Counter Confidential: My BFF, The Powder Puff

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"My BFF, The Powder Puff"

by Undercover Beauty Agent


Remember those small puffs that came on top of powders for application? Gone. Over the past few years, the powder puff has almost disappeared from most makeup packaging. Sure, puffs can be super chic and vintage. I might even leave a really fancy one on my vanity to channel Betty Draper. Still, I probably wouldn’t use it on my face.

Beauty lovers have become more dependent on their brushes. For good reasons: brushes allow more precision, they can cater to specific areas of the face, they allow you to build color easily without smudging, and they are much more sanitary. But that doesn't mean that the powder puff can’t be used in other ways, especially if you are a makeup artist. And one of the best ways to use this little pad is to turn it into a finger puff.

Take your powder puff on your pinky or ring finger and turn it around so the puff rests on your knuckles. (It might feel a little weird, but if you are a makeup artist, this nifty technique will protect your client's face from any dirt, oil, or makeup that might be lurking on your finger.) It also allows you to balance your hand on your client’s face without smudging makeup that was already applied. It’s perfect for trying to do winged liner on a client.

And because it’s already a powder puff, you’ll still be able to pat on any last minute powder for tiny touch-ups. The ideal finger puff or powder puff is small and compact—almost spongy. The smaller the better, because it will feel more comfortable around your finger.

I never thought highly about powder puffs because I thought they were unsanitary. It wasn’t until I made a careless mistake that that I thought differently.

After doing a full face makeup application on a customer, I was adding some mascara as a finishing touch. My pinky finger lightly grazed my client's skin, but I thought nothing of it. Of course, there had to be a huge black smear right across her almost flawless cheek. It never occurred to me that there might have been a huge blob of mascara on the side of my finger. I only noticed when I stepped back to look at my work. I didn't feel the inky formula on my finger, and because of my mistake, I had to go back with a cotton swab to redo that part of her face.

It's an easy fix, but when you’re dealing with the counter rush, who wants to waste that time? Essentially, I had a eureka moment and found a clean puff so I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. Suddenly, those puffs became as invaluable as brush cleaner.  

Eve Pearl’s EP Professional Puff is my go-to, but if you're in extreme need of a finger puff on the spot, you can always make it yourself: get a flat cotton pad to rest on the knuckle of your ring finger, and tape it down, like a ring made of cotton. Just make sure that the untaped side is facing out. It might feel a bit uncomfortable at first because of the tape, but think of it as a bandage. Plus, it costs virtually nothing to make.

It's a tool often overlooked, but when you can't afford to lose precious seconds, it sure can come in handy (think wedding day makeup, a stressed bride, her bridesmaids, and a 2 p.m. procession).

Artists can sometimes look down on older tools because of new technologies, but we artists can take the old and reinvent them—that’s what we do. Puffs can be important, just in a different way.

Undercover Beauty Agent is just an average makeup artist at your local beauty counter who's reporting true stories exclusively for Beautylish: "I love what I do because I get to make people feel beautiful on a daily basis. I'm a beauty advisor in New York City by day and a secret beauty agent by night, totally ready to share all my insider secrets and gossip."