Powder vs Liquid Foundation: What’s The Difference?

Currently, there is a wide variety of products in the makeup world, each with different indications and today we are discussing powder vs liquid foundation: differences, how to use and what to pick.

Powder vs Liquid Foundation: What’s The Difference?

Both products have pros and cons and there is no one right answer – just the right product for you. 

In this article, we are taking a look at two very popular types of foundations; powder and liquid foundations. Let’s get started!

liquid or powder foundation: What’s The Difference? 

Apart from saying that one is liquid and the other is powdery, there are many other differences that are not so obvious.

Powder vs Liquid Foundation: What’s The Difference?

For example, while the liquid formulas will probably offer better full coverage, on the other hand, powder foundations tend to be less damaging.

At the same time, liquid products are more hydrating which is better for dry skin. 

On the other hand, powder foundation works better for those with oily and acne prone skin, leaving the skin opaque.

There are more differences to point here, but let me just highlight some important points about these types of foundations separately.

Powder Foundation & Compact Foundation

If you have oily skin and are not a fan of a dewy finish, then you should try a powder foundation.

The powder texture helps with the oleosity, absorbing excess oil, giving a natural and light effect for your everyday makeup.

Mac powder foundation

A powder foundation and pressed foundation can be considered almost the same.

The difference is that one is loose and the other is pressed and compact.

However, the compact foundation has a more artificial finish, While the conventional powder foundation can offer a very natural finish.

You can find powder foundations in full coverage, but normally they offer a lighter to medium coverage and will last longer on the skin than the liquid foundations.

But you light coverage foundation in powder and a light coverage foundation that is liquid as well. 

In the same way that you can find a full coverage foundation be it powder or liquid. Just read the package to check.

Applying Powder foundation

Applying Powder foundation?

To apply powder foundation, you need a nice sponge. I don’t recommend applying it with the fingers as it can be messy and won’t facilitate an even application.

If you want more coverage, it’s better to use a sponge or a kabuki brush, as the bristles help to give coverage and finish.

For lighter coverage, you can use a powder brush or fiber duo. But here the coverage is very light,

Remember to prep your skin and use a setting or fixing spray to keep everything in place for longer

Liquid Foundation Formulas

The liquid foundation is practical and easy to apply and is indicated for all skin types. This type of foundation adapts really well to your skin. You can find them from light to full coverage.

liquid foundation

One aspect I like about these foundations is that it is possible to find products that provide a very natural finish.

To find the right liquid foundation for you, you need to have chosen it according to your skin type.

You will normally check the bottle to find out what type of effect the foundation offers and the skin type it is more suitable for.

If you have dry skin, you will probably benefit much more by choosing a liquid foundation.

Is good to remember that liquid foundations can include tinted moisturizer,  cc creams, bb creams for sheer coverage.

How To Apply Liquid foundation?

Tips To Apply Liquid Foundation

To apply liquid foundation, you can use your own fingers, a brush, or a sponge.

Remember to prep your skin and use a setting or fixing spray to keep everything in place for longer.

What To Choose Based On Your Skin Type

The best foundation is the one that is developed for your specific skin type.

Generally speaking, down below we have some recommendations for different skin types:

What To Choose?
  • Oily skin types: you can use powder foundation or a matte oil free formula liquid foundation 
  • Dry Skin: opt for a hydrating liquid foundation with nourishing ingredients 
  • Normal and Combination Skin: You can choose liquid or compact foundation
  • Mature Skin: A liquid foundation is a great option as the skin absorbs it quickly and will better conceal the lines.
  • Sensitive skin: If you have sensitive skin, give preference to hypoallergenic formulas you can check it on the box or the bottle.

Powder or liquid foundation In The Summer

Generally speaking, powder foundation tends to be a better option during the summer.

liquid and powder foundation

The reason for this is that the liquid form tends to melt and move with heat, while the powder formulas are more resistant to heat.

The powder will stay in place and will last longer in these situations.

Powder vs liquid foundation: Coverage

Powder vs liquid foundation: Coverage

If you apply a loose powder, it will not be enough to cover major imperfections and in most cases, they don’t offer buildable coverage.

The liquid formula counts with shades that are more close to the skin tone, which facilitates the coverage of imperfections.

Compact powders generally offer just one type of coverage, loose powders give you the freedom to build up layers until achieving the ​​desired coverage.

So you can build up to full coverage, at the moment you layer it up.

Powder vs liquid foundation: Pros & Cons


Powder foundation is great to take off the shine and dewy aspect of the skin.

They are more resistant in the summer and won’t clog your pores, so you can choose powder foundations to go to the beach!

The liquid foundations are emollients and tend to be more hydrating. 

Quick tip: Opt for nourishing foundations that contain vitamin E and sun protection.

It is important to remember that a liquid formula will do well in any skin type and great if you prefer lightweight makeup.

Liquid foundations are easier to apply than powder foundations, even if you don’t have tools such as sponges and brushes.


Loose powder can be messy to apply and demand a brush or a sponge in your hands every time.

Also, the coverage is not that great.

The compact powder can make your makeup look heavy so you have to be careful while applying it.

The liquid formulas may melt and crack during summer or super hot days.

If you have dry skin, the powder foundation can leave your skin even drier, so better not to use them.

A liquid base can clog the pores, so make sure to look for an oil-free liquid formula that won’t clog pores.

How To Make Powder and Liquid Foundation Last Longer?

In this battle Powder vs liquid foundation, the way to make them last longer is the same.

Always start your makeup by prepping your face by cleansing, hydrating, and applying primer.

Remember that skin hydration will be a strong ally in your foundation application, especially if you have dry skin.

To finalize, use the setting spray if you have dry skin or a setting powder if you have oily skin.

The setting and fixing sprays will help keep the makeup in place for longer as well as keep the skin hydrated and help your makeup look more natural.

Powder vs liquid foundation Final Thoughts 

In this comparison of Powder Vs liquid foundation, we saw the difference, pros, and cons of each type of foundation.

There is no right or wrong product, as there are many variations and possibilities for every skin type.

Always mess up and try out different products, that way you’ll know what is your personal preference! 

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