The Debate Over Powder Application (Yes, there is one …)


Despite the fascination with enormous, soft, fluffy powder brushes, there’s a pretty good case for never using one. At least not the way most women do.


Is Sally Doing it Right?

There are a number of potential pitfalls when applying powder with a big fluffy powder brush, which is why there is a fair amount of conflicting advice out there on how to use a powder brush.

There’s the traditional camp here, which uses the brush to actually apply the powder to the face, a method that is rife with pitfalls. In this method, one dips or swirls the head of the brush into powder, gives the brush a quick knock to get the excess powder off and then pretty much does what Meg “Sally” Ryan is demonstrating in this gif here. Brushing powder all over their face.

And then you have the Wayne Goss camp here, which uses the brush only to gently knock off extra powder that’s been pressed, or gently rolled, into specific parts of the face with a puff, a method that eliminates a lot of error for women who tend to have a heavier hand applying powder.

Here’s why we back the latter method.

Powder Brush Pitfall No. 1: It’s way too easy to apply too much powder when using a powder brush for application. Especially a very big powder brush.

bigstock-Woman-holding-powder-and-a-bru-39325792It doesn’t matter if you are using pressed powder, which is very fine and a touch more forgiving, or loose powder, which tends to have larger particles and can really build up on the skin in undesirable ways if you aren’t using an extremely light hand in application.

If you apply powder with a brush, you are likely going to end up with too much powder on your face. That may be fine if you’re going for that super-matte, powdered down look. But let’s be honest, this look isn’t very flattering for most people. It usually just just appears as though you are wearing too much makeup. Or a mask of a makeup. (Thank goodness a healthy shine has been in!)

Powder Brush Pitfall No. 2: It’s too easy to damage the underlying placement of the foundation when you apply powder with a brush.

No matter how skillfully light your hand at swiping or stippling powder onto your face, if you have the slightest bit of oiliness to your face, you are likely going to be dragging or moving foundation on your face (away from where you originally put it) as you apply the powder.

So, now, you are likely to be over-powdered and your foundation is no longer as even as originally intended. Good job! (Not!)

bigstock-thick-black-brush-and-loose-po-26365841Powder Brush Pitfall No. 3:  Dust, dust, dust. In your hair. On your clothes. In the air.

This Sally gif really shows what happens when you dust powder all over your face in this manner. It gets powder all over the place. These big brushes are not too precise. So with every flick, the powder dust is sent airborne. Hasn’t everyone seen a woman with dust in her hair, usually around the temples from the side to side swiping motion? Or at the hairline on the forehead? It’s not a good look.

And just to prove that this over-powdering happens to the best of us, you can also find lots of photos of celebrities with powder all over their face.

All this said, if you are super skilled at rolling-yes, rolling-powder on your face with a big powder brush, or gently stroking it downward on your face in short, super-light strokes, then keep using your big powder brush. But that’s really not most people. Proof: Walk around any mall in America and do some people watching.

And seriously, it doesn’t matter which brand of brush you are using or what it’s made of.

To take away the possible pitfalls of powder brushes, the Wayne Goss method is truly error free. And you can still revel in the joy of rubbing a lush big brush on your face. Here you go:

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