Home Foundation 2020 Best Powder Foundations Guide (Reviews + Tips)

2020 Best Powder Foundations Guide (Reviews + Tips)

by Sandy Taylor

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 number 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. 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.

Best Powder Foundations List

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation

The Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation is the best hypoallergenic powder foundation that doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals. 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.

This Tarte Amazonian clay foundation is non-comedogenic.

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.

Smashbox HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder foundation

The Smashbox HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder Foundation is one of the best powder foundations for dry sensitive skin.

If your skin is both dry and sensitive, you’ll want to look for a powder foundation that contains ingredients that are tested by dermatologists and provide hydration for your skin. For these reasons, one of the best powder foundations for dry sensitive skin is the Smashbox HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder Foundation.

This mineral foundation provides buildable coverage and provides a natural finish. The formula is oil-free, hydrating and non-comedogenic. It doesn’t settle into lines and wrinkles. It is non-acnegenic, dermatologist-tested, and cruelty-free. It is also one of the best lightweight powder foundations.

For formula is created without the use of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, talc, and fragrances.

Note that powder foundations such as this one do not add moisture to your skin. They only help to retain moisture that is already on your skin. If you’re looking for more foundations that work well with dry skin, check out my detailed guide on the best foundations for dry skin.

IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation

The IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation is one of the best full coverage powder foundations for dry skin. It is a highly pigmented formula that will ensure that your color will stay throughout the day. This foundation doe snot settles into lines and wrinkles and contains hydrating ingredients like Hyaluronic acid and aloe to nourish and maintain moisture on your skin. It has SPF 50+ for added sun protection.

It also contains anti-aging ingredients like Hydrolyzed Collagen, Peptides, Antioxidants, Grape Seed, Olive, Rose, Niacin, Silk and Vitamins A, C, E to provide your skin with a beautiful and youthful airbrushed look. It doesn’t contain Talc, Parabens, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Synthetic Fragrance, and Phthalates.

BTW, if you’re looking for more hydrating foundations that contain hyaluronic acid, check out my detailed post on the best foundations with hyaluronic acid!

Clinique Superpowder Double Face Makeup

The Clinique Superpowder Double Face Makeup is one of the best powder foundations for oily skin. This is a full-coverage powder foundation with Clinique’s “extra-cling” formula for double coverage. This ensures all-day coverage with very minimal touch-ups. For this reason, this foundation is also one of the best long-wear powder foundations for oily skin.

The powder works great at soaking up extra oil on your skin. It leaves your skin with a great matte finish.

This powder foundation will save you time because it’s can also work as an over-foundation finisher and you wouldn’t need to buy extra settling powders if you use this with your regular liquid foundation.

This foundation does not contain:

  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Fragrance
  • Mineral Oil
  • Alcohol
  • Gluten

It is non-acnegenic, dermatologist-tested, allergy-tested, and is sweat- and humidity-resistant. It is oil-free and formulated with 100 percent vegan ingredients.

Best Drugstore Powder Foundations

CoverGirl Advanced Radiance Age-Defying Pressed Powder

The Covergirl Advanced Radiance Age-Defying Pressed Powder is one of the best drugstore powder foundations for combination skin. For a drugstore foundation, this powder foundation by CoverGirl is great value for its price.

It provides 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. It works well with acne-prone, sensitive or combination skin.

One troubling thing that most people have noticed is that the foundation contains Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) as one of its 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.

Maybelline New York Super Stay Full Coverage Powder Foundation

The Maybelline New York Super Stay Full Coverage Powder Foundation is one of the best drugstore powder foundations for dry skin. It’s formulated with hydrogenated palm oil, an emollient that helps to give dry skin a soft and smooth appearance.

This is a full-coverage powder foundation with a matte finish and 16 hours of wear. It’s formulated with a high-pigment powder that provides a full-coverage similar to full-coverage liquid foundations but with the added benefit that it’s lightweight.

There are 12 shades to choose from. 

Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Loose Powder Foundation 

The Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Loose Powder Foundation is one of the best drugstore powder foundations for oily skin. This powder foundation works great to soak up excess oil and provides you a natural and lasting matte finish. 

The powder is formulated by combining mineral color and light-reflecting pearls that help to create a subtle and natural-looking glow. 

It contains vitamins A, C & E which are antioxidants that help to fight against your body’s free radicals. 

It is not formulated with TALC, fragrances or dyes. There are 8 shades to choose from. 

Neutrogena SkinClearing Mineral Powder

The Neutrogena SkinClearing Mineral Powder is one of the best drugstore powder foundations for acne-prone skin. This foundation is formulated with salicylic acid, a superior acne-fighting ingredient that kills acne bacteria and helps to prevent new breakouts. 

It uses Neutrogena’s Microclear Technology, which is a blend of salicylic acid with sebum dissolvers in a synergistic microgel complex. This technology helps to deliver salicylic acid deep into your pores to kill acne bacteria at the source of the breakout. 

This powder foundation does an excellent job of absorbing excess oil to help you control shine throughout the day. It’s medium to full buildable foundation with a matte finish. 

The mineral formula is very gentle on the skin. It is non-comedogenic. 

BTW, I have written a detailed guide on the best non-comedogenic foundations. Check it out if you have time.

Powder Foundations: Common Qs & As

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, let us 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.

Acne-Prone Skin – Powder foundations work better than liquid foundations for acne-prone skin. That is because most powder foundations are non-comedogenic which means they will not block your pores. If you have oily acne skin, powder foundations are also great for absorbing excess oil and keeping shine away throughout the day.

Aging-Skin – Liquid foundations work better than powder foundations on aging mature skin. Mature skin is usually dryer and liquid foundations can provide the moisturization and hydration that aging skin needs. Choose a liquid foundation that has strong anti-oxidants such as vitamins A,C and E to help fight against the body’s free radicals and slow down the signs of aging.

Do You Need to Put Powder Foundation Over BB Cream?

I generally advise my clients to use a powder foundation over their BB cream. The 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. The 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 apply. 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.

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

Yes! You can put a cream highlight over the 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 a 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 work 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 drier. According to Dermatologist Mary P. Lupo from RealSelf.com, Skin that is dry for long periods of time can lead to inflammation and infections.  

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