TO powder or not to powder? That is the question in this, the third in the series The Best Make-Up For Women Over 50.
For most mature women, powder is public enemy number one. But most of us grew up using powder cosmetics; those born in the ’40s use pressed powder instead of foundation, baby boomers were taught to set their liquid foundation with translucent powder and to combat an afternoon oil slick, and nearly all of us have used powder blush.
So why is powder a problem? Unfortunately, it can be unflattering for two reasons.
1. Matte means flat. When you’re young, your skin has a natural glow. If you have oily skin, that glow can get out of hand so powder is useful. However, most women find that, after 50, their skin dries out and powder can leave mature skins looking dry and flat. Not to mention drawing attention to those wrinkles. So as the glow of youth diminishes, you need to enhance it, not hide it! So stick to sheer translucent powders and steer clear of anything with beige or pink undertones as these will age you.
2. Facial hair. The other thing to watch for is the effect of powder on fine, downy facial hair. Powder clings to the hairs and makes them far more obvious, especially in bright light.
Related: How to look fabulous at 50 — and beyond
Related: How to age gracefully
However, if used without foundation, powder can give skin a smoother, more polished look and minimise pores. It is also a must for setting your make-up for a more dramatic evening look. And pressed onto the eyelids allows eye make-up to sit better and last longer. (I have oily skin and, consequently, rarely wear eyeshadow. But when I do, I always powder my eyelids. It works every time.)
Powder is lightest and most natural looking when it’s used in its loose form. Loose powders can be used instead of foundation to even out skin tone, and cut down on the midday shine with an oil-free matte formula. There’s also a wider selection of colours than pressed powder and they can be custom blended. Add some sheen to dry skin by dabbing on a moisturising, iridescent loose powder. But if applied with a powder puff, loose powder can build up and clog oily skin, sit in fine lines and create a “chalky” effect on mature skin.
Pressed powder is more convenient but the powder sits more heavily on the face and dulls a delicate, dry complexion. Apply with a damp latex sponge or pad for heavier coverage and quick T-zone touch ups. For a lighter, loose-powder look, choose triple-milled compact powder versions and apply with a large powder brush lightly swept across your face. Always use powder sparingly, especially around your eyes.
* Chanel Pressed Powder
* Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder
* Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Looks Powder
* Estee Lauder Perfecting Loose Powder
* Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Powder Foundation
* Glo Minerals Luxe Setting Powder
* Genie Translucent Setting Powder
* Cover FX Matte Setting Powder
* M.A.C’s Blot Powder
If you’re using powder to blot oily skin, alternatively, try blotting papers. Great for removing any excess oil before applying primer and foundation. Then use them throughout the day to remove excess oil without the build-up of powder. Try Tatcha Japanese Blotting Papers, M.A.C Blot Film, or Nyx Blotting Papers. Read here for more.
On a budget? Separate (pull apart) a tissue — you should get two or three sheets — place one over face and, with your fingers and palms of your hands, gently blot your forehead, eyes, brow bones, sides of nose, cheeks and chin.
If you missed the earlier posts of this series, read the rest here.
Part 1: The best primers for women over 50
Part 2: The best foundations and concealers for a more mature face
Part 4: The 11 best blushes for a more youthful flush
Part 5: The secret to beautiful brows
Part 6: The 10 best mascaras for lustrous lashes
Part 7: The best lipsticks for more mature lips
NEXT: The best blushes for a more youthful glow
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All products mentioned are available from department stores, selected pharmacies and drug stores, and specialist make-up stores (such as Mecca Cosmetica and Sephora)
— except where I have made direct links. Other online beauty sites include
StrawberryNet, Beautylish, Adore Beauty, Priceline, Chemist Warehouse, PM Studio, and Cosme-De.com
For tutorials on how to apply your make-up, go here.
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Do you have a product that you can’t live without? Got a favourite make-up for mature skin? A go-to product? Care to share? Would love to hear from you. Ever stylishly yours …