While thinking about what to write for our theatre page for our new site, my mind kept coming back to "stacking the puff." It sounds kind of funny, stacking the puff, but it is something I learned one of my first days at Westmore Academy of Cosmetic Arts - a very "old school" based makeup academy that I went to back in the early 90’s. Sadly - this institution does not exist anymore, but the founder was Marvin G. Westmore - big brother to Michael Westmore of Star Trek fame and of course one of the Westmore's of the old Hollywood Westmore Dynasty.
He is still my favorite teacher and mentor. (Maybe we can get Marvin to do a guest blog for us some day - hint-hint.)
Anyway - stacking the puff, funny term as it is, is a classic technique that never seems to lose value. The idea is that you put a lot of powder on your puff, pushing it into the puff so that you can use it over and over again. I have read about "baking" - setting the powder on thick and letting it sit on the skin for a long time. But powdering with a stacked puff is doing is essentially doing what powdering correctly should do, and it does what "baking" does but so much faster. That is - using powder to set the make by attaching it to the skin - although baking, in essence, is allowing the powder to fall through the makeup slowly - powdering with a puff allows you to push the powder through the makeup to attach it to the skin. This is essential for long wear of makeup - especially cream makeups that are traditionally used in theatre.
So here is how it is done. Use the classic Velour Powder Puff, also known as a Peach Powder Puff and put a good heaping teaspoon or more onto the powder puff. (Now you know why so may pro powders come in a shaker bottle!)
After the powder is sitting on the puff - fold the puff in half and rub the two sides of the puff together thus, pushing the powder into the puff. You may need to open the puff and fold it the other way to push more of the powder into the puff and do this a few times. Keep doing this until all the powder is now in the puff and no longer on the surface. If this is done correctly, you can turn the puff over, and no powder will fall out. A simple tap of the puff to the back of you hand will bring the powder out to the surface - a nice amount that is very usable.
Now you are ready to powder the face. After you have tapped the puff to bring the powder to the surface, gently press and roll the powder puff onto the face and push it lightly through the makeup. Do this all over the face.
Some like to go top to bottom - some like to visualize the face as a chart and make sure you have powdered every part of the face. I usually start near the temple and powder across the cheeks, over the nose, down the cheeks, and finish up on the forehead. Don’t forget to get a good powder setting on the underside corner of the nose. (I love the story a customer told me that her teacher would always check there to see if they had powdered completely! - gotta love a teacher like that!)
You may have to tap the powder puff to the back of your hand a few times during the powdering process. You will use a lot more powder for a much heavier or full coverage cream makeup and a lighter touch for a sheer coverage.
After you have powdered completely - you will have a nice matte finish. You may even notice a little powder sitting on top of the skin - now is the time to use your powder brush - use it to brush off any excess powder.
Because this is such a thorough powdering method that it may look over matte to you when you first see it - but the natural oils of the skin will break through in about 5- 10 minutes. It will not lose the stay-ability of the makeup overall.
The best use for this powder method is for theatre with the use of cream makeups, film and photography makeup with cream foundations and for beauty for guys and gals who have oily skin and have a hard time with makeup staying on. Or for anyone wanting a very matte look. Not recommended for extremely dry skin for everyday makeup.
Pro Tip: Use the little cellophane sleeve the puff comes in and put the puff back in, to use again and again. (It has a lot of powder in it still.) Great for on set, just write you actors name on the cellophane and use on your actors all day - toss at the end of the day
So - there you have it - the traditional Stacking the Puff and powdering method. Have fun!