Beauty Q&A: Should You Use Liquid or Powder Foundation?

January 24, 2022
Tembe Denton-Hurst
By: Tembe Denton-Hurst | by L'Oréal
Beauty Q&A: Should You Use Liquid or Powder Foundation?

Choosing the right foundation for your skin type can be difficult. While reviews and swatches that help you try before you buy are helpful, there are enough options to make anyone’s head spin. And that doesn’t even account for the many levels of coverage, finishes and application methods of foundation. In the end, it often comes down to personal preference. 

Two of the most popular foundation types — powder and liquid — are often pitted against each other, which is why we’re sharing their merits and explaining who they work best on once and for all. Keep reading to find out if liquid or powder foundation is the one for you.

When to Use Liquid Foundation

Liquid foundation works for any and every skin type. These formulas range from light to full coverage and come in every finish imaginable. If you want to subtly even out your skin tone, select a light-coverage foundation, while full-coverage formulas will conceal imperfections with ease and create a blank slate for more glam makeup looks. The Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation provides a matte, natural finish with 12 hour lasting wear. It’s available in 40 shades and is non-comedogenic, making it a great fit for anyone who likes a full-coverage look. 

For a glowy complexion, we recommend opting for a dewier formula that will lend a little radiance to your complexion, while matte foundations are great for oily skin types. The Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation is a favorite of makeup artists and beauty lovers alike. The formula is lightweight yet buildable and delivers a flawless, luminous finish. 

There are lots of ways to apply liquid foundation, including your hands, a sponge or a brush. When using your hands, rub the product between your palms to emulsify it, then press into skin for a natural, second-skin appearance. A damp sponge will also give a natural, diffused finish. Brushes typically offer more coverage, but make sure to blend so that there are no streaks left behind.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

When to Use Powder Foundation

Powder foundations tend to come in two finishes — illuminating or matte — and are great for attaining a flawless result on the go. Similar to liquids, pick the finish that best suits your desired look. While powder foundations work for a wide range of people, they aren’t always best for those with dry skin because they tend to settle and cling to flaky patches. We love the L'Oréal Paris Infallible 24HR Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder, the TikTok-famous compact that delivers flawless, long-wearing coverage with the swipe of a sponge.


Powder foundations tend to stay put longer than liquid formulas, but if you want to make a powder even more long-lasting, use a primer beforehand. The key to applying primer with a powder foundation, though, is to make sure the primer is fully absorbed into the skin, so you’re not mixing wet and dry formulas that create a messy, unblendable finish.

L'Oréal Infallible 24HR Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder
Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn Visual Designer: Hannah Packer

Read more

Back to top