Powder Foundation: How to use

If you’re like me, you’re confounded by powder foundations. Most people use them as a topper powder or to mattify, few people actually use it as foundation.

Recently, in my lazy no make up days when I had to go out to face the world (boooooo) I slap on a quick bit of make up and skincare. Usually it’s just my sunblock, a little bit of concealer, my brows, and the powder foundation.

(photo not taken by me, my compact has been smashed since long ago and I just keep the pan in my make up box to use.)

My skin is quite normal, and it’s only oily on my nose. Previously, when I used powder foundations, I kind of just slap it on, and it would look really cakey and fake. I’m totally not down with that, so I kinda ignored powder foundations for a long time. Recently however, I find powder foundation to be perfect for those low maintenance, sheer coverage days.

Any powder to me will do. I don’t think talc and some pigments should cost $80++. What nonsense. This handy 17 Soft Touch BB powder (the lower end, teen targeted Boots housebrand) costs something like SGD8 in Bangkok in Boots.

A good powder must:

  1. Be finely milled. I’ve touched some coarse powders in my lifetime. You wouldn’t really know the difference until you touch a sublimely soft powder. This is one of those sublimely soft ones. I’ve used powders from Maybelline and Za previously, and both were nowhere as good as this 17 one. Coarse powders look cakey easily and of course, don’t feel as good.
  2. Not be a sheer pressed powder. This powder semi-sheer, it offers definite coverage but nothing too much. You obviously won’t be getting any coverage out of a sheer or translucent product.
  3. If you have oily skin, you will probably be concerned about oil control. The 17 BB powder unfortunately has quite bad oil control power. Thankfully I’m not super oily all over, but it’s something to think about. It doesn’t bother me too much, since if I’m using this powder only I’m not expecting to look picture perfect.

My preferred fuss-free application method is to use a buffing face brush. I use the Real Techniques Buffing Brush but you can also use the Face Brush, or any similar brush. I also use a kabuki on occasion. Must be dense and bristles slightly stiffer, not so floppy.

  1. Start with a moisturized face. If you’re not super oily, you MUST have something underneath. Powder on dry skin is cringeworthy. Your skin should be slightly tacky. I have used it over moisturizer, my sunblock (which is the thick cream kind) and even a serum and it is fine.
  2. Pick up product with your brush. Since it’s going to be buffed in and there’s no other base product, it doesn’t matter if you’re heavy handed.
  3. Buff the powder into your face! I use circular motions to really work it in. The tacky skincare underneath will prevent it from looking cakey. It’s similar to using a powder foundation damp, but with much less mess and fuss.

Since then my powder foundations have had a new life! I used to use just the tiniest bit of powder to mattify my T-zone but now I finally figured out the best way to use powder foundation as an actual foundation!

Even so, there is barely a dip in my pan and I’ve had it for like, 1.5 years at least. It’s the powder that I’m using most of the time at home, because it’s divinely soft and because I want to finish using an exposed pan as fast as I humanly can. God, powder sizes are WAY too big.

Hope you found this tip useful! I love the simplicity and quickness of it for the times I have to pop out of the house for something.


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