Can baby wipes take off makeup? And now can I use baby powder to set my makeup?

These are questions that come up from time to time because of hacks that “beauty gurus” share a few years ago. These questions hit beauty headlines for a while, die down, and then come back once in a while when someone rediscovers the hack again.

Can I use baby powder to set my makeup? Where did this hack come from?

The hack of using baby powder to set makeup can probably be traced back to beauty vlogger Chanel Ambrose who shared her “discovery” in 2016 on YouTube.


The vlogger swore by this and her viewers appear to have either tried using baby powder to set their makeup and loved it or were very interested to try it, saying that it’s a great way to save on setting powder and that it made a lot of sense.

Considering how you can purchase a bundle pack of baby powder (with two or three huge bottles) for under RM20 and a good setting powder can easily cost twice that price or more, it is not hard to see why many are attracted by the potential of this hack.

So now the question: can I use baby powder to set my makeup?

The short answer: yes.

But do we recommend it? No.

Why shouldn’t we use baby powder to set makeup?

Can I use baby powder to set my makeup - talc

Baby powder, sometimes called talcum powder, contains talc as the main ingredient. This product is used traditionally on babies’ bums to prevent diaper rash and to keep them smelling good.

The product works by drying out any moisture and reducing oil production.

Going by this theory, baby powder should work on your skin as a way to keep sebum at bay, which will keep your makeup intact.

This is why we said yes if you ask “can I use baby powder to set my makeup” because it’s technically a feasible option.

However there are a few reasons why you shouldn’t do it.

Breathing in talc can lead to lung problems

Breathing in talcum powder can lead to lung problems, which can be fatal. There has been studies done that show a high percentage of workers who are exposed to talcum powder over an extended period of time developing serious lung damage and cancer.

Abestos in baby powder is allegedly cancer-causing

In fact, Johnson & Johnson, one of the biggest producers for baby powder has been sued (and lost the lawsuit) by women who blamed their ovarian cancer to asbestos found in their baby powder.

Because of the discovery about baby powder’s links to lung problems and cancer, parents are now cautioned to exercise care when using baby powder on their infants and recommended to opt for alternatives as a diaper rash solution.

And if it’s not safe for the bum, which is far from your nose (where you can inhale it), you can imagine how it may be unsafe for you to apply baby powder on your face to set your makeup.

Poor affinity with makeup

Finally, baby powder isn’t made to go with makeup, so in many cases, those who have tried it complain about how it doesn’t blend well with makeup and end up with a cakey mess. After all, most conventional setting powder made for the face is designed to be finer and has better blendability with makeup.

How to use baby powder as setting powder


So you understand the risks but still want to give it a shot because it’s an emergency and only have baby powder on hand?

Sure, here’s how you can use baby powder as setting powder in order to get a nice makeup finish that won’t differ much from if you had used a makeup setting powder.

1. Apply moisturiser

Moisturising before every makeup application ensures that your face is ready to absorb all the layers of products you’re going to put on your face.

Even if you’re just a concealer and powder type of girl, moisturising properly will help your makeup stay seamless until the end of the day!

2. Apply primer

Primer helps makeup products blend and melt into your skin. If you have dry skin, hydrating primer is the best product for your skin type. Oily skin peeps, on the other hand, will really benefit from mattifying or pore-filling primers.

3. Do base routine

After skin prep comes the base routine. If you want a natural, no-makeup look, skipping foundation and applying concealer to even out the skin tone is the way to go.

If you’re leaning to a full glam makeup look, using a long-lasting foundation with excellent coverage will really help in looking your best.

4. Apply the rest of your makeup

This is where you’re gonna add your contour, blush, brows, and eye makeup. Since you haven’t set your base routine just yet, we recommend that you put on cream products that work really well with your base.

This ensure makeup longevity and will help you look airbrushed and flawless!

5. Set with baby powder

This is where baby powder comes in! Noticed that we didn’t include baking in this makeup routine? This is because the particles in talc-based baby powders are reflective in flash photography.

This is especially evident if you have medium to dark skin tone. Baby powder leaves a greyish-white color to the face in flash photography.

With a dense, fluffy brush, apply baby powder all over the face, making sure that you don’t leave brush streaks on your base.

When it comes to the under eye area, don’t apply too much baby powder as it can crack and break at the end of the day.

Once you see that your makeup is fully set, finish it off with a setting spray to make sure the products are melted into the skin!

Tips when using baby powder to set your makeup

To achieve that fresh, airbrushed-looking makeup look using baby powder, make sure to keep these tips in mind!

1. Use a talc-free baby powder

Because of the controversy surrounding talc in baby powder and its link to cancer, better play it safe and choose a talc-free baby powder.

Powder is one of those makeup products that you have to reapply several times a day, and because of the allegations that inhaling talc is bad for our health, it’s better to use a baby powder without it. (Although we still highly recommend using a regular setting powder over it.)

2. Use a powder puff to retouch

If you think you’re feeling sweaty or oily in the middle of the day, applying a little bit of powder on your face can help you be matte and fresh again!

Use a powder puff when using baby powder to retouch. Using a puff will not disrupt and move the makeup on your face, so everything stays seamless!

3. Wash your face before you sleep

Although this is a golden rule for all makeup products, it’s especially important with face powders, even baby powder.

Powder is made up of super fine particles that can get inside the pores of our skin. Failure to wash and clean our face at the end of the day will result in breakouts, blackheads, and other skin concerns.