Try These Tricks to Get a Natural-Looking Finish with Powder Foundation

No cake-face here!
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No cake-face here!

As far as foundation goes, I’ve pretty much always worn liquid because I like how smooth the finish is; on the couple of occasions that I tried powder, I found the look to be too chalky or cakey. What I do love about powders, though, is that application time seems quicker, and they tend to keep my oiliness in check a little better. 

I recently began playing around and found a few things that help make my powder foundation look more fresh and skin-like.

Be picky about your product

Finding a powder that's right for you is important. I’ve tried a few different powder foundations but found that they were either too cakey on me, didn’t provide enough coverage, or caused my skin irritation. I finally landed on the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural because it has buildable coverage and a nice dimension to it.

MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Medium Deep

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Deep

Pick the right tool

There are a wide variety of powder brushes available, but I’ve found that a larger, fluffy brush is the best for applying powder foundation. I like the Real Techniques Powder Brush because although there are a ton of bristles, they aren’t super densely packed together. 

Real Techniques Powder Brush

Real Techniques Powder Brush

When I use a densely packed brush to apply powder foundation, it picks up too much product and deposits it heavily on my face. With the more loosely packed bristles, I can build up to my desired level of coverage.

Spot conceal

Usually I apply concealer after foundation, but since we’re using powder, I go ahead and spot conceal where necessary. I tend to get some little spots here and there, but I skip those and just cover my darker blemish scars and conceal the under eye area.

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer NC 42

I'm using Mac Pro Longwear Concealer in NC 42.


With my fluffy powder brush, I take a little bit of powder and buff it in circular motions all over my face, adding powder for extra coverage where needed.

powder application 4.jpg

Spritz that face!

After I’ve applied my powder foundation, I take a rosewater spray and spritz all over my face a couple of times. This helps the powder foundation “melt” into the skin a bit, giving a more natural finish. 

If you feel like you’re too dewy after the spray settles you can go back over your face with the powder brush (no added product) to blend everything out really well.

Glossier Soothing Face Mist

I use the Glossier Soothing Face Mist, but any hydrating spray will do.


The final piece of the powder-foundation puzzle is to add a little extra luminosity to the skin with your favorite highlighting powder. This is not an absolute necessity, but I find it really pulls together the look. I just add a bit of highlighter to the tops of my cheekbones and just above my cupids bow.

I used the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Rose Gold (on the lips: Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey).

I used the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Rose Gold (on the lips: Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey).

  • Do you prefer liquid or powder foundations? 
  • What are your favorite powder formulas?