Face powder refers to any finely granulated substance used for the purpose of setting makeup.
The most commonly utilized base ingredients for face powder are talcum powder and corn starch. Talcum powder is usually considered superior, as it can be formulated to have a greater transparency and has a lesser tendency to cake.
Corn starch is common do to it's low cost and ready availability as an industrial resource. However, any plant starch can concievably used with comparable eficacy. For example, there are reports of refined rice flour used in traditional japenese geisha makeup.
Face powder also serves to absorb moisture on the skin. It acts as an emulsifier, meaning a particle of face powder can simultaneously bond to polar and nonpolar molecules (namely, water and oil).
Applying Face powderEdit
Face powder is applied to make up with a powder puff, a velour disk approximately the size of the palm. Powder is loaded into the puff and pushed gently into the makeup. During this process, the subject should keep their eyes shut, and avoid breathing. A substancial white dusting should be evident over the entire makeup. Excess is then brushed off using a large, soft brush. On tackier makeups where the powder is still visible after brushing away excess, a damp cloth or paper towel may be pressed lightly against the skin to remove excess. So long as you don't rub, a thin layer will still remain bonded to the makeup, and the water will do little to reduce the powder's effectiveness.
Besides translucent, face powder is sold in a range of colors to replicate various effects. These include black for soot, grey for ash, and various earthtones for dirt. They should not be used as a primary pigment, and should be applied over makeup. Application to bare skin is not effective, as the powder has no adhesive properties.
As with all fine particuluate substances, care must be taken to avoid inhaling face powder whenever possible. Makeup artists who are regularly exposed to face powder should strongly consider using a dust mask when using powder; though this does tend to unsettle the subject.
Take note that face powder cannot be assumed to be the same product as foot powder. Foot powder can contain chemicals such as salicylic acid, which is harmful to mucous membranes such as the eyes and nose.