Powder Vs. Liquid Foundation Makeup: What’s Best For My Skin Type?

Updated: 4/22/16. When it comes to wearing makeup, many people 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. (Such as skin types #1, #2, #3, and #4.)

Benefit to the skin: Powder foundations shouldn’t have a pore clogging effect since they don’t use emollients or oils. Since powders have a dry feel, they have excellent oil-absorbing properties to lessen shine during the day. The downside of a powder foundation is that they don’t give as much coverage as a liquid foundation will. If you have discoloration from breakouts or the sun, you’re best off using a concealer to create an even-toned look in those areas and then apply powder over it…

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 traditional 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 if you’re using it daily. 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. (Such as skin types #5#6#7#8 and #9.)

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 during the winter months and while on an airplane.

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 do I wear for makeup on my 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 use my own custom-blend mix of three powders.

Is wearing foundation makeup daily bad for your skin? Absolutely not. The fact is, wearing makeup (appropriate for your skin type) offers a barrier of protection against harmful UV rays. UV rays from the sun is the #1 reason for skin aging. It’s not genetics, smoking, and believe it or not, even age. The sun is the skin’s WORST enemy. Most types of makeup contain sunscreen and even if they don’t indicate an SPF number, most have UV-protecting ingredients like Titanium Dioxide. Based on this benefit from wearing makeup, I never leave my skin bare and never suggest my clients to do so either. So do your skin a favor and start wearing makeup NOW, to protect your skin from wrinkles in your future. What’s your skin type? Find out here.

Read: 10 Nighttime Skin Care Tips
Read: In Your 20s? The 10 Best Ways To Prevent Wrinkles— Starting NOW
Read: I Share My Favorite Skin Care Ingredients On The Dr. Oz Show

Which skin care products are best for you? See our nine skin types or take the 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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