I must’ve been about 12 when I noticed that my face would immediately start to melt (or feel like it was melting) in even the slightest heat or humidity. Just a hint of warmth would catapult me right past “dewy” to the far less attractive state of “soaking wet.” But as a tween, I had yet to really explore the rabbit hole of products I could use to prevent this. So I turned to someone I trusted who had — my mom — who suggested I try using a powder to soak up the excess oil that oozed from my face whenever a thermometer passed 70 degrees.
Finding a powder, though, proved much harder than I expected. I tried clear, loose, and pressed varieties, discovering a ton of stuff I didn’t like amid my quest to find something I did. BareMinerals Pigmented Loose Powder clumped on and, when applied to a pimple, magnified instead of concealed. Laura Mercier’s setting powder was closer to what I wanted, but ran out in just over a month. It started to seem like a better option would be to just grow out my bangs so long that they’d fall over my entire face like the girl’s in The Ring. Then, one day while browsing the Ulta drugstore aisle (a preferred haunt of high-school girls everywhere), I stumbled upon Palladio Rice Powder. I’d never heard of the brand, but it was priced around $7 — far less than some of the underwhelming powders by more recognizable brands, I thought, and a small price to pay for something that might save me from starring in a horror-movie remake. I decided to give it a shot.
Let me be clear — this is not a perfect product. As many reviewers note, it’s packaged terribly, in a small plastic box with holes at the top and a useless puff. That packaging (and all of the packaging for the brand’s “rice beauty” line, for that matter) also features a vintage-looking image that teeters on cultural appropriation. But even though I’ll never like it, I’ve learned to live with the branding, because this stuff really works — it has literally made me feel more comfortable in my own skin. Where other powders cake, it glides. The translucent shade is light enough to blend into my fair skin no matter how much I press on (that said, a light dusting goes a long way). It also comes in two other shades, natural and warm beige, that are both sheer enough to work on a wide range of skin tones, according to Amazon reviewers. One reviewer who says she uses M.A.C foundation in a shade for darker skin writes that, “incredibly, the warm beige works” for her, and another agrees, writing, “I’ve seen much darker ladies [than me] use warm beige with no problem.” Both echo my observation that less is more when it comes to applying.
I bought my first tin four years ago and have gone through at least 20 since (I use it every day and find myself buying a new tin about every two months). You’d think after all that time I’d know all there is to know about the stuff, but I just recently discovered another draw that fans of multiuse products will especially like: The powder also works as a silver cleaner, thanks to the calcium carbonate in its formula (the other main ingredient being rice starch). Earlier this month, I put some on a cotton round and rubbed it on some tarnished family pieces. It didn’t make them sparkle, but they did shine up enough that I could glimpse my face staring back at me. Unlike the silver, though, it wasn’t shiny at all.
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