Applying Powder Makeup Without a Brush

Published Categorized as Makeup Tips

Sometimes it happens. You forgot your kit at home, or you just don’t have a brush nearby, or maybe you haven’t cleaned your set recently. Yet you still must put your face on. Then the question becomes: how do you apply makeup without a brush? In this post we’ll be concentrating on how to apply face powder without a brush, mostly touching on application of powder makeup.

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Though your tool of choice really depends on if you are using liquid or powder foundation, there are a plethora of tips and options out there when you find yourself in this situation.

You’re probably thinking, “What can I use if I don’t have a makeup brush?”

After all, you have been told time and time again to use the right tools for the right task (such as liquid foundation brushes for liquid foundation). Well for emergencies like this, let’s think outside the box!

Check out how to apply powder makeup without a brush.

Table of Contents

Applying Powder Makeup with a Sponge

The first option is a sponge or a beauty blender. Using this option is one of the easiest and one that most professionals even suggest.

beautyblender original: The Original Makeup Sponge for Foundations, Powders & Creams

Using a sponge gives you a more opaque look and is better at covering blemishes.

These sponges or blenders can be found at most stores that have a good cosmetics department.

Once you have the sponge at the ready, here are a few tips on how to use it to apply powder makeup:

  1. Start by dabbing the part of the sponge you intend on using into your powder makeup (usually this is done using powder foundation). For finer areas you may want to use the tip, whereas if you are using it to apply powder to a large area, the flat side or larger side would be best used.
  2. You will want to dab or stipple instead of sweeping the powder across the skin. This will apply a light layer for better coverage.
  3. Without a brush, you may need to combine the sponge with the puff to get rid of excess powder.
  4. Once you’re done, you’ll want to wash the sponge out in preparation for the next application.

For tips on how to use sponges for liquid foundation, click the link.

After you’re done, don’t forget to clean your sponge! You wouldn’t want a moldy beauty blender!

Applying Powder Makeup with a Powder Poof

Another option that you can turn to if you find yourself brushless is the classic puff or poof as some may call it. These are the flat pads or puffy applicators that you get in prepackaged compacts and are great for foundations and blushes.

Home-X Powder Puffs. Set of 3

If you have this on hand, here is how you would do it:

  1. You will need to dab the puff into the power heavily. Once you have it coated, you will want to shake off the excess powder until there is little to no fall off.
  2. You will want to tap the poof softly all over your face so that there is less of a chance of any makeup smudging.
  3. Once the base light foundation is done, you will want to begin to dab more firmly.
  4. When you get to areas that are a little more delicate, like around the eyes and nose, you may want to fold the poof in half, so you have better control
  5. Once you are done, test to see if you need more powder. If your skin feels dry and smooth, then you have done enough, if not apply a little extra until you get to the desired feel.

Here are some powder poofs available online:

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Applying Powder Makeup With Bathroom Products

Is there a way to use what you have on hand in your vanity?

There are many bathroom products that you could use instead of a brush. Here are just a few.


One of the options you have is tissue when talking about using bathroom products.

This can also be used to set powder makeup.

  1. Try to make the tissue as thin as possible.
  2. Use the side of the tissue that was not originally exposed, as the side you place on your face.

You can use a tissue to apply powder makeup in this way, or you can use it to help catch powder makeup while you use one of the other options.


If you have an abundance of Q-Tips or cotton swabs, you can use them to apply powder makeup like eyeshadow.

  1. You will dab the cotton swab in the powder.
  2. Once coated in the powder, you will take the swab and apply the powdered makeup to the area.
Q-tips Cotton Swabs, 750 ct


Using a cotton ball, you can also apply powder makeup without a brush easily.

Cotton balls can be used to apply blush or foundation and offer an evenly distributed layer quickly.


You may not have a makeup brush but here’s another type of brush you can use.

Don’t be alarmed by this choice of tool.

A toothbrush is actually an excellent choice for any powder application having to do with your eyebrows.

  1. Use a clean brush.
  2. Place it in the powder.
  3. Brush it through the brows following the arch.
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Applying Powder Makeup with Your Fingers

The final option in how to apply face powder without a brush is the tools that you came into the world with.

That’s right! Your fingers.

Use your fingers to apply makeup!

In order to do that, here are a few steps you should take:

  1. First, make sure you have clean hands.
  2. Dab or run your fingers through the powder.
  3. With two fingers, you can gently swipe the powder from your fingers at the major spots you want to apply on, like your cheeks.
  4. Continue this process, cleaning your fingers occasionally.
  5. Follow the regular brush route you would be doing, but with your fingers, until the powder makeup you are using is fully applied.

How to apply face powder without a brush

Now that you know everything you need to know about how to apply powder makeup without a brush, you are set no matter what situations you find yourself in.

Making use of the tools you have or the tools that you have collected in your makeup kit is a great idea!

Check out more posts on powder makeup on our blog!

Tell us your go-to tips for applying powder makeup without a brush!

By Ellis James

We design luxuriously glamorous bags, organizers and life essentials for you. At Ellis James Designs, it’s all about YOU. Your bag, Your way. Our exclusive designs are timeless, indulgent and most importantly inspired by you. What will be your first Ellis James Design?

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