If your budget calls for multi-purpose beauty products, you can rest easy with loose powder. This makeup staple can do everything from preventing an oil slick forming on your face to adding some freshness back to your hair. The best part? It usually comes in a big tub that takes forever to finish. Loose powder come in various colours but the most typical shade is “translucent” i.e. translucent (loose) powder. In this post, the terms “loose powder”, “translucent powder” and “powder” are used interchangeably to refer to a powder used to blot oil, control shine and does not serve to provide any additional coverage or colour. To help you out with your shopping and narrow down your choices, I’ve also included a product recommendation list at the end of the post.
- Wear it alone
On days when I don’t feel like wearing foundation, I simply dust a few sheer layers of loose powder over my skin to give a healthy, natural-looking sheen. Not only it mattifies my oily T-zone, it also smooths out pores, lines and wrinkles. Since a translucent powder doesn’t serve to cover up blemishes, I enjoy wearing it on good skin days when I want to let my skin breathe a little.
- Set your foundation
After applying a liquid or cream foundation, powder is an essential product that should be incorporated as the final step in one’s makeup routine. Loose powder seals the moist consistency of foundation and makes it last longer. It also helps to prevent makeup transfer or runoff one may experience in the middle of the day. For people with oily skin, wearing loose powder is a must because it helps to control oil, keeping the face free from shine.
- Plump up your lashes
Loose powder can amp up the volume of your lashes as well. Before mascara application, dust a little loose powder over your lashes. After applying the first coat of mascara, dust some loose powder again. Alternate between coats of mascara and loose powder until you reach your desired level of fluffiness! Just make sure that the first coat of mascara is a little wet so the loose powder adheres to it.
- Apply it over your lids
Oily eyelids can cause your eyeshadows or eyeliner to slip and slide throughout the day. After primer application, dust your eyelids lightly with some loose powder and this helps to prevent the eyeshadow from transferring.
- Blend your eyeshadows
If you ever experience difficulty in blending eyeshadows especially when it comes to dark colours, try this trick. When you’re stuck and it seems like your eye makeup is going to be a total flop, don’t fret! Take some loose powder on your blending brush and blend it over the colour. The loose powder helps to tone down the intensity of the eyeshadow and makes transition between the colours smoother. You can also use loose powder to fix the shape of your eyeshadow. For instance, if the outer V is too far out, you can use some loose powder to “erase” the edges and blend the colours into the new angle you want.
- Long-lasting eyeliner
Before applying an eyeliner pencil along the upper lash line, makeup artist Pat McGrath dusts loose, translucent powder on the lid first as a base. Finish it with another layer of translucent powder once you are done with the eyeliner application. “It keeps the pencil from smudging into the crease when you open your eyes,” McGrath says. This trick also works for liquid or gel eyeliners too!
I didn’t know about this trick until I watched Wayne Goss’ video. I call the sandbagging technique the little sister of the baking technique. Sandbagging simply involves coating a generous layer of loose powder under each eye, as close to the lower lash line as possible before you start your eye makeup. It stops eyeshadow, kohl pencils and mascara from smearing onto the lower lash line. Let the powder sit and work its magic while you smoke your eyeshadow to perfection. Once you’re satisfied, use a clean, fluffy brush to dust off the excess powder below your eyes, along with any traces of fallen shadow.
Baking is a popular follow-up step in the highlightling and contouring routine. It’s a technique first used in backstage makeup and in the drag community. Baking involves coating a cream product with a heavy amount of powder. Similar to the sandbagging technique, use a wedged sponge and coat generous layers of loose powder to the highlighted areas. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of powder and how scary it looks because not a single speck of powder would be left behind once you dust it off! The additional coat of powder helps to seal the consistency cream underneath it. This cream and powder combination gives a brighter, more enhanced and smoother finish to the skin.
- Fix any harsh mistakes
If you’ve applied too much blush, highlighter, or bronzer (whether cream or powder), dust over the area with loose powder to take some colour away and tone it down. It also makes the surface appear smoother and more natural. Makeup remover will cause streaks and you might have to redo your foundation all over again. If you’re thinking of using a tissue, I can foresee you tugging and rubbing your skin and that’s a big no no. Furthermore, you will leave a fuzz behind and trust me, that’s not something you want.
- Buffing everything together
This technique has changed my life and I think many people in the beauty community would agree with me. The Sonia & Fyzza / Wayne Goss Buffing Technique seemed controversial when I first heard of it– buffing a layer of powder over your FINISHED makeup. Hey, that’s not what I’ve learned at all! Wouldn’t it disturb all the beautiful makeup that I painstakingly applied underneath? The buffing technique introduces the use of loose powder to integrate all the cheek products (blush, highlighter, or bronzer) and make them look like a seamless gradient. You can’t figure out where exactly the colours start or end because the makeup looks that natural and beautiful. Watch this video and you will be amazed by Wayne’s demonstration.
- Shiny to matte or make any lipstick last longer
I’ve been using this hack since my teenage years. After applying your first coat of lipstick, take a tissue and pull it apart to only one ply. Grab a fluffy brush and dip it into your loose powder. Take the one ply tissue, place it over your lips and with the other hand, dab the loose powder over the tissue. An optional step but you can choose to press your lips against the tissue to remove any excess lip product and apply the lipstick again. Usually once is enough but I repeat this whole procedure (lipstick-powder-press-lipstick) thrice. Yes, you heard me correctly. Three is a good number and it will definitely make your lipstick last the whole night.
- Dry shampoo
This trick is especially useful when you’re out and you’ve no dry shampoo with you. Loose powder is an excellent substitute for dry shampoo or even baking soda since it is much more finely milled. Dust a smidgen of translucent powder to the roots of your hair to absorb any oiliness. Rub it well to ensure no traces of powder are left behind and you’d be rewarded with clean, fresh-looking and voluminous hair.
- Clean your brushes
I learned this trick when I was working as a beauty advisor at a makeup counter. Sometimes, it’s quite troublesome to alternate between different brushes (foundation, cheek, kabuki etc) and due to time constraint, the most convenient way is to use one brush to complete a whole look on a customer. So if I want to apply more foundation after blush application but the brush I’m holding on is stained pink, what do I do? Swirl the brush in a generous amount of loose powder to take away some of the pink pigment from the brush! If the colour still remain, dab the brush into a powder few shades lighter and that would do the trick. This method works equally well for eye brushes and it has saved me so much time.
- Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder
- Essence Fix & Matte Translucent Loose Powder
- Essence All About Matt! Fiixing Loose Powder
- Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
- MUFE HD Powder
- NARS Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder
- Tarte Smooth Operator Powder