I remember as a kid getting lots of gifts of scented powder with huge fuzzy puffs that left me in clouds of perfumed dust. I never really knew what the powder was for other than that it smelled good and the containers it came in and the powder puffs it came with were all very pretty.
Nowadays, I use Ben Nye's Neutral Set Powder. The container is not pretty. I have to supply my own powder puff - which also isn't pretty. It does not have much smell. I know what it's for. It's one of my favorite make-up items.
Most people who use Ben Nye's theatrical make-up use the creme foundations. These are great foundations that come in every color from Fresh Cadaver to Peacock Blue to Crimson Red. Whether doing special effect make-up, clown make-up, or beauty make-up, people choose the colors they apply carefully and apply to create a very particular look. Having achieved that look by selection of colors and careful application, the last thing one will want to do is to make the final result look murky. To set the make-up without changing the colors, my favorite tool is Ben Nye's Neutral Set Powder. Others in our shop prefer I spray on product by Ben Nye called Final Seal, but I prefer the end result with powder.
Ben Nye carries powders in many colors. There is an ultra white which is great for setting clown-white and making it pop with an extra clarity. There is a light pink powder which I like when working with August clown make-up. Translucent powder adds a soft-ness to the finish and very slightly dulls the colors. Neutral set powder goes on with without changing the color or intensity of whatever you have applied.
Ben Nye powders are hypoallergenic. They have a very light scent, but are not perfumed. While they are formulated to work with Ben Nye make-up, I use this whenever I need powder. It has worked well for me with everything from Wet and Wild to Physician's Formula to Max Factor. It creates a minimum of "cloud" when applied. It has a slight anti-perspirant quality.
I have had some people suggest that creme make-ups can be set with baby powders. This is true. However, baby powders tend to leave small dots of powder that don't absorb well. In my opinion, the finish isn't as true.
Ben Nye neutral set powder can be applied with a puff or a brush or a combination of both. I prefer a velour puff. To use the powder, I fold the puff in half like a taco. Then I put some powder into the fold and open and close the puff a few times to work the powder in. I'll gently tap the powder to my face starting at my hairline and working my way down. As I work my way down, I will continue to tap until I don't see any white dots of powder remaining. I may have to add a bit more powder to the puff as I go. I find that at this point, I can usually powder my face with just one application to the puff.
As with all cosmetics, the enemy of shelf life is light and air. I try to keep my powder, like all my cosmetics in a cool dark space when they're not in use. I try to avoid putting my fingers into the product. I have had the same 3 ounce powder last me about 8 months. When I finally replaced it, it was because I was out of product, not that it had gone bad.
Ben Nye powders come in three sizes - 1.25 ounces, 3 ounces, and six ounces. For the neutral set which is what I find most universally useful, I buy in three ounce containers. I do not use powder with street make up most days, but will use it when I dress up as it gives a soft finish to evening make-up.
Ben Nye customers voted this product their MVP. There is a good reason. This is a product worth trying even if you only ever wear make-up for everyday.