Flat lay of face powders, makeup brushes and blending sponges

From translucent to mineral, face powder comes in many shapes, sizes and textures. Not sure which face powder is right for you? Not to worry, we’ll explain it all in this ultimate guide to face powder.

Flat lay of face powders, makeup brushes and blending sponges

What Is Face Powder?

It a nutshell it's a cosmetic that you put on to set foundation, or on a lighter day, BB or CC cream. You can find a variety of finishes on the market - some mattify, some add glow and others can give you a chiselled Kim K-approved contoured look.

What's the Difference Between Finishing Powders & Setting Powders? 

Well, we're glad you asked because this can slip up many a MUA-in the making. A setting powder does exactly what it says on the tin - it sets your makeup. Which means you can get more life our of your foundation/concealer etc. A finishing powder is as close to a real-life filter as you can get as it often blurs pores and softens up the texture. 

You can also apply them differently too. You can use a damp blending sponge to gently press the setting powder into key areas. Whereas for finishing powder only a light dusting with a brush is needed.   

What Types of Powder Are Out There?

Translucent Powder

A firm favourite among the beauty gurus. Translucent powder can come both in a loose form as well as pressed. It’s commonly used to mattify and prevent shine while not altering the colours of your concealer or foundation because it’s see-through (the clue is in the name!)

You can also use translucent powder to “bake”. This means popping on an extra thick layer of translucent powder underneath your eyes or in areas you’d like some extra refinement in and letting it sit for a few minutes. This will allow the product to warm up on your skin, with the final step being simply dusting off what’s left visible. Et voila – flawlessly matte complexion!

Rimmel Rimmel Match Perfection Loose Powder Translucent 1 £6.99 Buy Now

Finishing Powder

This kind of face powder is used to conceal the appearance of pores or fine lines. Can a translucent powder also be a finishing powder? Of course! It is also perfect for "baking"! Not all finishing powders are translucent though, a good variety have beautiful pigments that can further enhance your complexion.

Revolution Revolution Bake and Finish Powder £5.00 Buy Now

Mineral Powder

If you are keen on makeup with less chemicals, looking into mineral makeup could be a good idea for you. Mineral face powders are exactly that – powder retrieved from minerals; some even come with added vitamins. You can get a mineral face powder either pressed or loose.

Mineral powders are used by the pros in place of a foundation, so only use it to cover your base if you are going for a full coverage look. 

GOSH GOSH Mineral Full Coverage Foundation Powder Ivory 002 £9.99 Buy Now

Pressed Compact Powder

Can you believe that a pressed compact powder can be mineral, translucent and finishing all at the same time? It’s true. Having said that, it doesn’t have to be. Pressed powder is to do with the texture of the product. It’s smoothly pressed into a compact which makes it the perfect and neat travel companion. A lot of face powders that are pressed in compact form come pigmented, so you can find one that works for your skin tone.

Revolution Revolution Pressed Powder Porcelain £2.00 Buy Now

Loose Powder

Just like pressed face powder, the loose option can also be mineral or translucent or finishing or all of the above. The difference between pressed and loose is that loose can often be messier and you may need a bigger powder brush to pop it on (that is after you’ve shaken off the excess!)

Sacha Cosmetics Sacha Loose Buttercup Banana Powder Set £19.99 Buy Now

Banana Powder

No it's not the latest protein powder flavour, it's actually a yellow-toned powder (hence, it's 'banana' name) that not only sets concealer but also colour corrects too. It's perfect for disguising dark circles and blemishes and has been pioneered by the likes of MUA Mario Dedivanovic. Well, if it's good enough for the Kardashians...

Revolution Revolution Luxury Banana Powder £5.00 Buy Now

What’s the Right Powder for My Skin Type?

Dry Skin

Because face powders may sometimes accentuate dry patches on the skin, it’s best to use a small touch of powder using a big fluffy brush after you’ve moisturised and put foundation on.

Oily Skin

Introduce your skin to its new best friend, the translucent powder. It will help keep shine at bay for a longer time. Let’s leave this whole shining business to the highlighter.

Mature Skin

Finishing powders can help to minimise the visible signs of pores and wrinkles, so investing in one could be a great idea for those with mature skin.

b translucent powder

I Want Light Coverage

To achieve the natural look, simply apply a BB, CC cream or tinted moisturiser and lightly dust over some mineral face powder. Hello glow from within!

I Want Full Coverage

After you’ve applied your foundation, follow with powder that you’ve matched with your skin tone. This will ensure full  coverage, and if you work in air conditioned environments or are prone to your skin getting oily throughout the day, simply top up throughout the day, paying extra attention to your T-Zone.