How to Make Your Loose Powder Last

Published in: Beauty Tips, Makeup Tips/How To, Makeup Tools, News


No matter how hard I try, I’m awful when it comes to controlling how much product I use with my loose powder jars.


It’s not like I’m devoid of muscle control, or like I’m shakin’ the jars like a Polaroid picture.

I don’t know, but every time I gently shake a jar to load the sifter tray, mayhem ensues; powder gets everywhere, and I’m sent down the same product-wastin’ path…

The wastefulness starts with the excess of powder in the tray. It’s why my brush gets overloaded with powder, which I end up blowing off or tapping away when I go to dilute the brush before application.

A lot product gets wasted in the process, and that makes me kind of cranky. 🙁

Makeup McGyver!

I finally found a way to doctor those jars of loose powder to cut back on waste.

It’s a cheap and easy trick that takes less than three minutes to do, and it makes it easier to control the amount of powder that feeds through those built-in sifters, consequently reducing the amount of product that gets lost to the wind.

What you’ll need


  • A jar of loose powder (the kind that comes with a sifter)
  • Scotch Tape
  • Q-Tips

Step by step, oh baby…


First, create a clean surface for the tape by removing the powder from the holes in the sifter area with a Q-tip.


Next, grab a small piece of tape from the dispenser; place it on top of a few of the holes in the sifter.


Continue to cover up the holes with pieces of tape until you have just a few remaining. I usually leave about four uncovered, which allows just enough product — but not too much — to come through when I shake the jar.

All done. Now sit back and admire your genius!

Speaking of saving some bucks…

Nordstrom San Francisco Photo by Mistress Ching

If you’re going to be in the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday, June 13, consider checking out the Nordstrom Cosmetics Summer Trend Show — it’s free. 🙂

Normally you’d have to pay $15 in advance to attend, but Nordstrom Beauty Director Joelle Russo says those who show up at the door on June 13th can get in without paying the cover charge.


The Nordstrom Trend Show event is a live, hour-long show where national makeup artists from lines like Guerlain, Dior, MAC and Lancome dish on the latest seasonal makeup trends. The June 13 San Francisco show will also feature special guest Dr. Rey, star of the E! network show Dr. 90210 and creator of the new skin care line, Sensual Solutions.

To find a Trend Show in your area, visit the Events page on the Nordstrom website.

The show starts at 8:30 in the morning (yikes!), but Joelle suggests arriving at eight to secure a seat.

To attend, head to the elevators located next to the Nordstrom Espresso Bar on the bottom floor of the San Francisco Center. Go up to the fourth floor, which is where the show will be held.

I’ll be there bright and early to get my makeup fix!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 41 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Citrine says:

    That looks really cool and I could totally use the tip for some of my loose eyeshadow.

    Most of the time I am just even too lazy to invert-and-tap so I stick with pressed product instead…

    Citrine´s last blog post..Black Radiance Mineral Shimmers Eye Shadow Liner

  2. Rae says:

    I’ve been doing that with my loose powders since I can remember ^^ It’s super-handy! (Of course, I only leave one hole uncovered, being the klutz that I am.)

    Also, WOW that mall is huge. I wish we had trend shows (or something like them) up in Canada!

    Rae´s last blog post..Bouqet of roses (Or maybe just rose-stained lips)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rae,

      One hole leaves the ultimate control of powder, I bet. 🙂

      I went to Canada once a looong time ago. I remember it being quite cold. I’d love to go back to visit someday, though!

  3. Vanessa H says:

    That is a really good idea! It would come in handy with my mineral makeup sifters, thanks Karen!

  4. Lee says:

    Too Faced Pure Bronze is a loose powder, and its so amazing that I don’t want to waste one bit of it! I will be doing this tape thing when I get home…

  5. Kate & Zena says:

    That is one big mall. The biggest mall we have is two levels!

    I don’t have loose powder so I don’t have to worry about powder everywhere. Loose powder and me don’t mix as I’m exceedingly clumsy. I drop my cell phone at least three times a day. I’ll keep this in mind when I do decide to get loose.

  6. lesley says:

    I was in Nordies today getting the MAC Makeup Remover Wipes and they told me about the show in the 13th and I’ll probably going, on the condition that I do get enough sleep prior… but I doubt Hubby and I will be doing anything special that Friday. Maybe I’ll see you there, Karen! 🙂

    Taping over the sifter jar is also something I do, it’s kind of reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who does it 😉

    Will you be wearing makeup to the Trend Show? I can’t seem to decide if I should go with a clean face sans concealer and everything (yikes!) or if I should have at least some tinted moisturizer and some concealer on…

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lesley,

      I hope we run into each other. Just come up and say, “Hi!”. 🙂

      I will be wearing makeup to the Trend Show. If you want a makeover they can always take it off at the counter, right?

  7. cutie_pie says:

    brilliant! thanks, karen 🙂
    and i seriously wish i lived in san francisco.
    that mall looks amazing

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cutie_Pie,

      I wish I lived in SF, too. I moved away a few years ago and still ache for the City. El Hub is more of a suburbs person, but I’m plotting to move us back. 🙂

      Are you a city girl, too?

  8. Jenna says:


  9. Amy says:

    Another tip for sifters is to leave the piece of adhesive film that usually covers the top of the sifter when you buy it. Instead of peeling it off, poke holes through the film!

    Amy´s last blog post..Grace in Small Things, Part 24

  10. Nancy says:

    Thanks for the advice! This is great for any loose product.

    Nancy´s last blog post..Checkout Bloom Cosmetic’s new products for June!

  11. Solé says:

    Great tip! I do something similar with my loose powders. When I first buy it, I only peel the sticker back halfway, and then cut it. That way only half the holes are exposed. If I don’t do that, I get that giant cloud of powder when I open the container.

  12. Vonvon says:

    Great idea! Will try to apply this method when I use my new mineral eye shadows. They didn’t come with sifter. 🙂

    Vonvon´s last blog post..Vonvon’s SUMMER GIVEAWAY – Update 2….More Prizes!

  13. Kate & Zena says:

    My God, how do you not get lost? I get lost in the mall near my house and it’s one level and like a million different wings. The parking lot is lettered from A to J to correspond to entrances. I’m a very visual person and some of the wings look alike so I’m lost a lot. I’ve learned to tell the two main wings apart by the food court. The one by Kohl’s has Sbarro and the other one doesn’t (I <3 Sbarro breadsticks).

  14. Gloria says:

    Ooh I’m soo going to do this for my Laura Mercier loose eyeshadow that I never ever wear! I hate hate hate opening it to get products out since 1 single lost speck probably costs me a buck, so I just never use it.

    Sometimes I’d try to keep the plastic lid/tape-thing on top of it, but it’s just a huge hassle. I’ll def. try this trick out.

    Thanks sweetie!

    Gloria´s last blog post..Giveaway Contest Ending Soon!

  15. icha says:

    great tips!
    thanks karen =)

  16. Meream says:

    This is indeed brilliant. There should be a monthly Makeup McGyver post here. Hehe. No pressure ,though. 😀

  17. Pinklye says:

    Hi Karen !
    It’s a great idea, thank you very much for all your tips !
    your blog is just brilliant 🙂
    I love your “Step by step, oh babyyyyy” lol ! Yeah NKOTB are back ^^
    have a great week !

  18. Kim says:

    I’m thinking about doing this with my bare escentuals foundation. seriously, that shiz gets everywhere! it’s not TOO expensive and it’s lasting me a really friggin’ long time. Maybe it’s because all you need is less than a pea sized amount to cover your whole face :O! Crazy awesome.

  19. Dao says:

    Neato, that’s a really good idea. My powder jars, on the other hand, gives me an arm exercise whenever I want to dispense some powder.

    Dao´s last blog post..Beauty Literature: Making Faces by Kevyn Aucoin

  20. ines says:

    what i do is i take a penknife or scalpel and slice the sealant tape that comes when you originally buy the product so that only 1/4 of the holes are peeled off (leaving 3/4 of the circle of sealer). if i accidentally peel too much of it off, i find that lightly shaking the jar horizontally with the lid on, rather than to invert the jar, deposits a little bit of product rather than a little bit.

    i do this with all my bareminerals and loose pigments (like MUFE star dust).

  21. ines says:

    oops i meant “a little bit, rather than a lot.”
    TGIF. work emails are making me lose all my energy and coherence… time for a coffee boost and sushi break.

  22. Ann says:

    great idea I will try this! thank you!

  23. AnneMarieB says:

    Your tip could not be more well-timed. I have Clinique’s loose powder… just spilled it all over myself this morning for the billionth time. I would never have come up with the cure… thank you!

  24. Rachel says:

    loled @ this line: It’s not like I’m devoid of muscle control, or like I’m shakin’ the jars like a Polaroid picture.

  25. Anne says:

    Ive been doing that on my sifter jars…Im Filipino and I always try to find ways to save moolah. lol

    and thank you for that info about the Nordstrom trend show! I am actually gonna be there for some Filipino festival so its great timing.

    Anne´s last blog post..My summer must haves

  26. Kaoru says:

    As others have mentioned, I do the hole punching trick on the original tape/sticker that covered the holes when you first buy the product. Not having all the hole uncovered saves so much product, it’s amazing they don’t just make the sifters with fewer holes!

  27. Tali says:

    Great idea… mineral viel is my product that seems to get everywhere!

    Tali´s last blog post..HOME SWEET HOME!!

  28. Sakura says:

    Thanks, that’s much easier and quicker than my method which includes gluing panty hose on top of the holes!

  29. Shirleen says:

    I really enjoyed reading your blog. You are my idol!

    Shirleen´s last blog post..Have Fun With FANCL BEAUTY GARDEN Game For A Chance To Win The New FANCL CLEANSING OIL

  30. Alexandra says:

    I wish we had a Nordstroms in the Uk 🙁
    They always seem to have exclusive mac quads,you cant get anywhere else. Have fun at the makeup show,by then i will have moved,and will be sitting in my new place with no internet connection, i think i will end up playing alot with my makeup lol.

  31. Gemma says:

    What I do with my loose powder is simply pry out the sifter. Then I can dip just the very tip of my brush right in the powder and swirl it in the lid a bit to distribute. This works very well with my Laura Mercier powder. I also use LM Secret Brightening Powder, but I leave the sifter in, because all I ever need is the tiny amount that sticks to the lid.

  32. karen says:

    Thank you so much I hve a container of Fashion Fair loose powder and keep wondring to to control it from spilling out of those little holes I keep thinking this stuff is too expensive to waste I’m so gladd to know that the tape works wonder!!!!!!!!!

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