Stila Hydrating Finishing Powder

Today, in Things That Make Sense…

Stila Hydrating Finishing Powder

I was browsing the beauty section of Amazon the other day and came across this finishing powder. While I am currently happy with my current one, I was skeptical but intrigued and clicked through to the product. After all, how can a powder hydrate? After all, Google says:


1. fine dry particles produced by the grinding, crushing, or disintegration of a solid substance.
2. reduce (a substance) to a powder by drying or crushing it.

Common theme? Dry.

I use a finishing/setting powder to absorb the extra oil that my T-zone produces and hold my foundation in place. (If I didn’t have that to contend with, I honestly wouldn’t bother. And since I do not wear foundation every day, I do not use powder every day.) Why? Powders are drying – that’s the whole point.

I did some poking around and found that they offer only one shade of this product. It is not translucent (it is pigmented!) but Stila says the Hydrating Finishing Powder is universal. Reviewers disagree – I found several that said it was too warm, specifically, too orange. I am not a particularly pale person (even when I am pale for me) and that looks like it would be too dark/too orange for me to enjoy.

The Stila Hydrating Finishing Powder page suggests that it can be used as an eyeshadow base and that it is a, “great option for individuals with oily eyelids.” As someone with reasonably oily eyelids, I can’t say I buy that line. If I want more than a couple hours out of much of anything, I need a primer – which this is not. Furthermore, if it is indeed as hydrating as they would have you think it would not make the best eye base for oily-lidded folks. If you have dry lids? Sure, it might help. But I wouldn’t bank on it, and I would still recommend a primer.

Stila says it helps to protect the skin – but it isn’t boasting SPF. Naturally, my reaction was, “How?!” To my delight, there’s some actual science here – the third ingredient, which is ectoin (ectoine?), is a compound present in certain bacteria. Don’t freak out – used in skin and sun care, it helps protect from UV rays. It apparently also helps with dryness somehow, but I’m not sure how – the mechanism is unclear. It is advertised to release this stuff via time-release, but I think that might require me to suspend my disbelief a bit more than I’m willing to.

In all, coming in at $32, I will pass on the Stila Hydrating Finishing Powder. In general, I prefer translucent powders but I especially do not like a one-size-does-not-actually-fit-all medium orange-y hue. Bottom line is that if your skin needs a moisture boost, you should look at your skincare routine and hydration habits – not a powder that perches precariously atop all the other goop we slap on our faces. If you’re looking for a decent finishing/setting powder, I recommend Rimmel Stay Matte. The line carries a translucent and several pigmented shades and is available for $3-5.

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