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Is Powdered or Liquid Foundation Better?

You may be wondering what the difference between liquid and powdered foundations are, and whether their varied formulas really do make all the difference. As a general rule, these different foundation products both cater to different looks and finishes. So to cut the waffle and give you the short answer – the one you choose to use really depends on YOU. Here’s how to decide on the correct foundation type for you:

Post written by Leanne Perilly

Your skin type 

Your specific skin type is an important teller as to whether you will benefit most from a powdered or liquid foundation product. As an oily skin sufferer, you are perhaps best sticking with powdered foundations, as these tend to be oil-free and help to blot the skin, giving a more mattified finish.

However, as a dry skin sufferer, you are perhaps best using liquid foundations which contain essential oils and moisturising ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, to prevent your skin from drying out throughout the course of the day.

Your desired coverage 

For those who want to achieve the natural no-makeup look, powdered foundation is the perfect option for you. Powdered products provide a more sheer, natural coverage compared with thicker liquid products. 

In contrast, if your desired look is more dramatic and full coverage (such as an evening look), you may want to trade sheer for heavy. In this case, liquid foundation is perfect for covering all blemishes, discolouration and imperfections to create a smooth, airbrushed finish. If you wish, you can apply liquid foundation followed by powdered foundation, to produce a full coverage but more natural, soft focus complexion. 

Dewy or matte finish? 

There are generally two types of finish you should consider when applying foundation – are you trying to achieve a smooth matte finish, or a radiant dewy finish?

As a general rule, most types of liquid products (cream foundations, liquid highlighters, setting sprays, etc), tend to create more dewy, shinier complexions. In comparison, dry products (powdered bronzers, blushes, eyeshadows) create more mattified, smooth bases. It is important to take this into consideration when deciding which type of foundation to buy.

Why not both? 

Why choose? You can use a combination of both liquid and powdered products! However, it is important to note that there is a specific order when it comes to applying these different foundation formulas.

As recommended by all the top beauticians and makeup artists, powdered foundations sit atop the skin far better when applied on top of liquid foundation, never the other way around. This goes for almost all makeup products – for instance, applying powder blush followed by a cream blush will cause the product underneath to shift around on the supple surface of the skin, causing the powdered product on top to slip and slide, making it clump together, forming a cakey residue.

So by all means apply both liquid and powdered foundations, if the look you wish to achieve is more full coverage. Just avoid making the mistake of applying them in the wrong order.

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