Powder vs. Liquid Foundation Makeup: What’s Best for My Skin Type?

Updated: 9/7/14. When it comes to wearing makeup, many women wear either liquid, cream or powder foundation makeup to even out their skin tone and give it a smoother look. Some wear it every day and others will wear it just for special occasions. Since this is considered a beauty staple, it’s important to purchase the right kind of foundation that is most compatible with your skin type so you can get the best skin benefits.


Who it’s best for: Normal, oily, combination, sensitive and acne prone skin, and those who don’t like to feel anything heavy on their skin. (Like skin types #1, #2, #3, and #4.)

Which skin type are you? Find yours here.

Benefit to the skin: Powder foundations generally shouldn’t have a pore clogging effect since they aren’t occlusive on the skin, and since powders have oil-absorbing properties, they can lessen shine during the day…

What to look for: I suggest mineral-based powders since they give a smoother, luminous look to the skin and usually have SPF-protecting properties. They also don’t settle into fine lines and wrinkles as much as talc-based powders.

What to avoid: Talc-based powders, as these may accentuate lines and wrinkles and give a chalky, dull look to the skin.

Tip: Be sure to wash your powder brushes regularly. Once a week is ideal. Read: How to Wash Your Makeup Brushes


Who’s it’s best for: Normal and dry skins, and those who like a dewy look to the skin. (Like skin types #5#6#7#8 and #9.)

Which skin type are you? Find yours here.

Benefit to the skin: Liquid foundations can fill in lines, wrinkles and pores, making them less noticeable so the skin appears smoother and they do also provide excellent coverage. They also help to create a layer of protection to help retain moisture in the skin, especially in drying environments like the winter months and airplanes.

What to look for: There have been amazing advancements in liquid foundations, so there are many good ones available. Look for one that is lightweight and contains the ingredients dimethicone or silicone, as they do an excellent job in making the skin look exceptionally smooth. A liquid makeup should also contain sunscreen to give added anti-aging protection. (However, makeup with sunscreen should NEVER take the place of a sunscreen moisturizer like Daily Protection SPF 30.)

What to avoid: Ingredients such as mineral oil, petrolatum and isopropyl palmitate may cause clogged pores in the skin due to size of the molecular structure and the heavy, oily texture they can give – especially when used in large quantities and listed as the first few ingredients of the formula.

Tip: More so than powders, liquids must be an exact color match to avoid an obvious color difference with a demarcation line on the jaw.

What does Renée Rouleau use for makeup on her own skin?

On my working days, I wear Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation and then I dust the surface every few hours throughout the day with ColoreScience SPF 50 Mineral Powder to ensure proper sun protection. When I’m not working, I just use the ColoreScience powder.

Read: How to Have Great-Looking Skin for High Definition TV and Videos

Read: Don’t Let Your Skin Marinate in Makeup

Which skin care products are best for you? See our nine skin types or take our Skin Type Quiz and get products recommended.

Need expert advice from a licensed esthetician? Schedule a virtual consultation to get customized advice in person, over the phone or online via Skype or Facetime.

For more expert advice check out the blog. Also sign up for our skin tip e-newsletter, follow Renée Rouleau on Twitter and Instagram and join the discussion on our Facebook page. You’ll be your own skin care expert in no time. Get the #ReneeRouleauGlow!

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PERMISSION TO REPRINT: You may use any items from this article in your print, blog, magazine or electronic newsletter. But in order to do so, you must include the following paragraph, including a link to www.ReneeRouleau.com.

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  1. I wish they sold their mineral powder online, i don’t live near any rennee rouleau spas and have no way of trying it. I struggle to find makeup that doesn’t make me breakout.

    Posted By: Sam  | 

  2. Are your products cruelty free, are they tested on animals?

    Posted By: Priscilla  | 

    • Renée Rouleau

      Hi Priscilla,
      Our products are definitely cruelty-free–they are not tested on animals. You can see our company listed here at Leaping Bunny as a company that has pledged to be cruelty-free! > http://www.leapingbunny.org/skin.php

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  3. I’m wondering what foundation is best for covering large pores.. Any tips, tricks, and products would be appreciated!

    Posted By: Michelle  | 

    • Renée Rouleau

      I think a primer is something to consider to use before a foundation to make pores look smaller. There is one from Benefit called The Porefessional that I have heard is good.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  4. How do actresses get shining effect on their cheeks and forehead?

    Posted By: Preksha Nair  | 

  5. Hi! I just found your blog and LOVE it! I was wondering…I currently use Dior BB cream or MAC foundation-and I am prone to break outs. My skin is a #3 and Im sure powder would not be as hard on my skin however I need extra coverage from my acne scars….any recommendations for a powder that has great coverage or a gently but full coverage foundation? Thank you in advance!

    Posted By: Tiffany  | 

    • Renée Rouleau

      I really don’t have a recommendation as every skin type responds differently. It’s truly trial and (hopefully not) error.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 


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