Face powder has been used for centuries in traditional cosmetics, particularly in Asia. However, like most beauty products on the market nowadays, there are so many new, different products with similar purposes that it can be overwhelming to decide whether it is necessary to even use face powder. In the series, I’ll be explaining different misunderstood makeup products, their purposes and their relation to one another. Scroll down for more information about what face powder’s really about!

The purpose

Face powder’s main purpose is basically to minimize the shiny appearance of oil or grease on the face. Using face powder on top of foundation or concealer helps set it so that it won’t melt off the face or slip around into uneven lines, allowing for even application of makeup. Powder tones the face and gives its complexion an even appearance. Like BB cream, because of the wide variation of human skin tones, face powder comes in a corresponding variety of shades. A common powder used in beauty products is talc (baby powder), which contains absorbent properties and aids in toning the skin. Some powders now contain SPF, which helps reduce skin damage from sunlight and environmental stress. Powder can be applied with a sponge, brush, or powder puff.

Types:There are 2 main types of face powder

Loose powder – Loose powder comes in a jar and consists of small particles with a fine consistency (think mineral powder). It usually give lightweight coverage. Loose powder is also messy and hard to transport, so application of loose powder should best be done at home.

Pressed powder – Pressed powder comes packaged in the form of a handy compact, like the Acymer Traceless Smooth Powder. The particles of pressed powder are larger than the ones in loose powder and using pressed powder gives off a very solid, matte look. Applying too much pressed powder can result in a cakey appearance. Pressed powder provides heavy coverage due to the concentrated amount of particles within the powder, but applying a light coa throughout the day keeps the face oil-free and helps makeup stay on. Pressed powder in a compact often comes with a matching powder puff.

Translucent powder matches all skin tones when blended well. It’s great for killing shine and great for touch-ups throughout the day. Beware that if it isn’t blended well, translucent powder can create flashback (a white cast around the covered area that shows up in pictures). To avoid the flashback, give your powder a test shot. If you’re at the store, apply a strip on your arm and photograph it in a dark place with flash. If the product looks white, it causes flashback. Before a photo shoot, try applying makeup over the powder and take a few photos with flash.

Powder that matches your skin tone adds a little extra coverage and helps conceal any spots or scars that you may have. It can also look thick and heavy, especially as you reapply.


The right powder will disappear on your skin and leave no traces of its application. Try to pick the powder closest to your skin tone—you don't want one that is darker or lighter. Choose the powder based on your personal preferences—if you’re always on the go, a pressed powder compact would be a wiser choice than loose powder. Remember also that light coverage is key! Applying too much powder will not conceal your skin better, it’ll only make it look cakey.


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