How to Apply Powder Foundation Makeup

By Sarah Vrba

Hundreds of foundation formulas line the shelves in your local drugstore, which means choosing the right fit for your skin type can feel monumental. While liquid and cream foundations tend to go on smoothly, they sometimes leave behind a heavy or greasy feeling. Powder foundations, on the other hand, can be applied in stages for a light, airy finish, especially for oily or combination skin.

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Skin Prep

Thorough skin preparation helps powder foundation last throughout the day and look smoother and more even. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat dry. Apply a smoothing moisturizer to your face with an SPF of at least 30.

If you have particularly oily skin finish off your preparation routine with a dime-sized amount of mattifying skin primer. This step creates a smooth, matte surface for the powder foundation to adhere to and minimizes shine.


Loose Powder

Many mineral foundations come in loose powder formulas that go on smoothly and require a little practice to apply. Tap about 1/2 teaspoon of the powder foundation into the upturned lid of the container. Dip the tip of a large kabuki or multi-tasking powder brush into the formula, swirling it around to load the product into the fibers. Tap the brush onto the lid to remove any loose particles.

Apply the foundation from the center of your face outward using small circular strokes to buff the powder into the skin. Focus extra attention on any oily or problem areas that need a little extra coverage. Keep blending the product out toward the temples and down towards the neck for even coverage. You might need to reload your brush for full coverage.

Pressed Powder

Many foundations also come in a pressed form. These powders give full coverage when applied correctly and work best with combination and oily skin for a matte finish. Sweep a rounded concealer brush across the top of the powder a few times to load up the bristles.

Press the brush onto the skin and sweep the rounded tip across the skin, working from the center of the face outward. Use gentle, even strokes and reload the brush as necessary to achieve even coverage.

Touch Ups

Powder foundation can also double as a concealer and a quick shine touch-up tool, especially if you purchased a full-coverage formula. Dip a small concealer brush into the loose or set powder to load the bristles. Press and stipple the brush onto the problem area to work in the product.