Why Are So Many Celebs Wearing Visible White Powder?

First Nicole Kidman, then Eva Longoria, now Ashley Judd (twice!).
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Michelle Villett
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First Nicole Kidman, then Eva Longoria, now Ashley Judd (twice!).
Ashley-Judd-white-powder

Bit of a firestorm happening today over this one, peeps. (At least in beauty circles. Not that we aren't also concerned over the second quake in Japan. We're not completely shallow.) Anyway, today's celebrity news—which is making beauty editors and makeup artists HIGHLY uncomfortable—is the appearance of Ashley Judd on the red carpet with dingin' white powder under her eyes. Not once, no. Twice!

And that's the not the first time a celebrity has stepped out with this particular makeup "look." As you may recall, Nicole Kidman was the frontrunner in this new "trend," and then Eva Longoria really went to town with it.  And now here we are, and most of yous are probably thinking that a) these makeup artists should be fired, because clearly they harbour secret hatred for their clients, or b) the suspected powder, Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder, should be banned. In fact, just a few days before this latest disaster broke, reader Nicky wrote in with this timely question:

Make up forever HD powder, responsible for Nicole Kidman's white powder face according to this blog, but in yours, you were saying it was tha shitz for NOT having cakey white powder all over. Who says the truth? Im concerned, because on your advice, I just ordered the HD powder on Sephora's website... PLZ help!

Oh dear! I don't want to lead anyone astray, so let me reveal what I've learned. Because I'm not giving up on MUFE just yet!

But first, let's take a quick trip down memory lane and re-visit all of these powder disasters...

Here's my Nic, last year, when everyone went ballistic over her makeup:

nicole-kidman-powder-face

(Meanwhile, I thought she looked quite good otherwise. Love that side bun.)

Anyway, the next offender, wearing even MORE powder, was Eva Longoria. Yowza!

Eva-Longoria-white-powder

Though I didn't mention them in my headline, I discovered a couple of other (less highly-publicized) powder mishaps. Uma Thurman:

Uma-Thurman-white-powder

And Drew Barrymore looking like she's auditioning for a kabuki play:

Drew-Barrymore-white-powder

And then, finally, here's the latest on poor Ash:

Ashley-Judd-white-powder-2

Clearly she didn't get the memo about the visible powder the night before, too.

Anyway, here's the deal as I see it:

1. Translucent powder is the BOMB if you want the most natural-looking "real skin" texture. I wrote about this last year, and I still stand by it. When you're using regular compact powder or what have you, it does add texture to the skin, and especially if you touch-up throughout the day, it's going to get a bit cakey and heavy. Translucent powder, which looks white but is colourless on your face, can be used on all skin tones and gives you the most seamless, natural finish.

2. However. You need to apply it SPARINGLY. Let me repeat that. Spar-ing-ly. Get rid of your giant-sized fluffy powder brush or kabuki brush, stat—and instead invest in a domed eyeshadow brush. Yes, eyeshadow brush. You want to dip it in the loose powder, tap of all the excess, and sort of buff your skin. And ONLY apply it on the areas where you tend to shine, such as the forehead and chin. If you've primed correctly, you shouldn't need much at all. (Priming is key, people!)

3. If you're using this powder to "catch" errant eye makeup, don't. You know that old trick where makeup artists apply a bunch of powder under your eyes before they do your shadow and mascara, so that any flaky bits can be quickly dusted clean afterward instead of sticking to your cheeks? It looks to me like that's been done with most of these celebs, and this is absolutely NOT the right product to use for that, because you'll have to use too much of it. Instead, try something like Shadow Shields (at Sephora):

Busted Image

4. You will look amazing  both in person and if you appear on high-definition film. That's what these powders, such as the MUFE one, are made for. HD film is very cruel and unforgiving because it reveals every line and pore—so that's why these prodz have been a boon for anyone in the public eye. They conceal and soften imperfections.

5. But yes, you DO need to be careful around flash photography. It's true. Unfortunately, the flashbulb is like the devil to these products—for some reason, the light reflects off the pigments and, well, we have a situation on our hands. Makeup artist Wayne Goss did a great vid on this, which reader Chelsea brought to my attention a while back:

However, even HE says that it's not problematic unless you apply a lot. So I will direct you back to my point #2—use sparingly.

6. There are other options besides MUFE. While it's still up for debate whether it was indeed MUFE's product that caused these celeb makeup mishaps (the company says it wasn't), there are certainly other options out there. Goss says M.A.C's Prep + Prime Translucent Finishing Powder doesn't do this... and there's a great post here with swatches of various powders so you can see how they perform. MUFE does, unfortunately, produce the most whitish cast under flash. But I'm still a fan, and because I'm really not photographed all that often, it's not really a problem for me on a day-to-day basis. Your mileage may vary.

Are you a fan of these types of powders?
Ever had a mishap of your own?
Will you still wear 'em or is the flash photography business enough to scare you off?