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.

Disclosure: Hey! There are some affiliate links in here, thought you might want to know. There’s more info on the About page.

Worth it? bareMinerals Original

In spite of my love of sleep, I always look tired whether I am or not. Being a quasi-professional 8-to-5 sort, I became concerned that this was giving a poor impression to my superiors based on being asked constantly if I was tired, if I was OK, etc (despite the fact that my performance had not suffered). Lacking any significant experience with makeup at that point, I needed help evening out and brightening up.

Last December-into-January-ish, having been inspired by a friend who took the plunge, I wanted to try BareMinerals by Bare Escentuals. I was attracted by its promise of quick, easy application, lack of potentially messy liquids that I didn’t know how to use properly, etc. Oh yes–and it claims to be just so good for your skin. “You can sleep in it,” their marketing frequently suggests. It doesn’t irritate even sensitive, acne-prone skin. It has SPF! This product calms your skin while delivering a beautiful, flawless, radiant finish.

I bit. Potholes in the ordering process aside (that is another discussion entirely), I received my kit which contained a few things but most importantly their Original foundation in Medium Beige (for reference, I am NC15-20ish when I am super pale. Or so I think) and the appropriate tools. Having watched their application video a few times, I was ready to tackle this. After having used it for a while – daily for a few months – here is my assessment:

The products work fine, they are easy to use especially for beginners. Their claims:

Quick application: Yep, it takes less than one minute to do my face with concealing. Nice!

Easy application: Absolutely; you really can’t mess this up. It would take more time and effort to do this poorly than to do it properly. You also do not need any crazy fancy tools or pro skills to use it and achieve a decent result. You can use their brushes or ones you already have.

Flawless, Radiant finish: Debatable. This is going to rely largely on technique and how much you build up your coverage. If you apply too little, you risk not applying enough to cover problem areas such as broken capillaries, etc. On the other hand, though, since this is a loose powder product, it is really easy to look caked-on and not cute if you do not approach with a VERY light hand. Also, “radiant,” in this case is a nice way of saying, “shiny.” If you are oily, go with the matte variety. (I am Combo w\ Oily T-zone and some days the Original can be a little more dewy than I like.) If you will be having serious-business photographs done, grab a different product; it will not look flawless or radiant in high-definition photography, especially since it contains SPF. Otherwise, it does a decent job for day-to-day wear and I was not dissatisfied.

Calms skin: I didn’t have anything to calm down, so this is my own speculation: this glorified dirt probably isn’t going to save the world. There are clay and mineral masks that can, but their compositions and applications differ substantially.

Non-irritant: This is not a hypo-allergenic product. Sensitive-skin users should proceed with caution, as both the Bismuth and cornstarch used in BareMinerals has a history of breaking otherwise-clear users out. This is not common, but it is something to be aware of, especially if you have a known allergies to either.

OK to sleep in: NO. Do not do this! Not even if they beg you. While it is possible (I lack the resources to verify, either way, for science) that it is better for your skin than a traditionally-concocted liquid product, it is still very important to wash it off before bed. It still can and will clog your pores or leave you with other issues (especially if you are prone to irritation) not to mention the fact that your pillowcase will be less-than-pristine. You should not sleep with any makeup on!

All in all, the claims behind BareMinerals are not so ridiculous that you shouldn’t bother. It is a quick, user-friendly solution for day-to-day makeup if that’s what you’re into. I still use it and am happy when I do. But it is neither a miracle product nor is it an acne or troubled skin-remedy. As always, it is important to have realistic expectations. Proceed with caution if you have certain allergies, or if you have sensitive, stubborn skin. Do some homework and try to establish a good skincare routine for your needs – the highest quality makeup in the world can only get you so far.

Have you tried BareMinerals Original or Matte foundations? What was your experience? Share in the comments!