If I had to choose between liquid and powder makeup, liquid would win every time. My application skills are certainly above sub-par, but I admittedly still struggle with wearing powder formulas that don’t leave me looking gray or worse: flaky and straight-up ashy.
It’s especially disheartening as someone who gets shiny at the drop of a dime and could probably benefit from a powdery finish atop or mixed in with foundation. So, if you’re struggling like me, ahead are three expert-approved ways to apply powder makeup without looking too cakey afterward.
Mist and Moisturize
Millie Morales, Garnier Celebrity Beauty Expert, recommends applying ample moisturizing cream before putting on any type of makeup, regardless of your skin type.
“When it comes to powder makeup, I always recommend using a little more moisturizer, as it will help the skin not look so dry,” she says. “I love applying it with a wet Beautyblender—so that the powder makeup melts with the skin and looks natural.”
She also likes to lock in the powder with a facial mist, like Mist & Fix or Garnier SkinActive Soothing Facial Mist with Rose Water. The latter is also a great option for hydrating the skin in between your moisturizer and foundation.
Don’t Apply It Everywhere
Part of mastering powder makeup application is understanding that it doesn’t need to go all over your face. L’Oreal Paris Celebrity Makeup Artist Claudia Betancur says that the type of powder you use will depend on the area you’re treating.
“Under the eyes is ideal to use a very light translucent powder, such as L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Sweep & Lock Translucent Powder because it has a silky texture that doesn’t absorb into the skin’s moisture as other powders do,” she says. “This powder will also prevent wrinkles from showing.”
She also says that the T-zone area is where we can apply a thicker powder, while colored powders overall are the best choice since you can match them to your skin tone to cover up veins or redness.
Dust Before You Apply
Makeup artist Stephanie Flor is also an advocate for moisturizing the skin beforehand, adding that you should always dab the excess moisture with a tissue to make sure the base isn’t overly wet. After that, a skin primer really helps, too, since it creates another layer that powder can sit on instead of seeping into pores or fine lines. But what will really prevent powder from looking too heavy or dry is dusting the formula before it touches your face.
“Many of us will grab powder directly onto our brushes and apply to face. I highly suggest dusting off excess before applying. Also stick to the T-zone for the most powder. Under the eyes should be lightly dusted,” she said.
And since powder is frequently used in countries with high climate levels, she emphasizes that it’s actually meant to last and hold makeup in place…so we should never be afraid to wear it!
“My favorites are the ones like Clinique that have SPF, which protects the skin while wearing them…The great thing about powder is that you can touch it up. So using a hydrating spray helps bring moisture back into the skin instantly.”