Best face powders for a flawless modern glow
It’s been a minute since anyone was talking about powder. The needle on beauty’s hype-meter has been hovering somewhere between fresh, dewy 'yoga' skin and eye-blindingly radiant highlighter for at least a couple of years, if not more.
But in that time formulators in cosmetics labs everywhere have been re-inventing the stuff that used to leave skin smooth and matte but more often than not, also dry and chalky. The results? new-gen setting powders that fix makeup in place and provide an unbelievably flawless finish. Plus, thanks to innovative new ingredients, you won’t have to forgo the pursuit of lush, healthy ‘real-skin’ texture.
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New iterations either focus on delivering a flattering, blurring, soft-focus veil that helps to minimise fine lines (unlike predecessors that had the tendency to settle in and amplify them) or weightless particles that set makeup in place without the feeling of additional product building up.
bh loves: (clockwise from L) Revlon All Over Powder Brush, $18 , Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light, $83, Lancôme Long Time No Shine Setting Powder, $70, Elizabeth Arden High Performance Blurring Loose Powder, $85, Giorgio Armani Micro-Fil Loose Powder, $88
“While there will always be a demand for glowing, fresh-looking skin, there is certainly a swing back to more subtle techniques in highlighting,” says makeup artist Kath Gould, who's work varies between high-profile TV productions to editorial fashion work.
“I think social media influencer makeup trends are starting to back away from heavy-handed baking, contour and strobing and I’m seeing a more delicate approach to refining and perfecting beautiful skin, more like the techniques employed by makeup artists in the high-end fashion world.”
Gould says there’s no longer the need to choose between matte or radiance, instead working with modern skin finishing products that walk the line between.
She uses ultra-fine powder for setting concealer especially in areas where you want to avoid it looking caked, like under the eyes, and also favours Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light, famed for delivering an effect similar to standing near a flattering light source. “It’s a diffused, soft powder which is great as a very subtle contour/ bronzer on fair skin or as a finishing powder on darker skin tones. It has a very unique texture that blurs imperfections, is barely detectable and adds dimension, radiance and a healthy glow to the face without looking cakey or heavy. ” She also calls on blotting papers for removing shine without adding extra product.
Lochie Stonehouse, Director of Artistry for YSL and Giorgio Armani Beauty, agrees that textures have changed but also suggests thinking about strategic placement. “Powders these days tend to be more finely-milled, meaning smaller individual particles of powder. This just equates to a more natural look and lighter feel. Giorgio Armani Micro-fil Loose Powders don’t make the skin look too flat, chalky or ashy and because they’re transparent and have no colour, they can be used on any skin tone, meaning you don’t need to own as many powders as you tan and lighten up throughout the different seasons.”
“In regards to application, gone are the days of matting down 100% of the face. We’re now only powdering the forehead, between the eyebrows, on either side of the nose, above the lip, and on the chin. This maintains a beautiful glow in the right areas, and keeps the ‘hot-spots’ nice and matte.”
Stonehouse also suggests using a fluffier brush for a lighter pay-off. “The more powder you press into the one area, the more flat and dull the area will look. Try applying a lighter dusting of powder for a blurred satin finish. This way you won’t be completely killing-off all the initial glow that your foundation beneath provided.”
Which face powder do you swear by?