Why You Need a Translucent Face Powder, Not a Tinted One

Set your makeup like a pro.
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Michelle Villett
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Set your makeup like a pro.
nicole-kidman-powder-face

We need to talk.

(And no, Nicole Kidman, I'm not talking to you... we'll address your little powder mishap a bit later.)

No, dear reader—this post is all about that powder you've been using to set your makeup. You know, the one you love, that matches your skin tone exactly?

Maybe you just use it in the morning, or maybe you’re a repeat offender who carries a tinted powder compact in her handbag for touch-ups throughout the day. Either way, I hate to break it to you but… it’s not doing you any favours. (And don't worry, I was making this mistake too.)  Here's the deal:

Translucent powder is the best way to set your makeup

If you want the most flawless, poreless, "I'm naturally gorgeous and don't NEED any makeup" look, you want to be using a translucent powder to set your makeup. As in, one with no colour whatsoever.

See, even Nicole Kidman uses it (in this case, to "catch" any wayward eye makeup as it's being applied—and you know what? I bet she uses it on her whole face to set her makeup too). Except she forgot to blend. Blending is key, ladies!

But I digress...

I recently did a story for Glow magazine on how to get flawless skin, and picked up this tip from Make Up For Ever educator (and makeup artist) Erin McCarthy.

Erin says: "I know a lot of women like to have a compact powder to blot throughout the day. It's fine... but you're going to be adding texture to the skin, so it's going to look like [you're wearing] makeup."

I don't know about you, but I'd rather people noticed my eyes or smile than the layer of cakey powder on my face, which only gets worse throughout the day if you're layering powder on top of powder again and again. (For my beauty ideal, see makeup artist Diana Carreiro's gorgeous, barely-there makeup. ADORE.)

The solution? Besides using a primer or mattifier underneath your makeup (check out these 7 ways to stop shine), you need translucent powder...

Why? Here's Erin again: "[Translucent powder] works for any skin tone and gives a natural skin finish. It takes away shine, but it doesn't add texture." Also: don't freak out when you see how chalky white these powders look! Unless you pull a Nicole, they're going to Blend. Right. In.

Two of the best translucent powders

Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder

I haven't tried this one personally, but does it not sound amazing?

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Erin says: "[This powder] was specifically made for HD and is completely translucent in colour and texture, so it doesn't add any texture, which is crazy. I'm pretty sure it's our top-selling powder. Almost every makeup artist in HD uses it and not because they love Make Up For Ever—it's because they literally can't use any other powder. It actually blurs texture because it reflects light in a soft focus effect. It's [made up of] only one ingredient—pure mineral silica. So it's not some crazy technology, but the quality of it is very high and the mineral is very finely micronized."

Alison Raffaele Transparent Finish Powder

This is what I'm using these days and I'm loving it—it goes on completely clear and gives a nice, even, matte finish. (Great for oily skin types!) The formula is based on cornstarch (not talc) and there are no parabens, mineral oil or fragrances, so I feel like I'm dusting something very pure on my skin. It even comes in a to-go version that I'm dying to get my hands on. Need more proof it's great? Check out the glowing reviews on Makeup Alley.

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What to use if you don't have any translucent powder

Use blotting sheets, of course! For the same reasons as above, look for ones without any powder on them and just blot shiny areas as needed. Ones to try: Clean & Clear Oil-Absorbing Sheets.

So what about you?

Are you a translucent or tinted kind of girl? Or am I the only one who had a beauty breakthrough with this whole powder thing? Ever had a makeup mishap like Miss Kidman here?