How to Go Foundation-Free with Pearl Powder

Foundation-Free with Natural Pearl Powder

I was always one of those people who hated how foundation felt on me. Whether it was drug-store or high-end, I never liked the feel of a layer of colored product sitting on top of my skin. In college, I was very fortunate to have a Chinese roommate, who was kind enough to show the magical secrets of pearl powder…so! I’m sharing those secrets with you today.

Luz Pearl Powder

Luz Pearl Powder

What is Pearl Powder?

Yep, it is what it says it is. It was hard for me to believe too, especially since pearls are such a valuable and treasured gem, I didn’t think you could possibly crush those precious pearls and dust them over your face….but actually, that’s exactly what is going on here.

Pearl Powder contains:

  • over 30 trace minerals, including calcium, copper, iron, and silica
  • essential amino acids
  • conchiolin (a protein, similar to keratin, which gives pearls their luminescence)

Pearl Powder’s Benefits:

  • hydrates skin cells
  • accelerates cell metabolism
  • facilitates repair of damaged cells
  • increases peripheral circulation
  • promotes elimination of rough patches, skin toxins and blemishes

How is Pearl Powder Made and Used?

Pearls are just ground up into a fine powder and used either topically or internally like a supplement. Pearl powder has been used for centuries for its health and beauty benefits, and even Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, was known to use pearl powder in her beauty regimen. Wu Zetian, the only female Chinese empress used pearl for its revered benefits for the skin. She was actually famous for her beauty and youthful appearance until the age of 74. Skin health was very important in ancient Chinese culture, and pearl powder was used as a natural medicine to make the skin radiant. Today, pearls are registered as a medicine in the Pharmacopoeia of the Republic of China.

Fan Bing Bing as Wu Zetian in television series Empress of China

Foundation-Free Step-by-Step

For those who are used to not having anything on their skin except moisturizer, this may feel a little different at first. For those who are accustomed to liquid or powder foundations, pearl powder will feel as light as air.

The one I’m using is from a company out of Vail, Colorado, called Luz, which you can get on Amazon as well.

Step 1: Prep Your Face

The pearl powder needs something to stick to as to not look like you just dumped a bag of flour on your head. So I use it after my whole skincare routine, after applying sunscreen. I find that sunscreen has the perfect viscosity (even more than moisturizer) for the pearl powder to absorb and become one with the skin.

Step 2: Dip the Brush Into the Powder, Break the Beads

Lightly and gently dip a large fluffy (not too dense, otherwise it’ll get hard to blend) brush into your pearl powder. You’ll get a scattering of powder and tiny beads of powder on the brush once you look at it. Those tiny beads need to be broken up into a fine powder, a very simple task: just run your VERY CLEAN fingers through the brush hairs and the tiny beads will break and disperse into a smooth even powder along the brush hairs. Make sure the brush is lightly covered – it’s better to work in layers with pearl powder than to stick a whole bunch of it on and try to blend it out.

Luz Pearl Powder

Step 3: Dust the Face

Ever so gently dust it on your face. After the initial dusting, you can buff it in like a foundation, still working with your big fluffy brush. DO NOT use a dense foundation brush!

You’ll get a significant amount of powdered fallout actually, so make sure to wear something appropriate.

Step 4: Set with Rose Water

Fix it with a makeup-setting spray, spray toner or floral water. I like to use pure natural Rose Water for its hydrating, brightening and skin-clearing benefits, instead of buying ready-made “toners.” Read more about the benefits of Rose Water here.

The Results

I love the ability of pearl powder to give a sheer coverage to the skin, blurring imperfections as it works to heal and nourish. You’ll get a radiant matte finish – despite pearls’ luminescence, pearl powder is not actually shimmery. I love that instead of caking my skin with a foundation, be it light, heavy, full coverage or dewy, in order to mask imperfections, I am adding products that nourish the skin and bring out its natural radiance.


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