Face Off | Powder Versus Liquid Foundation

By Sarah - Monday, April 04, 2016

As someone who has oily skin, powder foundations always seemed to be the better option. however, I had not ventured into the realm of powder foundations until recently, thanks to a horrible experience with a product a few years back. That being said, I realised that there is no harm in trying it out once more, as makeup is just makeup - it can be easily wiped off.

So, I picked up the Bare Minerals Original Foundation recently and have started to play around with it - different methods of application, primers, brushes used yada yada. What is the ultimate difference then, between liquid and powder foundations? That was the inspiration behind this post and I thought to share my experience with you. 

Note : these are my experiences with both mediums, and are subjective. But I thought of just sharing it with you, maybe it would help you, who knows? 

So of course, we gotta start bare faced.

Firstly, let's talk about the foundation itself. Liquid foundations are usually oil/water based and usually would require a layer of powder to set it (if not, it would just glide down slowly as the day goes by, resulting in splotches and uneven coverage). Powder foundations are powder based (duh) and does not require any further or necessary steps - thus making it the option for many people out there who wanna throw on a face and rush out the door. Additionally, depending on the brand, powder foundations are said to be better for the skin, such as Bare Minerals, as they are part of the mineral makeup range. In terms of how true this claim is, I have no authority to judge.

Personally, as a liquid foundation junkie, I've tried many and it is just a more comfortable medium to work with. I do find liquid/cream based products easier to manoeuvre on the skin - so if your blending ain't the best, any uneven patches or streakiness can be easily fixed by adding another light layer or by buffing it into the skin a lil more (till your arms hurt). It has more give. Thus,  making it an easier alternative for beginners, in my opinion.

Despite using makeup for years now, I am still a novice when it comes to powder foundations and I gotta say, the struggle to get even coverage that is desired is hella difficult for me. Due to my acne scars, I usually aim for a medium coverage (sometimes full - if I wanna look all glam and flawless). My first time using the powder foundation was close to a disaster - splotchy and uneven - how does one blend it??? In my attempt to build up coverage on the cheeks, I tried applying another light layer onto specific spots, resulting in patches of darker tones. I was perplexed by this whole situation. The colour matches me fine (I did not get a wrong shade) and I followed the instructions to buff the product into the cap and swirl my brush in it. What was I doing wrong? Then it hit me, maybe - just maybe - powder foundations should not be built up intensely and perhaps medium coverage is the maximum. 

Refusing to back down, I've tried a myriad of ways - using different primers, using different brushes and using different setting sprays. Here is what I found to be the best way to apply: A smoothing primer works best to smooth out the skin and prevents the powder from settling into any bumps and lines on the skin. I tend to gravitate towards my Make Up For Ever Smoothing Primer or Benefit Cosmetics Porefessional for this. It does significantly reduce the splotchiness! For brushes, I do like a less dense and fluffier brush for application. My experiences using a dense kabuki brush (as I read that it provides more coverage) resulted in the uneven patches as the bristles has less give to it, resulting in stiffer circular motions for me. My favourite brushes to use would be the Real Techniques Buffing Brush (it is less tightly packed than the Expert Face Brush and makes buffing in circular motions easier for me) or the 13rushes Tapered Kabuki (fluffy, tapered synthetic bristled brush).

Another aspect to note, if you got nasty dark circles underneath the eyes like I do or have any scars/blemishes to cover, application of concealer differ between these mediums. Apply concealer after liquid foundation but before powder foundation. Remember the rule of creams and liquids before powder. 

In terms of application time, due to my inexperience with powder foundations, I do find application of liquid foundation much easier and faster. I usually sit at my vanity buffing away for a good 4-5 minutes or so when I use powder foundation, resulting in a good arm workout but not so good for when there are time constraints. 

Lasting Power
Of course, depending on the brands and formulation, lasting power isn't something that can be definitively compared. Generally though, from my experiences, I do find that my liquid foundations last longer on me (as I do set it with regular setting powder). If I fail to set it, then of course, powder foundation wins on this aspect. 

For the sake of comparing, I decided to do a half face test - using powder on one side and liquid on the other. Do I have too much time on my hands? Arguably so. But hey, when you love makeup, you play. 

For the sake of true comparison, I decided to use a liquid foundation that sets by itself, without the need for a setting powder. Thus, for this experiment, I used the Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Encre De Peau Fusion Ink Foundation for my liquid foundation. I've read reviews saying that it works great with oily skin and that it sets quickly after application. For the powder foundation, I will be using my only option in my collection, the Bare Minerals Original Foundation. For the purpose of this post, I did not conceal my blemishes or acne scars to show the true coverage of the products.

I actually wore this out to work (yes.) and here are my thoughts at the end of the day: 

So which do I prefer? It is pretty obvious. I'm a liquid foundation kinda girl. 

The Bare Minerals is great for travel and convenience - the packaging is sturdy, and it is a one-all product as you don't have to lug along a setting powder with it. The container is made from plastic, so it is great to stuff into your travel bag or makeup pouch. I do have to say though, I do quite like it for touch ups. On days where I gotta look good at the end of the day, I'll usually bring this along to touch up any areas I require coverage or areas where the foundation had faded off. It works great this way. I am just not a fan of using this all over my face in the morning. 

Other than that, I am thoroughly enjoying the YSL Fusion Ink Foundation. It feels really nice upon application and blends really easily on the skin. It sets into the skin almost immediately - leaving a slight satin finish. It reminds me of those foundations that are said to change from liquid to powder after application. The coverage of this foundation is great - medium to buildable full. Without setting powder, this foundation lasted an amazing 4-5 hours on me (quite a feat, considering how hot it is and how oily I am). Of course, with a setting powder, it is my go-to long lasting foundation. I am obsessed.

In the pictures, I have also used the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Bronze on the skin and the eyes (yes, the eyes too).

I also did set the entire face with my SK-II Mid Day Essence (this is slowly becoming my favourite setting spray, albeit an expensive one). I will dedicate a full post on that soon.

These products are from COSME-DE.COM (prices are cheaper than that of Sephora and they offer free shipping!). Side note, with the prices in Sephora steadily increasing, thanks to the lack of competition after they bought over Luxola, I began looking for other options to get my makeup goodies. This site really does have a wide range of brands and the prices are cheaper for sure. 

I gotta say though, the difference between the left and right side of my face was not as stark as I thought it would be. Besides the BM giving a more satin finish, both foundations were pretty much similar in terms of how it looked on my skin.

So a lil photo recap :

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Hope this was useful in some way, thanks for reading!Xo. 

This post would not be possible without the products from Cosme-de.com but opinions are entirely my own. 

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