shopping for makeup

Powder Foundation Vs. Liquid Foundation

Knowing the type of foundation best suited for you and the rest of your makeup routine can instantly help you step up your makeup game. The best way to figure out the perfect foundation formula is by looking at powder foundation vs. liquid foundation. 

Powder foundation is known for being powdery and working well with oily skin. While it does work well with oily skin, innovative formulas are far from powdery like the 90s foundation. They are also packed with hydrating ingredients to ensure they are suitable for dry skin.

Liquid foundations are known for delivering a fantastic finish, containing hydrating ingredients, and working well for dry skin. However, the same thing applies to powder foundations in liquid foundation formulas. Modern formulas are available in matte finishes to ensure that they work well for anyone with dry skin, too. 

So, what’s the difference? How do you know if you should use powder foundation vs. liquid foundation? Read on to learn about the key differences you need to know before shopping. 

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Things To Consider Before Buying A Foundation

foundation powder pros cons

Before you decide which foundation is proper for you, it’s essential to decide what you’re looking for in a foundation. You’ll need to consider your skin type and what finish you want. Taking the time to think about this will guarantee that you get the perfect foundation for the look you want. 

Your Skin Type

Traditionally, powder foundation works well for oily skin, while liquid foundation works well for dry skin. This still rings true for extreme skin types. A liquid foundation is your best bet if you have extremely dry skin. Likewise, powder foundation is your best bet if you have incredibly oily skin. Powder formulas absorb excess sebum to help prevent midday shine. 

There are millions of people that have combination skin. You may also have normal skin but an oily T-zone, which can make figuring out powder foundation vs. liquid foundation a bit more complicated. If you have combination skin, it’s best to select a foundation suitable for all skin types to accurately balance out the dry and oily parts of your face. 

Best Foundations For Combination Skin

Cover FX Power Play Foundation ($44)

Cover FX Power Play Foundation is suitable for all skin types. Over 40 shades guarantee that you can find the perfect shade to match your skin and complement your undertones. That’s not all you’re going to love about this foundation, though!

Why we love it: 

  • Four finishes available
  • Virtual try-on available
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Waterproof
  • Sweat-proof
  • Transfer-free
  • Full-coverage

This full-coverage foundation blends seamlessly into the skin for a natural look that everyone will love!

Check it out here!

Dermablend Cover Creme ($40)

Dermablend is known for their line of body makeup and makeup to cover tattoos, but don’t sleep on their full-coverage foundation! The cream formula is easy to apply. It’s infused with ingredients to nourish skin and promote a stronger skin barrier while helping deliver full coverage for an even skin tone. It can be used to cover acne, birthmarks, and scars. 

Why we love it:

  • SPF 30
  • Full-coverage
  • Vegan formula
  • Doesn’t cake up

Check it out here!

Luminous Silk Perfect Glow Foundation by Armani Beauty- Travel Size ($45)

Giorgio Armani is known for the Armani Beauty collection. It consistently delivers one high-quality cosmetic product after another, and this luminous foundation is no exception! You can pick up a travel size for $45 to try it before committing to a full-size version. It’s suitable for all skin types, too!

Why we love it: 

  • Over 30 shades available
  • Lightweight
  • Buildable
  • Offers medium coverage
  • Winner of the Best Liquid Foundation Award 

Enjoy finally having the look of natural radiance with this luminous foundation. 

Check it out here!


You typically want a full-coverage foundation if you’re attempting to hide dark spots and pimples. Full-coverage foundation is typically used in glam makeup looks and tutorials. However, most people choose a foundation that offers a light or medium coverage for a more natural look

Desired Finish

If you want a dewy finish, this is best achieved with liquid foundations. Powder foundations don’t have the same dewy effect. However, if you have oily skin, it’s best to stick with a matte finish. 

Liquid Foundation Pros vs. Cons

liquid foundation pros cons

The liquid foundation remains a popular choice. It’s easy to apply and comes with quite a few benefits that are worth noting. Don’t forget to consider the downsides when choosing which foundation is right for you and your skin type. 


Easy Application

Most liquid foundations have a silicone base that makes them blend flawlessly into the skin for a seamless finish that you’re bound to love. They can be applied with your favorite beauty blender or with a brush. Either way, they’ll look amazing. 

Additional Ingredients Included

Most liquid foundation products come with additional ingredients, such as moisturizers and SPF to give your skin an extra dose of hydration and protection. While powder foundations occasionally have a few extra ingredients, you’re not likely to find a lot of powder foundations with SPF in them. 

Liquid Foundation Is Buildable

When providing a base for the rest of your makeup, powder foundation cannot compete with liquid foundation. Liquid foundation products are designed to be buildable so that you can complete the rest of your makeup look without having to worry about your foundation messing it up. 

Wide Variety Of Finishes Available

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a dewy finish or a matte one; you can find it in a liquid foundation. 

Different Coverage Levels 

You can find liquid foundation in light coverage to the other end of the spectrum at full coverage. 

Suitable For Different Skin Types

Regardless of your skin type, most liquid foundations will work fine. However, if you have oily skin or an oily T zone, avoid foundations with many oily ingredients. It can make your skin more oily and cause pimples. 


Not The Best For A Matte Finish

While you can find a matte finish in a liquid foundation, it will not be the same as using a powder foundation for a matte finish. Powder foundations are always better at giving you a matte finish. 

Can Look Wet Due To Oil Or Sweat

If you’re spending the day outside in the middle of summer, you might want to consider powder foundation. As the day wears on, you will notice that sweat makes your makeup look wet. However, you can find modern formulas that are designed to be sweat-proof.

Recommended Liquid Foundations

E.l.f. Flawless Satin Finish Foundation ($6)

This is another viral product from e.l.f. Cosmetics that you shouldn’t ignore! For six bucks, it’s hard to resist the urge to pick up at least one. One warning: you’re going to become obsessed once you try it!

Why we love it: 

  • Impressive quality at a drugstore price
  • Lightweight
  • Blends into the skin for a look that lasts all day
  • Nourishing ingredients hydrate your skin
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Medium coverage

Check it out here!

Too Faced Born This Way Natural Finish Foundation ($45)

Born This Way Foundation by Too Faced is a liquid foundation that lives up to it’s name: it looks so natural, as if you were simply born that way! You’ll get a medium-to-full-coverage finish after choosing the perfect shade from over 30 shades. 

Why we love it: 

  • Oil-free
  • Infused with coconut water
  • Buildable
  • Blendable
  • Cruelty-free

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation lets you get the “I woke up like this” look with minimal effort!

Check it out here!

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation ($8)

A drugstore favorite that continues to make it on every list of best foundations. You can’t help but wonder why, and we’re going to tell you! Maybelline Fit Me Foundation is available in a wide variety of shades and finishes to ensure that there is a product for everyone. It’s affordable at a low drugstore price. Even more important than that, it lives up to it’s claims!

Why we love it: 

  • Refines pores
  • Natural looking finish
  • Suitable for normal and oily skin

Check it out here!

Powder Foundation Pros vs. Cons

pressed powder foundation

Powder foundation is available in a loose or pressed powder. It comes in the same wide range of shades as liquid foundation, but it’s not quite as versatile. 


Great For Oily Skin

If you have oily skin and are looking for light to medium coverage, powder foundation can be your new best friend. The powder is exceptional at absorbing excess oil without looking cakey. Just remember not to use too much. A little goes a long way. 

Your Go To For Hot Days

Powder foundation is not only great at absorbing oil, it works wonders for sweat too. If you’re planning on being outside most of the day during the summer, go with a powder foundation. 

Great For All Skin Types

It doesn’t matter what your skin type is, you can trust that powder foundation won’t be too harsh. However, people with dry skin will want to make sure they purchase a foundation with moisturizing properties. 


Applied Using A Large Powder Brush

If your beauty blender is your favorite makeup tool, you’re going to have to put it up to wear powder foundation. This type of foundation is best applied with a powder brush. Nothing else seems to work as well as those large brushes do. 

Doesn’t Usually Have The Same Coverage As Liquid Foundation

There are powder foundations on the market that offer full coverage. However, these don’t seem to have the same coverage as liquid foundations. They don’t. 

Not The Best At A Dewy Finish

While you can find a dewy finish in a powder foundation, powders don’t pull off the same look as liquid foundations in this category. 

Recommended Powder Foundations

Bare Minerals Original Loose Powder Foundation ($35)

BareMinerals is one of the first brands of foundation that I ever used, so it has a bit of a sentimental place in my heart. However, that’s far from the only reason you’re going to love this powder foundation!

Why we love it:

  • Lightweight
  • Buildable
  • Naturally luminous finish
  • Easy application

This foundation does more than just give you a flawlessly natural look, it cares about your skin. 

Check out all the details here!

PUR 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup ($29.50)

A multi-tasking makeup product designed with you in mind. Pur 4-in-1 mineral makeup goes beyond what a powder foundation is supposed to do. Nourishing ingredients help correct an uneven skin tone to minimize the appearance of imperfections, like dark circles and redness. 

Why we love it: 

  • Gluten free formula
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Doesn’t settle into creases
  • Buildable
  • Easy application

Check it out here!

Which One Should You Pick?

apply powder foundation

I’m a big fan of having multiple foundations in your arsenal. Then, you can wear the one that suits you for the day. However, if you’re only going to pick one, go with a liquid foundation for full coverage if you don’t have oily skin. If you have oily skin, a powder foundation is a must.

You’ll also need to consider your other makeup products when deciding on powder foundation vs. liquid foundation. Layering powder products on top of liquid foundation can occasionally result in a muddy mess on your face. Instead, try using the same formula for all of your face makeup products. Use a liquid or cream blush with a liquid foundation and so on. 

These are far from the only foundation tips and tricks that you need to know, and far from the only good foundations on the market. Browse the rest of the site for more need-to-know info to get the flawless look you want!

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