A Makeup Artist Taught Us His Go-To Powder Hack For Airbrushed-Looking Skin

mbg Editorial Assistant By Jamie Schneider
mbg Editorial Assistant
Jamie Schneider is the Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen with a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan. She's previously written for Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
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Chatting with celebrity makeup artist A.J. Crimson is like taking a swan dive into a chasm of beauty tips. With a lion's share of industry secrets and game-changing tricks (remember this lip-gloss-as-highlighter hack?), he'll have you elevating your own makeup like a seasoned pro.

Here's another one to add to the bank: When using powder to finish off your makeup, "Lift oil from the skin first, and then set your powder," he tells me over Zoom. See, powder does effectively absorb oil, but relying solely on it to mattify can look a bit caky. "You're fighting the product in so many ways and making the skin heavier and heavier." 

Rather, here's Crimson's quick hack that makes your setting powder look so pillowy, it's practically airbrushed. Promise.

How to create an airbrushed finish with powder. 

Essentially, you'll want to absorb most of the oil from your skin before going in with powder. To do so, Crimson says you'll need none other than a two-ply tissue:

  1. Take your tissue and open it up until it's separated into thin sections. 
  2. Tear that thin sheet into pieces (however many you think you'll need for your face), and place it on the area you want to set. 
  3. After applying your base products (foundation, concealer, BB cream, what have you), take your powder brush and powder through the tissue. "The powder is penetrating the pores of that tissue, setting the makeup but also grabbing any oil at the same time," Crimson notes. 
  4. Repeat on the other areas of your face, swapping tissue scraps when needed.

Simple yet so effective. Take it from Crimson: "It comes out with this really beautiful, airbrushed look to the skin," he says. "It looks very effortless and doesn't feel like you have a pound of makeup or powder on." A nice, lightweight matte. 

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The takeaway. 

You've worked so hard on your immaculate face beat—don't let your setting powder take over the whole look! Blotting the oil before applying the finishing touch is key, says Crimson. So try his neat tissue hack: The powder is able to penetrate the tissue's tiny pores and straight onto yours, mattifying the areas you want with seamless perfection. 

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