Not Your Grandmother's Finishing Powder - une femme d'un certain âge

Take A Powder

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Finishing PowderI’ve never liked the feeling of a heavy foundation, and that’s especially true in the summer. While my skin isn’t quite as oily as when I was young, I still have areas that tend to go shiny, especially in the heat.

I remember reading a few years back from a variety of beauty experts that women over 50 should never use any face makeup in powder form. The thinking, I guess, was that a) it would settle into fine lines and b) a “glowing” complexion at our age was more flattering than a matte finish. While that might have been true to some degree, I think formulations have improved in recent years, and there is no one-size-fits-all beauty solution.

Above: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder. I haven’t tried this one but it has good reviews.

I Have To Go Powder My Nose…

I want to glow, not gleam, and have gone back to using a light dusting of a finely milled finishing powder on my shiny bits (nose and chin). A quick brush or two also helps minimize the appearance of pores. If you wear foundation, a finishing powder will set it and help it last longer. And if you tend to go light on makeup in the summer, a little powder may be just the thing to cut the shine and create a smooth look.

Today’s products have a more subtle matte effect, and some even have some radiance effects. No worries about looking like a sugared pastry! I’ve tried a few recently, and to be honest don’t notice a lot of difference between most as far as effectiveness or longevity. Because I no longer use foundation (tinted moisturizer or spot application of a CC cream at most) I prefer a tinted rather than translucent product, and one that’s pressed vs. loose (I like portability).

Most recently I’ve been using Makeover Workshop Soft Focus Beauty Powder.

Do you use finishing or foundation powders? Which ones do you like best?

Finishing Powder To The Rescue…

Stay in touch.

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  1. June 29, 2017 / 4:11 am

    Yes, I will put a dusting of powder. My daughter told me my very-moisturized face was too shiny, so out came the powder. But just the tiniest amount.

  2. June 29, 2017 / 5:45 am

    Yes – use a mineral finishing powder…and a quick swipe of bronzer powder. No foundation – just a tinted moisturizer. Thank you for you blog…love your tips and seeing your trips. Just retired, downsizing, and decided it was a good time to start my own blog. VERY basic, but fun. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Lori M
      June 29, 2017 / 7:13 am

      What is the name of your blog? Is it about retiring and downsizing?

  3. Susan L
    June 29, 2017 / 6:28 am

    I wear sunscreen every day so I have to take the shine down. If I have any areas that need concealment, I use Armani’s cc cream and/or Cle de peau concealer. I use the Charlotte Tillbury powder for setting. It is very light weight, finely milled and doesn’t settle into wrinkles – love it! I apply it with the powder sponge from Jane Iredell.

  4. Sally
    June 29, 2017 / 6:35 am

    Susan what are you using as moisturizer under this powder? I’m using Elta MD tinted mineral sunscreen with Obagi Hydrate underneath. It’s a great sunscreen but my skin looks dull and mask-like from it. Not my fave. Primers I worry about–they always make me break out and I think it might be the silica or mica they put in those formulas. Any good ideas?
    What CC cream are you using?

    • Susan B
      June 29, 2017 / 6:46 am

      Sally, I’ve been trying some new moisturizers for daytime, and am going to write about those soon. I always use at least a 40 SPF (the two I like are from Clarins and Chanel. Both have the mineral/barrier sunscreens my dermatologist recommends. They are very light, and don’t cake or pill. When I use a CC cream, it’s the Giorgio Armani.

      You might want to ask your dermatologist about the breakouts. If you are sensitive/allergic to particular ingredients, it would be good to narrow those down.

  5. Wendelah
    June 29, 2017 / 7:15 am

    I rarely wear foundation. Stila oil-free tinted moisturizer with sunscreen was my gold standard. It’s been discontinued and I have no idea what I’ll move on to once my last tube is used up. I can’t use chemical sunscreen on my face so my choices are limited. It is moisturizing without leaving me shiny. I wear Paula’s Choice finishing powder with SPF 15 over it if I am going out. If I want a little more color in the summer, I love Tarte’s Park Ave Princess in Bronze Peach. It’s very light for a bronzer and looks very natural on me. I also got it on sale, which mean it’s probably being discontinued, too. Maybe I’ll pick up a spare.

    I also would love to know what tinted moisturizer you use. Does it also have sunscreen in it or do you have to apply that in addition?

    • Susan B
      June 29, 2017 / 7:50 am

      Hi Wendelah, I always apply a sunscreen over my moisturizer. SPF 40 at least. (A necessity for Southern California.)

  6. Deborah
    June 29, 2017 / 7:40 am

    I’m on my second compact of Hourglass Ambient Lighting. Love the stuff!! Works with foundation or not and doesn’t settle into pores. I use SuperGoop’s CC cream. It is a perfect combination for me.

    • Linda Boardman Kerr
      July 3, 2017 / 6:32 am

      I love this stuff (Hourglass Ambient) too, for the reasons you mention. It’s instant beauty.

  7. Nancy
    June 29, 2017 / 8:10 am

    I love the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder! A light dusting over Dr. Brandt’s gold tube BB cream for everyday or over Armani Luminous Silk for nights out is terrific.

  8. Kathleen Ludgate
    June 29, 2017 / 8:33 am

    No powder for me. Tinted BB cream from Clinque.

  9. Kathryn
    June 29, 2017 / 9:41 am

    I really like Diorskin powder lightly brushed on nose and chin or a light dusting of Laura Mercier translucent powder over Jane Iredale BB cream. I think I have managed to achieve a good balance, on most days of glowydewy but not shiny.
    Rosacea is always lurking in my background. So for me, they key really is to use the right cleanser, moisturizer and medication and then the cosmetic additions can really do their jobs.
    Hourglass primer is absolutely terrific by the way. Some days, this product with a little concealer is all I need.

  10. Nicole
    June 29, 2017 / 12:17 pm

    I enjoy hearing what other people do, and it really comes down to knowing one’s own skin and how it performs in various climates/situations. I use an organic moisturizer directly on my skin, feeling better about those ingredients absorbing into my face, followed by a layer of sunscreen (MyChelle SPF 30), a little tinted moisturizer on cheeks, forehead and nose for some color to offset my paleness, and a mineral powder dusting to set it in place. I have no shine all day and this product combo feels light.

  11. elizaduckie
    June 29, 2017 / 12:58 pm

    Estée Lauder Re-nutrive transparent powder 04 is my all time favorite. I’m 70 but I use it over their Re-Nutrive Cream Foundation, (with sun protection) which glides on but gives coverage. For going to the beaches in Florida I use a Shiseido sun protection product for my face that has a foundation color added into it, and no powder. I react to typical chemical sun protectors and this one works well for me.

  12. Ann
    June 29, 2017 / 2:52 pm

    Just want to say how much I appreciate the observations and insights from Susan and all commenters on topics like these. At 71 I feel I’m traveling uncharted territory in the skin care realm.

  13. Ruth Gitzlaff
    June 29, 2017 / 7:33 pm

    Have you tried Stowaway cosmetics? Small size makeup for travel. Eyeshadow case is the size of a credit card.

  14. Pam
    June 30, 2017 / 1:57 am

    Eshiko is the finest, most perfect powder in the world, and especially good for mature skin.

  15. June 30, 2017 / 9:33 am

    When the new rules came out for sunscreens, they all felt sticky and/or gave me a whitish cast and I hated them. I was thrilled to find Missha Mild Essence Sun Milk SPF50+ (on sale at Soko Glam right now). It’s lightweight and doesn’t make me break out. Laura Mercier primer. Currently using Jane Iredale Dream Tint but imagine I’ll have to find something else to use when this runs out, as we’ve recently moved to Switzerland. Love a light application of Givenchy Prisme Libre (powder) on my t-zone if it’s not a really hot & humid day.

  16. June 30, 2017 / 7:11 pm

    Origins tinted face powder; Ginzing moisturizer SPF50…sunscreen is an absolute must here in Texas. Both are paraben/sulfate/petrochemical free.

  17. fantasy
    July 1, 2017 / 2:18 am

    I use face blotter tissues instead of powder to soak up the nose, cheek, and forehead oils. If I used powder for the oily face, it’d cake on and over-dry my combination acne skin, encrusting in wrinkles; also re-using the powder sponge or brush on a midday makeup face would get the sponge full of acne bacteria. powder today usually means breakouts the day after next. The blotter tissues can be used without needing a mirror or brush, and since they’re not a powder, liquid or gel, they travel well too.

  18. Jeanne II
    July 1, 2017 / 5:54 am

    I like Clinique City Block Sheer, or Super City Block, as a base – a tinted physical sunscreen. Always trying different under-eye concealers, currently using Nars. I touch up rosacea in a couple of spots with a tiny bit of Bobbi Brown foundation stick. And as for the powder question, when I really want to look finished, I use a very, very light dusting of MAC Studio Fix, which works really well for me, but will look cakey if overused. Like others, I have found that a very light touch with everything but the sunscreen is key.

  19. Sheryl
    August 1, 2017 / 7:50 pm

    I love my Hourglass Ambient Lighting palette. For me it is the holy grail of powder, luminous and refined. I’ve rarely been so impressed with a product. Gorgeous results. I’ve heard great things about the primer, too.

  20. October 28, 2017 / 11:19 am

    @Susan B I looked up the Chanel and Clarins sunscreens you recommended. Both contain ingredients that would hurt my skin, unfortunately. If I have to spend time outside, I wear Replenix Physical Suncreen SPF 50. It doesn’t make me break out or cause a flare of my rosacea. I think I got it on sale, too, at Dermstore.

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