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Make Up Basics: Powder

Face powders are good to have in your collection for a myriad of reasons.  Apart from powder foundations, there are other types of powder products for the face used in make up application.


Loose powder simply means that the product is in a loose form typically packaged in sifter jars.  The texture is silky soft and usually has little to no color.  Face products in this form are most commonly found to be used as a setting powder and ensure the staying power of liquid and cream foundations as well as tinted moisturizers.  Some BB creams also require a dust of loose powder to make sure it doesn't appear greasy throughout the day or slide off.

  • Translucent - There are generally 2 tints of color for translucent loose powder and that is in white and a pale skin tone color.  Although translucent powders should be invisible on skin when applied, white powders can appear ashy or leave a white cast on medium/dark to deep skin tones.
  • Beige/Skin Tone - You can also find loose powder that are not translucent but tinted.  These are great for setting your foundation or tinted moisturizer and gives a more natural finish.  Depending on the ingredients in the powder, it can also provide a glowy finish.

If you don't have much problems with your skin but do tend to have a bit of shine towards the end of the day, lightly dusting some loose powder should do the trick.


Not to be confused with powder foundation, pressed powder is similar to loose powder but in pressed form. These are normally available in compact form and may or may not come with a powder puff or sponge.  The main difference between pressed powder and powder foundation is that these are worn dry.  Powder foundations on the other hand are also known as 2-way cakes because they can be used wet and/or dry (you will notice ventilation holes in 2-way compacts but none for powder foundation).

Pressed powders is used to set foundation quite similarly to loose powders.  They are available in different skin tone categories -- fair, light, light/medium, medium, tan, dark and deep -- and are usually a sheer formula.  This product is quite forgiving and getting a color that is slightly lighter or darker than your skin tone will not adversely affect your overall make up.

It is also used for touch ups and to mattify skin during the day as needed.  Make sure to blot any excess sebum/oil with a blotting paper (a tissue paper also helps if you don't have blotting papers handy) before applying pressed powder.

Another variant that I've come across is a color corrective pressed powder.  These have a quadrant of pastel neutralizing shades that you can dust on to your face to set make up and even out your complexion a little more.  Personally, I find that if you've used the right foundation and concealer/corrector, a regular pressed powder would work just fine.


High definition powder formulas are more often than not silica based.  The powder contains light reflecting properties that helps mask fine lines and create a soft focus effect on skin resulting in a flawless looking complexion.  Additionally, these types of powders have oil-absorbing and mattifying properties, eliminating shine.

It is used as a setting powder and although commonly found in white color, the product formulation works in a way that it is not visible on any skin tone when applied.  Most brands offer high definition powder that not only hides skin imperfections but adds a radiant glow to skin and some even offer SPF coverage.


Loose & High Definition Powder
  • Brush onto entire face to set make up.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes for product to settle and set.
  • Then with a clean brush, sweep your face to remove any excess product.

Loose Powder to Catch Fallout
  • Pat a considerable amount of loose powder on the area a little below the under eye.  This creates a layer on top of the foundation to catch any eye shadow fall out.
  • Continue to apply eye make up.  The fall out should fall on the layer of powder applied and not the skin.
  • Once done with eye make up, with a clean fluffy brush (a dense fan brush would do nicely too) gently sweep off the layer of powder with the fall outs.

Pressed Powder
  • You can either use the powder puff/sponge included in the compact or take a powder brush (or any fluffy brush you own) and pick up some of the product.
  • Lightly dust the powder on your face to set.  If using the puff/sponge, lightly pat on and press the powder into skin.  Try not to drag the puff/sponge to avoid streaking the foundation and concealer before it sets.
  • Pressed powder don't normally result in excess but for good measure, you may sweep your face with a clean brush to remove any excess product.

NOTE: All the above powder products can be worn over top foundation/concealer to set or worn alone.

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