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Ask The Makeup Diva
Welcome to Ask The Makeup Diva™! Our resident expert, The Makeup Diva, answers makeup and skin care questions sent in by readers just like you.

Q: What is the difference between pressed and loose powder? What are the benefits of a different colored ones rather than a translucent formula?

A: Hopefully I can provide a simple answer for a fairly simple question!

Pressed powder is a cake of face powder pressed into a mirrored compact with a puff or sponge. It usually has a matte finish on the skin, and is portable and convenient for touch-ups during the day if you have oily skin that needs blotting.

Loose powder has a consistency more like baby powder - soft, fine, and, well, loose. Most brands are packaged in a tin, plastic box, or shaker container with a screen over the powder so you can shake out a little at a time through the small holes in the screen. Unless you have a container that stays tightly closed, loose powder is not very portable. There is a benefit of loose over pressed, though - loose powder is softer and more natural looking on the skin. You can apply it with a powder brush or a puff depending on the finish you want.

Both pressed and loose powders typically come in a variety of skin tone shades from light beige to deep cocoa. There are also translucent or colorless powders that are designed to work on any skin color. If you always use your powder over foundation or concealer, a translucent powder will set the makeup without adding any extra color.

Face powder in skintone colors are great if you want to wear only powder with no other foundation, or if your foundation color needs some adjusting. For example, if your foundation is too pink, you can layer a yellow-based powder over it to make the overall color more neutral. Some brands also make green and violet powders that are supposed to counteract too much red in the skin (you'd use green powder) or too sallow (you'd use violet). Personally I think these are gimmicky and never look as good on the skin as they sound in theory. I recommend sticking to translucent or natural skintone shades.


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