Compared to liquid foundations, powder foundations are easier to apply. There are many different brands to choose from, ranging from high end, like Bobbi Brown, to more affordable drugstore ones, such as Maybelline. It’s important to consider your skin type and texture, so it can be difficult to choose a foundation that works for you.
Here, we’ll show you 10 different powder foundations that you can buy online. We’ve also thrown a few tips at you—like how to choose foundation based on skin type, or what makeup tool is best. So let’s find a foundation that’ll make you into the picture of Dorian Gray.
How to Choose a Powder Foundation
Here are some key points to consider when picking out a powder foundation.
Matte for Silky Skin, Dewy for Glow
A matte finish gives your face a smooth look, like a blank canvas. However, applying too much of a matte foundation can emphasize your pores and give you a cakey look, so thin layers work best. This finish is best used for oily skin types, as it can help control oil flow throughout the day.
Dewy finishes are perfect for when you want healthy, glowing skin. These foundations can cover pores and fine lines while giving you that bright-eyed, fresh-faced look. Since this adds shine, it is usually recommended for those with dry skin.
Flaky? Oily? Sensitive? Look for Ingredients Your Skin Needs
Many powder foundations these days will moisturize or protect your skin from the sun. Depending on the type of skin you have, there is a range of formulas to choose from.
Moisturizing for Dry Skin
Powder foundations don’t contain much oil. On top of that, they absorb sebum, the oils produced on your face. For those with dry skin, this is less than ideal. Choosing a powder foundation that has moisturizing ingredients, such as collagen and ceramide, can help keep skin looking hydrated.
Minerals for Sensitive Skin
Some foundations have skin-irritating ingredients, such as silicone. Those with sensitive skin are better off avoiding these. Instead, opt for a mineral foundation.
Mineral foundations are natural and gentle on the skin. They are extremely light and comfortable to wear. Though the coverage is sheer, you can pile on layers and still let your skin breathe.
Lustrous Pressed Powders for Acne-Prone Skin
For those with large pores and acne, using a pressed powder foundation is best. The large particles in the powder can cover imperfections without getting caught in fine lines.
If you don’t have large pores, a finely milled powder foundation works great. It slides on to the skin smoothly. Some are pearly or lustrous, which’ll cover dullness and pores more effectively.
Avoid That Boiled Lobster Look: Sun Protection
Nowadays, many foundations boast SPF for sun-worshippers. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause spots on the skin and premature wrinkles. In addition, it can also make skin dry out and become sensitive, which’ll result in acne. If you don’t wear sunscreen daily, getting a foundation with SPF can give your skin the protection it needs.
Regardless of the season, guard your skin from the sun. Just because you’re being drenched by April showers doesn’t mean that UV rays have just disappeared; wearing a foundation with SPF will guarantee some protection. And in summer, you might need an extra layer of sunscreen beneath your makeup to prevent sunburn.
Vary Your Coverage: Two-Way Powder Foundations
Some powder foundations can be applied both wet and dry, making them versatile. For sheer to light coverage, use the powder as it is. When you want medium to full coverage, just dampen your beauty sponge, and use that to apply the foundation. So, throw on a light layer for a run to the gym—then add in the water for a night out clubbing.
Top 10 Best Powder Foundations to Buy Online
We’ll list our recommended powder foundations down below. Hopefully, you’ll find one that suits you.
10. Bobbi Brown Skin Weightless Powder Foundation
Start the Day Feeling Weightless
Slip this compact in your purse, and slide the foundation onto your face. As the name implies, the formula is very lightweight, but is still able to give good coverage. Once applied, it comes out to a natural matte finish, and stays that way throughout the day. It’s best for normal to oily skin types.
This is one of the more expensive options on the list. There’s also only 17 shades, ranging from a baked porcelain to light espresso. The foundation itself is fragile, and there have been instances of the product crumbling prematurely.
9. Lancôme Dual Finish Multi-tasking Powder Foundation
Versatile with Many Shades
This Lancôme foundation provides sheer to full buildable coverage. It can be applied wet or dry, and has 35 different shades. It works heavy duty to cover imperfections, but feels lightweight on the skin. The finish is matte, natural.
For wrinkles, try dabbing it on with a wet sponge. As it dries, it’ll tauten on your face, smoothing it out like the skin of a drum. But, to those with acne-prone skin: there’s a chance that this foundation can make skin more oily and cause breakouts, so buyer beware.
8. Make Up Forever Pro-Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation
Finish Your Foundation Like a Pro
Best for normal to combination skin, the formula is easy to blend without being cakey. You can layer for light to full coverage, and apply it both wet and dry. Those with sensitive noses will be happy to hear that this product is fragrance free. With a natural matte finish, it comes in 25 shades to choose from.
Make Up Forever is on the pricier side, and this foundation can settle in to fine lines and accentuate wrinkles. It’ll also oxidize throughout the day—which means, like an apple, it’ll go 2 or 3 tones darker in the open air. So use a primer, or go for a lighter shade.
7. Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Compact Powder Foundation
Backed by Dermatologists
An afforable and oil-free option for those who want a radiant, but natural finish to their look. It’s noncomedogenic, meaning that it won’t clog pores, as well as lightweight and fragrance-free. It’s available in both loose and pressed powder, depending on your preference. It won’t settle into fine lines or wrinkles, and gives a sheer to medium coverage without feeling heavy.
The coverage can be considered too sheer for some, and may wear off easily throughout the day. There are only 8 shades to choose from, the darkest being a sun-kissed bronze.
6. Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Powder Foundation
Build It, Wet It, Cover Yourself in Any Way
This foundation can be applied using both wet and dry techniques. It has a buildable light to full coverage with a demi-matte finish. The lightweight and creamy formula allows you to add multiple thin layers without being flaky or patchy. Ultra Definition Powder plays nice with aging skin, covering lines and pores instead of settling in to them.
It is more on the expensive side, something to keep in mind if you’re on a budget. The shade range is extremely limited, with only 5 shades to choose from, starting at a pink beige and ending at milk chocolate. Some have experienced the finish to be too powdery, while others have reported that the product oxidizes to an orange for those with lighter skin.
5. Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Powder Foundation
Stay Affordably Matte
A popular and affordable drugstore choice, with quality often compared to that of higher-end makeup. The Maybelline Fit Me powder keeps oil under control and has a matte, airbrushed finish. It gives light to medium coverage, and isn’t cakey. You can use it alone as a powder foundation or on top of your liquid foundation as a setting powder.
The shade range is limited, with 16 shades to choose from, starting at translucent and stopping at mocha. Although it applies well, it doesn’t last long, three to five hours at most for some.
4. Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder
Smooth Your Troubles Away
Laura Mercier’s Smooth Finish Foundation Powder is oil-free, fragrance-free, and noncomedogenic. Suitable for all skin types, it can be applied with wet and dry techniques. Depending on which technique you choose, the finish can either be matte (dry application) or natural (wet application). The foundation covers blemishes and smooths out the skin without settling into fine lines. And we give it another point for being water-resistant.
There’s a limited shade range with this one–namely 20–from a golden light beige to a medium coffee. It’s pricey, and gets chalky if you layer it on.
3. Nyx Stay Matte But Not Flat Powder Foundation
Stay in the Loop While Looking Great
Another affordable and popular brand, Nyx’s Stay Matte But Not Flat powder foundation comes in 30 shades. It’s lightweight and has a matte finish. Stay Matte’s coverage is stunning, enough to cover acne scars, and can double as a setting powder. The color payoff is amazing and lasts throughout the day, even with heat and humidity at work. The formula is smooth to the touch and isn’t flaky when applied. It works well with all skin types.
There’s not a lot of product in the compact, so this one can run out quickly if it’s an everyday use. Some users have claimed the powder oxidizes on their face after a few hours, something to watch out for.
2. BareMinerals Original Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15
Bare It All with Sun Protection
With 30 shades to choose from, BareMinerals Original Foundation gives extremely buildable coverage. Whether you’re feeling one layer or five, BareMinerals has got you covered. It gives the skin a natural, radiant finish, and is safe for sensitive skin.
As well as being noncomedogenic, it’s good for all skin types and allows the skin to breathe. The lightweight formula gives you the no-makeup look while providing up to 8 hours of coverage and wear. The SPF 15 is an added bonus, which gives you basic sun protection if you plan on wearing this alone.
1. MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation
Controlling Shine for 12 Hours
A longtime fan favorite, MAC’s Studio Fix gives medium to full coverage that’s easy to apply and blends well. It’ll cling to your skin for up to 12 hours, and comes in an incredible range of 53 shades. While it’s suitable for all skin types, it works best for oily skin. This foundation controls oil and shine throughout the day, keeping your face matte and photo-friendly.
Studio Fix doesn’t melt off in the heat, keeping your blemishes, pores, and other imperfections covered. The velvety texture of the formula allows the skin to breathe, and is non-drying.
How to Apply Powder Foundations
Depending on what makeup tools you use, the results of powder foundation can differ. Brushes and sponges will give you different levels of coverage, so knowing which one to use is beneficial.
Pat with Sponges or Swipe using Brushes
These two makeup tools can give you two separate looks, since they pick up the foundation powder differently. Sponges are firmer and give better coverage; brushes are fine and the powder goes on sheer.
The best way to use a makeup sponge is to pick up product using one-third of the sponge, then apply it to your face. With a brush, you can swirl it in the foundation and tap off the excess before applying. If you miss a spot, you can always add more coverage. But if you add too much foundation at once, it will look cakey.
Smooth Out from the Center
When using a powder foundation, the best way to apply it on your face is first the cheeks, then forehead, followed by the nose and chin.
Since the center of your face is where you apply the most foundation, you should start there first. Work your way from the center to the rest of your face to create a more three-dimensional look. Makeup tends to crease and fall apart around the eyes. Instead of adding more foundation to your brush, use the leftover powder already on there to work your bags, crows feet, eyelids.
Don’t Forget the Neck
Many people forget about blending foundation down their neck. But if your face and neck are different colors, it’ll seem as if you only have a floating head, so keep yourself one uniform color.
If applying with a sponge, the residue foundation on it will be enough to color the neck. When you use a brush, shake off the leftover foundation before fishing for more product. Also, blend from your jawline down to your collarbones. This way, the foundation will fade into your skin for a natural look.
Have any of these products caught your interest? Powder foundation has many good points, but you want to make sure to choose one that fits your skin type and texture.
If you choose the right powder foundation for your skin, you’ll be able to save a lot of time getting ready in the morning. We hope one of these products is right for you!
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