Powder vs. Liquid Makeup

Pros and Cons of Powder Makeup

Powder-based foundation is dry or almost dry. It differs from pressed face powder in that it contains adhesion ingredients that help it cling to the skin. It also has a higher concentration of pigments to conceal flaws like uneven skin tone and blemishes.

The benefits of powder makeup:


  • It provides sheer coverage for a more natural look. (Although there are full coverage options for powder foundation, it's probably easier to get very sheer, light coverage using powder and a Kabuki brush applicator. A quality brush applicator will help you achieve a professional look more easily when using powder foundation. Brushes are fun to experiment with, too.)
  • Powder works well with young or oily skin because it tends to absorb oily residue.
  • Powdered mineral makeup may contain fewer preservatives and other additives than conventional foundation products.
  • Dry foundation tends to stay put in warm weather or during those times when perspiration (ahem, glistening) can be a problem.
  • Since it goes on almost like face powder, powdered makeup can be reapplied easily during the day as needed.

The disadvantages of powder makeup:

  • Powder usually requires a brush application method that may be challenging for beginners. Inexpertly applied makeup can result in incomplete coverage and a splotchy finish.
  • Some loose powder products can be messy. If you like to add makeup after you're dressed for the day, you'll have to be careful.
  • Powder foundation may settle into fine lines and wrinkles, or aggregate around dry or damaged skin. (This is usually a training issue that diminishes somewhat with practice and experience.)
  • Powder foundation is applied in multiple, light layers, so it may take longer to put on makeup in the morning, especially when striving for fuller coverage.
  • Using a powder foundation may cause uneven pigment distribution on wearers with combination skin (an oily T-zone but otherwise dry skin).

Powder foundation is a good choice for younger users who want light coverage and a natural finish. It helps control excess oil around the forehead and nose area, avoiding the need for frequent reapplication. It may take a little time to develop the knack of blending it evenly, though. Because it tends to sit on the surface of the skin instead of being absorbed into the skin like a liquid product, it may also be less likely to cause clogged pores and blemishes.