How to Use Powder Foundation Without Looking Dusty AF

Powder foundation, in my opinion is always the easiest and fastest to apply. It’s my favorite form of foundation because it’s so incredibly easy and quick to put on. Mom Sass uses powder foundation and it was the first type of foundation I ever learned how to use! 

However, even though I’ve used it for many long periods of time, I didn’t know how to use it properly until recently. 

Isn’t that sad? I used it for a majority of my teenage years and for some long stretches in college (every summer during college, most springs too) and now retrospectively I think I looked like a hot mess.

(Me as a teenager…. don’t laugh, you probably were awkward too!)

During my teenage years I only used it on a few occasions and used it sparingly, so I didn’t encounter the problem that I had in college… where I looked dusty.

(My hair looks so cute in this picture by the way!)

(This one too! I was obsessed with the NuMe curling iron when I first got it!)

As you can tell by the various hair lengths and styles… numerous times in college, same mistake. A dusty, chalky, flat-looking face. 

But now?

My face makeup is significantly more fresh, natural, and nice looking! Still using powder foundation… but I have a few tricks and tips for you all! So keep reading, if you don’t want to look dusty and cakey.

  1. If you need more coverage, use concealer. A problem that I had in college was random spots and dark under eyes (I’ve since learned to embrace my face’s quirks and to wear lighter face makeup as a whole). Instead of wearing concealer ortinted moisturizer under my powder I would just use a crap-ton of powder. It’s not a cute look and settles into fine lines in excess.
  2. You only need a bit. I used to grab tons of powder, which of course led to me looking like someone chucked a chalkboard eraser at me! You probably don’t need as much powder as you think, so start with some and really buff and blend it in before you grab some more.
  3. Blend your powder. This is so important! Buff the foundation into your skin and really blend it in. Don’t layer unblended powder on top of unblended powder.
  4. Tap off the excess. A really good powder won’t have tons of kick-back or a huge powder mountain on your brush. Tap off the excess before you apply it to your face.
  5. Brushes matter. Okay, confession. I used to use really thick, hard, coarse random blush brushes to apply my powder foundation. This was problematic because it picked up WAY too much product and did not blend into my face properly. Use a soft, good brush that will buff, blur and blend your powder into your face. It will make a lifetime of difference, I swear.
  6. Use a moisturizer or primer beforehand. Don’t put dry powder on dry, patchy skin! Powder foundations work better if there’s a little something that it can adhere to. I personally don’t like face primer so I use a moisturizer so that my face is smooth and soft!
  7. Be extra sparing on your nose. Powder foundation is particularly unflattering on the nose, so I only brush on a tiny bit with whatever is leftover from applying to my face!
  8. Apply a bit of highlight and bronzer. Slightly contouring or even applying bronzer to warm up your face makes a world of difference. It gives your face depth and makes it look less flat and one-dimensional. Highlight will brighten up your face and make it seem less pancake-y. I don’t do a full on contour but I just apply a bit of highlight, and some bronzer to my cheeks!
  9. Make sure your powder matches. I used to use too-light powder for a long time. It wasn’t a problem when I was younger and didn’t apply much on, but when I was in college and making all these mistakes it was super obvious and not very flattering! Make sure your foundation matches your skin.
  10. Cream products on top of powder are no bueno. They combine and create a really strange texture. A bit of highlight will probably be fine, but cream blush or contour will be weird upon blending.
  11. Just because you’re using powder doesn’t mean it has to be dry af. There are some powders out there that are dry as sand, and some that are buttery smooth and blendable. You just have to be looking out for the right product! I’m going to do a post on drugstore powder foundation recommendations soon!
  12. Flash photography isn’t your friend. Just be careful for me, okay?

I currently use the MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix in NC 25. I used to not like it, because I didn’t know how to use it properly!

I hope that this post was helpful to you all! Face powder is truly super easy and fast to apply. But sometimes, when something is super easy we end up making mistakes (like I did in college!). Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you out, if you’re going to give face powders a go! 

Have you tried face powders? Do you like them? What’s your go-to foundation type?



11 thoughts on “How to Use Powder Foundation Without Looking Dusty AF

  1. Loved my powder foundation until something started making it irritate my skin, not sure if it is the foundation or the brush because I cleaned the brush.

    But one thing I found that really helps it from looking cakey was making sure I exfoliated my skin at least once a week, if not twice. It helps with the moisturizer because you’re getting all the dead skin off instead of just matting it to you skin again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What kind of brush do you use? I find with face brushes I used to use, that they don’t retain their shape or bristles and can get funky. I invested in the UD optical blurring brush and it has stayed phenomenal for over a year!

      It might also be because of seasonal reasons? I find that some products work better for me during certain times of the year than others! And it also could be the foundation, like you said!

      That exfoliating tip is such a good one! It’s so true about your dead skin and the makeup sticking to it. It definitely helps if your skin is fresh and clean. I’m so bad about keeping up with my skincare!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well it’s the same brush I’ve had forever.. Like going on 8 years. But I’ve cleaned it religiously. And it still feels like the day I got it. And it’s the one that you get for the Bare Minerals powder foundation.

        I only use their stuff because it matches my skin tone scary genius well.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If the brush has been continuously good it might be because of the season/some other reason! I’ve tried Bare Minerals but I’m not a huge fan of loose powder. But I do think they have the best matching system for foundations.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. They do! It’s why I’m so nervous to move away from them. The liquid foundation is so amazing and just… there’s no word to describe how well it matches. They definitely get that there are cool and warm tones under the skin.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The one thing I do appreciate about MAC’s NC/NW/W/C shade system is that it’s so easy to purchase a foundation that matches me once I know my number. I can always easily google NC20 (whatever foundation, like L’Oréal or something) and I’ll be able to find my color match instantly. I’ve tried the BM tinted moisturizer and it’s nice!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. See when you’re my level of Icey pale aka Vampire White no drug store brand will have a true ivory that works.


    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post! If you do get yourself matched at MAC it makes it so much easier to find your shade for future foundations! I just google NC20 (foundation name) and the internet instantly pops up shade dupes!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem! MAC is great because they cover SO many undertones so I’m sure you’ll be able to find a good match! Just make sure you find an associate that’s helpful!

        Liked by 1 person

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