Last Looks!

There is a term used in the television and film industry called “Last Looks!” Let’s pretend we are on set and you hear the AD shout that phrase, what you would see next are crew members from the makeup, hair and wardrobe departments jump to attention and rush to spritz, tug and primp the actor/actress before the camera begins to roll.

This Pro likes to apply face powder at the time that “Last Looks” are called because that is when the star of the show or movie must look perfect. Face Powders, whether loose or pressed, set foundation and concealer after application and prepare the face for “powder” cheek and eye color. However, the most important job of a face powder is to minimize shine by soaking up oil or sweat produced by the skin. When working under the hot lights of a movie set trying to keep the skin matte can sometimes be very challenging.

The good news is that there are many “industry” face powders that cross over into the consumer-friendly world of beauty and they are available to you for everyday use (you just need to know where to get them). Also, several mass-marketed cosmetic lines manufacture face powders that work miracles and require little touch-up during the day (you just need to know what they are)!

But first, here are the basics…

Loose Powder: dense texture and provides more coverage. Applied with brush, sponge or powder puff. Matte or sheer finish.

Pressed Powder: same properties as a loose powder “pressed” into a compact. Applied with brush, sponge or powder puff. Less coverage because it dispenses small amounts of product on face. Matte or sheer finish. Best for touch-ups.

Color: like foundation and concealer, face powders are sold in a range of colors to match the skin tone. Translucent powder is invisible and is preferred by this Pro.

Ingredients: the most common ingredients in face powders are talc, cornstarch mica and zinc. If you are allergic to any of those elements, we recommend switching to mineralized powder products, which may be better for you.

Tools: a powder brush is large and dome shaped picking up less product and allowing for a sheer application. Use a powder puff to apply a heavier amount to face and gently blot or press into the skin; sweeping the puff will cause a “streaking” effect on the face. The sponge is used in the same manner as puff and applies a sheer amount.

Other: very oily skin can change the color of powder. If you use a colored face powder, choose a color that is 1 or 2 shades lighter than your foundation to allow for oxidation.

Issues: most women suffer from cakey powder application and one of the most common misconceptions is that too much powder was applied. While that could be true, it is more likely that the skin was not prepped properly: either not enough or too much moisturizer was applied to the skin. That situation can cause the face powder to have too much “grab” and where the build up of product occurs is most likely where the moisturizer application was uneven or not absorbed properly prior to makeup application.

Here is a valuable tip: prep skin with all accoutrement (serum, moisturizer, eye cream, primer, etc.) and allow 10 minutes to absorb. Fold up facial tissue into a square and “blot” excess product and oil off skin. Now begin application of cosmetics.

Another common problem is flakiness after powder application, which is caused by the skin being too dry and solved by simply bumping up the amount of moisturizer used in skin prep (but not too much because you will have the Cakey problem above). Tricky huh? But, with practice and over time, you will discover your inner makeup artist and kiss those issues good-bye!

Here is a list of products that this Pro recommends:

Cinema Secrets Translucent Powder - typically an “industry” product perfect for setting foundation. Finely milled, clump-free, antiperspirant powder. Translucent formula or available in several warm shades. Purchase on line at

Tricia Sawyer Beauty’s The Powder– loose, colorless setting powder made of finely milled cotton for maximum absorbency and controls shine throughout the day. Sheer coverage and works on all skin tones. Available online at or

Visiora PC Powder Compact - this is Dior's "industry" line and is incredible to set foundation or used on bare skin. Heavier coverage with a matte, satin finish. Good for all skin tones and types. This is the choice of many Pro MUAs. Available online at

Graftobian Face Powder – works with all skin tones and types and provides a soft, matte finish. Minimizes shine. Available online at

Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder -
a universal translucent finishing powder can be worn alone to reduce shine or applied to set foundation. Completely evens out the complexion and is made of 100% mineral silica powder. Available online at

Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder – this powder reduces fine lines and wrinkles in 10 minutes! It is the first anti-aging powder with skincare built in. Available online at or

Eve Pearl Photo Finish Pressed Powder Neutral – apply with powder puff in rolling motion across the face to set foundation. This is a light-diffusing, sheer pressed powder that eliminates shine and to defuse skin discolorations. Perfect for travel. Available online at

MAC Blot Powder – this is an industry standard with many color ranges to perfectly match your skin tone. Provides shine control without adding noticeable color or texture. Absorbs excess oil and reduces shine. Available at or at fine retailers.

Purely Cosmetics’ Finishing Powder – this mineral makeup line does not use fillers, preservatives or irritating ingredients that can cause breakouts on the skin. This product line is quickly becoming the preferred mineral line for all age groups and works especially well for women with more mature skin. It aids in oil absorption and adds a smooth, matte finish to skin. This powder is colorless and is made of 100% pure silk. Perfect for those seeking a natural mineral cosmetic line. This Pro also recommends this product for young adults and teens. Purchase online at

“All right Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up.” And so will you! Before you step out of the house, or into the office for the big interview, or answer the door for that hot date, don’t forget to take a “Last Look!” A final set of powder will help your makeup stay put through life’s big moments!

If you suffer from extremely oil skin try using blotting papers before or in between face powder touch ups. This will help to avoid powder buildup in areas around the nose and mouth. Also, if powder tends to cake in the fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area, then avoid excess powdering in that area. Set foundation and concealer placed under eye and do not touch-up frequently during the day. If you feel you have excess eye oil and find that your eye shadow and liner fade during the day, try using a eyelid primer such as Urban Decay’s Eye Shadow Primer Potion available at Sephora.

Up next on IMPO– guest blogger Carissa from Hooked on Beauty! She is a Pro MUA and has a great product review blog. Find out what cosmetic and beauty products she can’t live without personally and professionally!

*above photo credit:


  1. If your skin is very oily, use a powder beneath your foundation that has kaolin clay, bentonite clay, calcium carbonate, and/or silica in them - these are very oil absorbing ingredients. Avoid using a primer with silicone (or anything ending in "one") - these will clog your pores, and not allow your skin to breathe (much like wrapping your face in saran wrap - picture that with oily skin! MUFE HD Powder is a wonderful product, especially for giving a soft focus look. However, silica can be very drying to skin if used at a rate higher than 5-10% of a formulation. Since MUFE is 100% silica, if you have dry skin, don't make a habit of using this product. Using it professionally for a shoot, ok. But I wouldn't recommend those who have dry skin using it on a daily basis.

  2. Hi Robyn! Thanks for this comment! Schooled again!!! I love all the "insider" info!