When Taylor Swift stepped out with a powdered face gone wrong last night, she actually joined a sisterhood of gorgeous A-listers who have fallen victim to the same mistake: Angelina Jolie, Miley Cyrus, Nicole Kidman, and plenty more have accidentally overdone it on translucent powder, resulting in a white, cakey look when caught by camera flash.
If you're wondering how their makeup artists don't notice this when their clients are in the chair, it's important to point out that powder overdose isn't often detectable to the naked eye. The reason it becomes so obvious in pictures comes down to the main ingredient in many translucent or finishing powders: silica. Because silica is reflective with light, it appears white with the flashes of a thousand paparazzi cameras—or, for us mere mortals, even just an iPhone.
The good news is that you actually don't have to choose between setting your makeup and documenting a fun night out. Keep scrolling to find out the easiest ways to avoid a powder mishap.
Step 1: Choose a formula that's low on silica.
It's the easiest way to sidestep this issue altogether, and while there aren't a ton of products out there that don't tout silica as the main ingredient, there are a few great ones that will do the trick. Try Laura Mercier's Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($37).
Step 2: Use this application trick to avoid going overboard.
Your secret weapon: a tissue. If you don't tend to get shiny, hold the tissue over your face and apply the powder with a brush on top of it—that soft barrier will allow for a much finer application. On the other hand, if you're prone to oiliness, use the tissue in another way: Rather than dipping your brush directly into the pot of powder, sprinkle powder onto the tissue and scoop it up with your brush from there. This method still doses your powder but gives you a little more than the first way.
Step 3: Wait it out.
Before diving straight into a photo sesh, give your skin's oils some time to absorb the powder, which can help minimize any cakiness.
Step 4: Use a face mist for good measure.
Get that tissue ready again! Cover your face with it, and spray a face mist (like Evian's classic Facial Water Spray, $18)—if there's any excess powder after the first three steps, that should sop it right up.