For as long as I can remember, through trial and error of many brands and techniques, my foundation coverage has never lasted me more than maybe four hours of the day (if that). As someone with oily, acne-prone skin, most full-coverage foundations become cakey and flaky as the oil pushes up from beneath it during the day, and most medium to light coverage foundations just… don’t offer enough coverage. I’ve tried the setting powders, and the setting sprays, and both put together, but to no avail. I even tried the baking technique (piling loads of powder onto your oily areas, waiting 15 minutes for it to adhere to your skin, then dusting it off) that so many of the intimidatingly attractive people at Sephora swore would show results. The latter just left me feeling cakey and suffocated with powder, so when this new trend surfaced that promises a ‘flawless, lasting foundation’ look, I wondered if maybe I was just using the setting powder incorrectly.
All of the hype around this new hack, which suggests you apply your setting powder directly after your primer, then apply your foundation, and then more setting powder, has seemed to work for a lot of people. So despite how counter-intuitive it seems, or that I get this ‘overkill’ feeling applying all that powder, I decided to give it a chance. For full transparency, I’ll run through the steps (and products) that I used to try and nail this hack.
I haven’t had a lot of luck in terms of foundation primers, but recently, a gal at Sephora confided that she swore by Ole Henriksen’s Counter Balance Oil Control Hydrator, claiming that it kept the oil from beneath her foundation from breaking up the make-up on the surface. Since I was looking for a new matifying fluid anyway, I figured I would give this a try. (Note: I do really, really enjoy this as a primer!)
Next, I did as the faithful internet suggested, and patted my face down with my Kat von D Lock-It Setting Powder. I am really hooked on this setting powder, because unlike others I’ve tried, it doesn’t wash you out or leave a white residue on top of your foundation (which is a god-sent, because I really don’t need to be any paler than I am naturally.
With my beauty blender, I then applied my Cover-FX Natural Finish Oil-Free Foundation (in the palest shade they have…) all over my face and jawline, and touched up the areas that needed it with the concealer in the same shade. Following that, I once again went in with my setting powder to (hopefully) seal in the foundation. I should also note that I used the little cushion-pad provided with the setting powder both times that I applied it. I avoid using brushes to apply it, because I’ve found that they sometimes pick up dead skin, and I end up looking flaky right away.
Following the second application of powder, I did a little contouring with my Kat von D Shade and Light Face Contour Palette, because if I don’t add some depth to my face, my paleness leaves me looking like a human chalk board. I apply this product and blend it with a brush.
And, to further add to the illusion that I actually have some colour to my face (y’know, aside from the discolouration thanks to my acne scars…), I applied my Too Faced Love Flush Long-Lasting 16-Hour Blush in the shade Baby Love to the apples of my cheeks. I also apply and blend this into the contour with brushes.
Finally, just to have a little bit of fun, I highlighted the top of my cheek bones and my brow bones with Kat von D’s Alchemy palette, using the shade Saphyre (this holographic palette is truly magical, and extremely versatile, if you can get your hands on it).
And so began this exciting experiment! And, for full disclosure, here are some icky close-ups of my lovely pores, just after finishing (at least, the areas where I tend to find my foundation gets cakey/flaky):
Though it’s a little difficult to see with the size of the photos, my first impression when I finished was that my foundation looked… a little less sheer than usual. It was very textured, and very obvious that I had powder on I (at least, up close).
To be very honest, I wasn’t particularly very active for the remainder of the day, and didn’t do a lot of running around (just to catch the bus a couple of times). I went to a friend’s to watch movies, and then came back and did some more writing, but I did keep my make-up on for about 9 hours, to see if the longevity of this hack was worth a work day, at least.
And, 9 hours later… I honestly didn’t notice much of a difference in my foundation. With the exception of the oil in my face making it a little less ‘adhered’ (you can see where I actually scratched my nose and left a mark in the bottom pic), it did look relatively the same as before.
Did it work?
My overall thoughts on the effectiveness of the powder-foundation-powder hack are as follows:
- Looked relatively the same 9 hours later as when I put in on!
So you’d think that would be an automatic win, right? Well… not exactly.
- It didn’t look all the great when I was done putting it on (thicker/cakier than usual)
- Still a little bit of shine at the end of the night, making my pores more visible
- Excess sebum still ‘lifted’ the foundation, making it adhere less to my skin
Bear in mind, I also used a mattifying fluid as a primer, so if this method is supposed to lock on your foundation regardless of sebum output… it didn’t really do its job, in that it felt like my make-up had moved around a bit by the end of the night, and I was a bit shinier. Overall, because it didn’t look particularly ‘flawless’ to begin with, I can’t recommend this foundation hack for oily skin types. It did come through in looking relatively the same as it did when it went on, with no major flaking, but I didn’t really find it looked appealing from the very beginning. Alas, it appears that my quest for flawless foundation maintenance continues!
Have you tried this hack? How did it work for you? Or do you know a method that yields better results? Let me know!