almost every photo where I have not dusted my face with powder, I come across as a shiny mess. Isn't it funny how photos work? But, with a little help from a swipe of the magical dust better known as face powder, we will all say goodbye to looking like we just stood outside on a hot summer day. 

Before you run out and purchase a new powder, there are a few things you need to know about applying powder correctly. Application is the key to a dewy, not oily beauty look. The very best powders are not obvious, and won't look as if you just powdered your face. A sheer, translucent powder that won't settle into fine lines will help make that a reality. 

Here we share six simple tips to help you find the ideal powder for your skin type while sharing application go-to's to make you a powder pro. 

How to Pick the Perfect Powder

Department stores like Sephora and Nordstrom make it easy to work with associates to find the best beauty products for your skin tone and skin type. If you prefer products that are cruelty-free or need an option that soaks up extra oil, let your beauty guru know. 

When testing powder, the right match will disappear on your skin. Just keep in mind all translucent powder won't work on every skin tone. Powders like Hourglass' Veil Translucent Setting Powder can work on a variety of skin tones. But if you have a darker complexion, Laura Mercier makes a highly-rated translucent loose setting powder in medium deep that sets makeup and reduces oil and shine. 

Remember that what works for your best friend or a beauty writer you look to for beauty advice may not work for you. It's best to try out several powders to find your best match.

Should You Splurge or Save on Powder?

Splurging on products is a personal choice, but we're in luck these days because there are many beauty products that stack up against traditional department store makeup. Fan favorites like Maybelline's Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder and Black Opal's True Color Soft Velvet Finishing Powder both have an inclusive shade range and keep skin looking its best throughout the day.

Apply With a Big, Fluffy Brush

Throw out the cushion pad that comes with your powder and instead use a fluffy makeup brush like the EcoTools Full Powder Brush. Or if you prefer a brush that can multi-task, the NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush can apply blush, powder, and bronzer with a flawless finish.

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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.

You may think you need to apply powder to the entire face, but that isn't necessary. 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—as well as any other areas that are typically oily throughout the day.

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

Be Careful With Over-Application

You may be tempted to bring your powder along with you to refresh your makeup throughout the day, but be careful not to overload on the powder. Instead, bring along blotting papers that are meant to soak up oils without messing up your makeup. This way, you won't overdo the powder, which can result in your makeup looking cakey.

boscia Clear Complexion Blotting Linens
Boscia Clear Complexion Blotting Linens $10.00

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