I have ridiculously dry skin. And having ridiculously dry skin means I spend the majority of my nights and mornings methodically slathering my face with various creams and jellies (no, really—I legit cover my face in Vaseline every night), leaving me with a perpetual oil-slick of a face.
Underneath it all, my skin barrier is a happy, hydrated clam. But with all the layers of thick lotions, creamy concealers, and oil-infused tinted moisturizers, my T-zone tends to look a shimmering, reflective lake by noon, and not even a dusting of setting powder in the morning can really prevent it.
Knowing I wasn't about to give up my hella-rich moisturizer (what up, Avene Tolerance Extreme Cream), I did what all good little beauty lovers do: I scoured internet forums and Reddit threads for answers. And after a few (dozen) hours crawling into deep, dark web holes, I found an answer: Setting powder. Surprise! No, it's not setting powder used in the traditional sense as a last step, but instead used as a first step, on clean skin.
Yeah, it sounds weird, but dozens of oily-skinned users swore that swiping a layer of powder over your clean skin before applying makeup, even before your primer, creates a matte base that helps keep the shine away. And hey, it made sense—soak up the excess oil before applying your makeup, rather than waiting until the very end, right?
So after slathering on my moisturizer and sunscreen, I broke out my NYX Translucent Finishing Powder, swirled a sheer layer over my face with a big, fluffy brush, and applied my makeup like usual. Aaand I freaking hated it.
The powder had stuck to certain spots more than others, so my tinted moisturizer ended up looking patchy and uneven, and only partially matte. It was incredibly frustrating, especially because the mechanics of the trick made sense, but the combo of my thick moisturizer and the setting powder just wasn't having it.
As I was resigning myself to a life of weirdly shiny skin, I spotted a pack of Palladio Rice Paper Sheets in my makeup bag. Unlike most blotting papers, which are plastic-like sheets of magic, Palladio's sheets are squares of starched paper laced with rice powder and silica, so they soak up oil while also pressing a fine layer of powder into your makeup. Basically, the ultimate matte makers.
I washed my face, re-applied my 52-step skincare routine, and, after letting everything sit for a few minutes, blotted my face with sheets. Instantly, my skin was mattified (which, you know, was expected). Not getting my hopes up, I blended on my super-hydrating, hella crease-prone makeup, and stepped out into the balmy 98-degree heatwave of New York, fully expecting to look like a melting candle by the time I got to work.
And here is where I describe to you the magical scene that unfolded after I emerged from a sweaty, human-packed subway car, walked 10 blocks while sweating through my dress, climbed four flights of stairs to compensate for a broken elevator, and stepped into my humid office: My face was still matte. I think I might have audibly gasped, or maybe I blacked out, because the whole thing was logic-defying.
There's literally zero reason why my skin wasn't a dripping, shiny, creasing mess. I looked like I had been teleported from my house directly to my office, while the rest of the plebeians around me were walking in with high-shine faces. It was, of course, the work of the Palladio sheets. And to test my theory, I continued doing this trick every single morning during the two-week heatwave, and my skin continued to stay matte throughout the day.
I've tried to replicate the results with other non-powdered blotting sheets, and I've had zero success. Somehow, the combination of rice powder and paper just works, and I feel like I now have a big ol' beauty secret that I want to shout to people on the sidewalk. But instead, I'll just share it here, and hope that at least one shiny-skinned individual's life (okay, fine—face) will be changed this summer. Here's to hoping that Palladio never discontinues their product, or I'll cry.
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