Looking for the perfect powder foundation but don’t know where to start? I know that the selection process can get tricky, especially with the amount of products that are available out there.

In this post, I will go over some of the basic things you should know about powder foundations and recommend a couple of the best powder foundations that I have used on myself and my clients. Hopefully by the end of this post, you will have learned more about powder foundations and decide for yourself if this type of foundation is right for you.

Our Picks For The Best Powder Foundations

Foundation NameKey Features
CoverGirl Advanced Radiance Age-Defying Pressed Powder- 6 Shades
- Includes Application Pad
- Non Cakey Application
- Skin Conditioning Ingredients
- Dermatologically Tested
Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte Plus Poreless Powder- 13 Shades
- Lightweight
- Easy to Blend
- Long Lasting (16 Hours)
Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation- 16 Shades
- Non-comedogenic
- Full Coverage
- Lightweight
Smashbox Photo Filter Powder Foundation- 10 Shades
- 8 Hour wear
- Non-Cakey, Buildable Coverage
- Lightweight

Should You Use a Powder Foundation or a Liquid Foundation?

I get this question a lot and I can see why many people are confused. The answer is actually simple and it depends on your skin type. If you have:

Dry Or Normal Skin – Use a liquid foundation. Liquid foundations do well on dry and normal skin types because they provide a protective barrier between your skin and the outside environment. This barrier helps to lock in the moisture on your skin. Most liquid foundations come with skin moisturizing ingredients that will also help you condition your dry skin.

Combination Skin – If you have combination skin, you can use both a powder foundation and a liquid foundation (But not both at the same time). This means you need to figure out which one you like more and stick with that one. For example, lets say you decide to go with a liquid foundation. You need to make sure that you prep your oily patches with primer first before applying the foundation.

Oily Skin – Use a powder foundation. Powders are great at absorbing the excess oil on your skin. Using a powder foundation on oily skin will allow it to stay on your skin longer. If you find that your skin becomes oily again during the day, simply pad it down with a bit of powder and you will be good to go.

Do You Need to Put Powder Foundation Over BB Cream?

I generally advise my clients to use a powder foundation over their BB cream. Powder is great for helping your makeup stay in place. The way you use powder with your BB cream will depend on your skin type:

Normal Skin – If the weather is hot and humid, I would definitely recommend using a powder foundation to ensure that your makeup won’t “melt off’ your face during the day. Powder is great for absorbing oil which is a huge problem during a hot and humid day.

Dry Skin – I would avoid powder and just use the BB cream. Powders just don’t work well with dry skin as they will absorb what little oil you have on your skin. Ensure that your BB cream is moisturizing.

Oily Skin – You will need to apply a generous amount of powder over your BB cream. (But not too much). A mistake that most people with oily skin make is applying too much powder to a point that their look becomes cakey. Ensure that your BB cream is oil-free. Also, you may want to consider not wearing a BB cream if the weather is too hot or humid.

Sensitive Skin – Sames rules listed above applies. Just ensure that both your BB cream and powder foundation is hypoallergenic.

Combination Skin – This one is tricky and depends on the size and number of your oily / dry patches. If you have more oily patches then dry patches, follow my advice for “oily skin” above”. If you have more dry patches than oily patches, follow my advice for “dry skin” above.

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Can You Use a Cream Highlight On Top of a Powder Foundation?

Yes! You can put a cream highlight over powder foundation. However, it is really tricky. This is because creams don’t mix well with powder. When you mix creams with powder, the cream dissolves the particles of the powder which may screw up your coverage, leaving you with patchy spots.

Before you apply a cream highlight to your powder foundation, take a moment to consider how much powder you have on your face. I would only recommend using a creme foundation on powder if the powder is light coverage. If you have a lot of powder, putting on cream highlights would really be messy. If you do it this way, you will need to find a powder foundation that works well with the particular cream highlight that you want to use. Even if you are using the right products, it will still require a bit of skill and practice to make it work. Honestly, it’s just not worth it.

A rule of thumb that I always have for my clients is to use like for like. This means that if you use a cream foundation, use a cream highlight to go with it. If you use a powder foundation, use a powder highlight to go with it. Doing it this way ensures that your products works properly. (It’s also a lot less headache)

Are There Any Side Effects Of Applying Powder Foundation To Your Skin?

It all depends on your skin type and whether or not the particular foundation that you are using will cause allergic reactions. Look for hypoallergenic foundations to be on the safe side. However, even hypoallergenic foundations are not 100% guaranteed to not cause reactions. My suggestion is to test a small portion of it on your skin first before using it.

Another thing to keep in mind is that powder foundations are generally recommended to be used on oily skin types. Using a powder foundation on dry skin can make it even more dry. According to Dermatologist Mary P. Lupo from RealSelf.com, Skin that is dry for long periods of time can lead to inflammation and infections.  

Our Final Recommendations

CoverGirl Advanced Radiance Age-Defying Pressed Powder
covergirl powder foundation
For a drugstore foundation, this powder foundation by CoverGirl is great value for its price. It provides a great coverage and doesn’t feel cakey when applied. It comes with an application pad. It’s not a high quality pad but it’s good enough for everyday use. The foundation comes in a compact size, which is great for those of us who don’t have a lot of room in their makeup bag. The thing I love about this foundation is that the powder feels really light and silky. My clients with acne prone and sensitive skin have reported no issues at all with this foundation.

One troubling thing that most people have noticed is that the foundation contains Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) as one of it’s ingredients. Although this is a popular ingredient in foundations, this ingredient could cause cancer if it is contaminated with perfluorooctonoic acid (PFOA). However, it’s important to note that PTFE by itself is not a cancer causing ingredient according to EWG.org. If this ingredient makes you uncomfortable, then this is probably not the right foundation for you.

With that out of the way, I would say that this foundation by CoverGirl is a wonderful product and great value.


Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation
tarte powder foundation
If you are looking for a quality foundation without any harsh chemicals, then Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation is worth checking out. This product has been tested by dermatologists, does not contain parabens, lasts over 12 hours, hypoallergenic and vegan friendly. It’s a great foundation for full coverage applications and works well on oily and acne prone skin. There are 16 shades to choose from which means you will probably be able to find a shade that works for your skin.

Most people I have worked with say that they could not get the coverage they need with this foundation. One thing to keep in mind is that although this is a full coverage foundation, it works differently than full coverage liquid foundations. When using a powder foundation, you need to build the coverage by applying thin layers at a time. I’ve had no problems with using this foundation for full coverage but I would admit that using a liquid foundation might be easier if you are looking for a full coverage look.