POWDER POWER: summer's best base?

About Us page component.


Face powders come in two basic forms: pressed and loose. I tend to evaluate them on the basis of whether they go on sheer, shiny, chalky or heavy, and whether they are too pink, peach, ash or rosy. I consistently prefer face powders that go on sheer and have a silky-soft texture – so silky in fact that when you stick a finger in a loose one it feels as smooth as liquid – with a natural skintone finish and no overtones of red, peach, orange, yellow or green. Having said that, some corrective powders work extremely well if you use them sparingly. Talc* is the most frequently used ingredient in powders in all price ranges, and it’s one of the best ingredients for absorbing oil and giving a smooth finish to the face. Some companies make claims about their talc being a higher grade than others; but the issue of a grade difference cannot be proven and is irrelevant unless the product’s feel and performance are affected. It’s the fineness of the milled particles which makes the difference. Other minerals are used for the same purpose as talc – to mop up excess oil and mattify the complexion, and though they may sound more exotic, they are not necessarily any better for the skin. Conrstarch or rich starch in powders do help create a beautiful texture and these are interesting substitutes for talc, but they can also be a skin concern because there is evidence that they can clog pores and cause spots. Where bronzing powders go, I generally suggest using them to contour or highlight the face, not as all over colour. I actually think it’s extremely difficult to get bronzing powder even – no matter how finely milled it is – over your face, and if you get the wrong shade (which is quite possible since few bronzers come in as many shades as foundations) you end up darkening your face too much for it to ever be real, and look overdone. After all, if a foundation is supposed to match your skin, how can the use of a powder darkens it more than just a nuance be rationalised? Your face will be a colour decidedly different from the neck, and no matter how much you blend there will be a demarcation line somewhere where the colour starts and stops. Also, most bronzing powders are iridescent. Dusting a colour over your face that is darker than your skin tone is bad enough, but why make it more obvious with particles of shine all over, particularly in daylight? Those iridescent particles need to be extremely refined – bypass any bronzer that contains chunks of iridescent pigment – it’s just glitter with a fancy name and your face doesn’t need it. Finally, there is absolutely no need to spend a lot of money on face powder. Regardless of formulation, there is nothing about price that differentiates one from the other and some of the best powders – including those with sunscreen, are available at the budget end of the market.


T Leclerc Loose Powder - as fine as loose powder gets: dip a finger in the pot and it's so well milled it feels like liquid.

New CID I-Glow Compact Shimmer Powder - gives the perfect sunkissed effect with the right amount of sparkle.

*A little note on talc: it has been criticised as a cosmetic ingredient that should be avoided. The concern about talc is not about how it’s used in makeup, but rather when used in large concentrations in the form of talcum powder. Part of the controversy dates back to several studies published in the 1990′s that found a significant increase in the risk of overarian cancer from perineal application of talcum powder. But subsequent and concurrent studies cast doubt on the way these studies were conducted and the conclusions they reached. While more research is being carried out in this area to clear up the confusion, none of the research about the use of talc is related to the way women use makeup. There is no indication anywhere that there is any risk for the face when using products that contain talc. That means you need not avoid using eyeshadows, blushers or face powders that contain it. ..