Face powder is a cosmetic product applied to the face to serve different functions, typically to beautify the face. Originating from ancient Egypt, face powder has had different social uses across cultures and in modern times, it is typically used to set makeup, brighten the skin and contour the face.
Face powders generally come in two main types. One of which is loose powder, which is used to assist with oily skin in absorbing excess moisture and mattifying the face to reduce shininess. The other is compressed powder which conceals blemishes and maximises coverage.
The use of face powder has contributed to beauty standards throughout history. In ancient Europe and Asia, a whitened face with a smooth complexion signalled a woman of high status. The prevalence of this trend was carried throughout the Crusades and Medieval era. During this time, women used harmful ingredients as face powder including bleaches, lead and lye.
Modern face powders are currently available in different types to serve multiple functions. The six main types of face powder include loose powder, pressed powder, mineral powder, translucent powder, HD powder and finishing powder.
Finishing powder is mainly used to minimise fine lines and pores. It can even out the skin texture and blur out imperfections, used as a final product to complete makeup. It is available in both pressed and loose forms.
The changing conceptions of masculinity during the 2000s led to evolving beauty trends that saw cosmetic products sold to men including facial scrubs, face powders and eye shadow. The use of face makeup has expanded to include males who desire an enhanced look, using face powder to achieve a chiselled complexion. As cosmetics in contemporary society are diverse in shade range options, modern face powder enhances natural skin tones and most brands cater for all skin types. 21st century cosmetic trends are heavily influenced by beauty icons and the face powder application technique known as ‘baking’ has been popularised by socialite Kim Kardashian West. Baking involves patting translucent face powder under the eyes, the 'T' zone, beneath the cheek bones, along the jawline and on the sides of the nose, allowing it to sit for a few minutes while the foundation is absorbed by the skin’s body heat, then brushing it off. This technique creates a pore-less and creaseless look that is a desired make-up beauty standard in modern times.
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