How to Tell if You Should Use Cream or Powder Makeup

When you search for new contour supplies, or bronzer, or highlighter; you have two options. You can either buy a powder and some brushes, or a cream. The difference in consistency is obvious, but we wanted to dig a little deeper.

After all, if you’re a makeup noob, you might wonder if one’s easier to put on, or if one lasts longer, or if one’s generally on the cheaper side.

We talked to NYC makeup artist David Birdwell and Milani National Artist DeMille Michelle about how to know which type of product is right for you, and the main differences between both types.

Here’s what to consider when deciding if a cream or powder is right for you.

READ ALSO: Wetting Your Beauty Blender Before You Use it Can Save You $

1. Base It On Your Skin Type

Just like you should be doing with all your makeup products, you need to figure out your skin type before deciding on which products are best.

If you have dry skin, you should probably go for cream products, whereas someone with oily skin should stick to powder. DeMille also noted that cream products can hydrate dry skin, whereas powder products can absorb the oil throughout the day.

READ ALSO: This 16-Year-Old Photog Documents the Lives of Malibu Rich Kids

2. Decide If You’re Going Natural or Dramatic

If you’re trying to rock a no-makeup makeup look, David says cream products are the way to go. But, if you’re going for a more dramatic look you should opt for a powder.

“It really depends on the finish you are wanting to achieve,” he says. “Creams are better if you like simple and quick beauty routines, powders are best for someone who wants to take the time to glam — and usually more experimental in their makeup.”

READ ALSO: How Lisa Ramos Keeps Her Makeup On Fleek At The Beach

3. Check The Weather

If there’s a good chance you’ll be sweating at some point, or you’re going to an outdoor event, DeMille recommends using a powder.

“I would make sure to bring our Milani Prep-Set-Go Transparent Face Powder,” she says. “You can re-apply throughout the day and it will help keep your skin looking matte and flawless, no matter the climate.”


As for longevity, David says the key to long-lasting makeup actually lays in your skincare, not your makeup.

“Lasting power always comes down to your skin type,” he says. “If you’re oily, people tend to need to reapply more often because oil breaks down makeup. If you are dry, most products are water based so skin tends to ‘eat’ the makeup. Look to balancing your skin through skincare vs makeup.”

DeMille, on the other hand, swears by creams.

“I feel that cream lasts longer,” she says. “Cream adheres to the skin better than powder does.”

4. Check Your Beauty Budget

Trying to save dinero while still looking fleeky? Well, you have a couple of decisions to make.

“Powder products tend to be cheaper because of the base of talc and other cheap fillers,” says David. “[But,] high-end cream products get more bang for your buck because they usually have multi-purpose positioning (lips and cheeks) and have skincare infused.”

Although powder products are cheaper, you may have to spend money on brushes if you don’t already have them.

READ ALSO: This Insta Exposes Way Cheaper Versions of Pricey Beauty Products

David also warns that if you’re going to be buying skin products at the drugstore, go for powder.

“Cheaper liquids can use base products like mineral oil or other skin clogging ingredients, so I wouldn’t cut corners for liquid products,” he says.

5. Evaluate Your Makeup Skill Level

If you’re a beauty beginner, should you start with one type of product to make your life easier? Well, not necessarily.

David believes that creams are better for beginners because you don’t need a brush and they have a
“less intimidating product selection.”

DeMille, on the other hand, said she recommends beginners start with powders — or, more specifically, a product with a powder finish.

“Try using our Milani Cream-to-Powder Makeup,” she says. “It gives the coverage of a cream and the lightweight finish of a powder. Its easy application is great for on the go and even if you put too much on, you can always easily blend it out. It’s basically mistake proof.”

Honestly, my advice is to find a friend who will let you borrow some of their products. That way you can see how easy it is for you to use different types and maybe even find a specific product that you’ll want to buy for yourself.

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Mix & Match

Like most makeup artists, both David and DeMille use a mix of products, which means they’re regularly reaching for cream and powder products to create one look.

“I always mix and match liquid and cream products, plus layering is another way to ensure makeup longevity,” says David.

He particularly likes cream foundations that can be set with powders, and cream blush on top of creams.

“If you are going to layer and mix and match, keep in mind to do cream prior to powders to avoid caking,” he adds.

DeMille also layers both creams and powders.

“My favorite two products to create this look are our Milani Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation + Concealer and our Milani Even Touch Powder Foundation,” she says. “This combination gives great full coverage and will last on a long night out.”


Gimme More Beauty

Do You Like?

Some things are only found on Facebook. Don't miss out.