Review – Marc Jacobs Coconut Setting Powder

The Intro

Ah, setting powder, why is it that such a simple product can be so difficult? All you need it to do is to set your face and lock it in place, how hard can that be to formulate and get right? Apparently, very. Apparently, it’s as hard as it is to spell apparently. I literally never get it right on the first try or the third…thank god for spell-checking. No seriously, I do thank god for it, every night, and every Thanksgiving much to the dismay of my parents. I digress. If you’ve been in the makeup game for very long, you know how hard it is to find a setting powder that works, they are either too cakey, too prone to settling into fine lines, too slip and slidey or too drying or a countless list of other ways it’s not right. Being that my dear, darling skin is combination (oily and dry at the same time, love that for me), finding a good setting powder is especially trying. When I first heard of Marc Jacobs Coconut powder, I had trepidacious, yet high hopes. After all, Marc Jacobs has been known to put out some absolutely game-changing new things. Once the reviews were in, I was filled with even more of the high hopes and so out I went to Sephora to see for myself. When I tested in the store I found that the finely milled powder looked and felt incredible…on the back of my hand. (I never trust those indoor lights to accurately test something on my face). So I purchased, took it home and after several weeks of wear, here’s what I have found.

The Down and Dirty on Marc Jacobs Finish-Line Perfecting Coconut Setting Powder.

The overall performance of this powder which claims to be a creamy, loose powder with five forms of cocoa and coconut butter that will set makeup with a soft-matte type finish lasting up to 8 hours is mixed for me. On the one hand, I definitely found that is has a softer, more moisturizing look than most setting powders, however, when it comes to areas of the face like the undereye and places with fine lines, it fell short. It’s also important to note that the jar that it comes in has an interior mesh that is supposed to be “mess-free” which makes any sort of heavy application like say, the ever-popular baking technique, not only impossible but definitely, very messy indeed. The powder claims to give the skin a healthy, hydrated and never chalky look and for the most part, this is true, but this powder is best kept for days when you want a natural look, or when you are going for glass skin and you don’t mind a bit of shine coming through. It definitely can make your skin look gorgeous when applied right and, to the right places of the face. (Skip over to my Tips and Tricks to find out exactly what that entails).

The Breakdown

Marc Jacobs Coconut Setting Powder is available at Sephora for $44. You’ll get 0.28 ounces or 8 grams if you like fancy metrics. It comes in one “shade” -translucent, which looks like a soft, pale white in the jar but definitely does apply translucently to the skin. As mentioned previously, it has a mesh to keep the product from being “messy”, I found this claim is hardly accurate, the product is very powdery and pretty much as soon as you open the jar, powder flies about, which isn’t necessarily an issue though. The jar itself is a nice, fairly weighted, soft-matte plastic with a smooth plastic lid that screws off. The packaging looks expensive but oddly feels a little cheap. There’s no real discernible smell unless you really stick your nose up close and give a good sniff huff in, to which you’ll perceive a faint coconut-like scent. I’ll get to how it applies to the skin in the next sections. Right below.

The Grading: B+ With Some Complications

I give it an overall B+ because, well, it’s just not a perfect product and while there are some ways to get it to apply beautifully, it’s a tricky powder that must be worked with and understood. If we’re strictly talking about its application over a light wash of foundation or tinted moisturizer, and to only areas of the face with no fine lines, I’d be tempted to bump that grade up to an A-. It does give the skin a beautiful, highly moisturized, natural look when done like this. However, it’ll need retouches throughout the day and you better keep it away from areas like lines and the undereye. It settles into lines and makes them more noticeable, and for the undereye, for some reason, I have seen a more powdery look that can definitely get chalky, especially if applied over concealer. Now, even with this lower grade, I want to be clear, this is a fantastic product and I reach for it several times a week. I know it will give my skin a beautiful, natural look that is hard to replicate with any other powder I have, I just make sure that if I want a more “snatched” look, or need to bake, I steer clear. I also make sure to use a different product on my-under eyes, crows feet, forehead and lip area lines.

The Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Looks absolutely amazing when the desired result is a natural, or glass skin look.
  • Feels moisturizing to the skin and is very comfortable to wear.
  • A little goes a long way, you do not need to cake this on, just a tiny bit will be plenty to set your makeup beautifully, resulting in the product lasting a long time (as in you won’t have to repurchase from using it up quickly). I bought mine several months ago and even with applying it several times a week, it looks like I’ve barely used any. I’d wager that it’ll be another 6 months to a year before I need to restock.

Cons:

  • Does not look great on fine lines or under eyes. I recommend not even using it in those areas. While this isn’t a huge problem, it definitely is annoying to have to get out a whole other product and possibly other brushes or sponge applicator.
  • Not good for a full coverage, super snatched look where you might consider baking or where you need a super-powerful, all day, flawless set from your powder. You’re much better with a Laura Mercier type of powder.
  • Staying power, this goes along with the previous statement, even when applied to a lighter-coverage foundation, you’ll definitely need several touchups throughout the day and you’ll have to be careful when applying powder over it. I recommend using a blotting paper first and then lightly applying more powder if needed.
  • Concealer setting: not a good fit, unless you’re spot concealing. The under eyes are especially tricky, if you set under-eye concealer, it’ll make lines more prominent and can look chalky.
  • Price: since this powder is pretty limited in use, I have to say, I wish it were less expensive. I want more out of a higher-end powder and for $42 I would hope that I can at least use it confidently on every area of my face.
The Powder all by Itself

The Tips & Tricks

So as promised, here is how to get an amazing application from Marc Jacobs Coconut Powder and use it to its full potential, which is amazing when done right.

  • Use this when you are going for a natural or glass skin look. I’m going to link two of my favorite tutorials for glass skin makeup because well, glass skin is a really special thing that is best explained by those who have truly mastered it. Here’s Mariah Leonard and Lisa Eldridge.
  • I also recommend using just a tiny amount of the powder, like way less than you think you need. Try it, and just trust it. This isn’t a regular powder, it’s a cool powder and to use it to it’s beautiful, full potential, less is more babe. When you dip your brush in, just let it lightly dance across the powder, then tap the excess off and then apply using a light hand. Try holding the brush more towards the end of the handle too, this helps get a beautiful, light application.
  • When touching up, use a blotting paper first. Any brand will do just fine. Use a light-handed approach to blotting as well, don’t press it into your skin super hard and definitely do NOT drag or smear it into your skin, I do not care how greasy you are, this aggressive type of blotting will make your foundation look awful. It’ll wipe any foundation right off and smear it all around your face, not worth it, no matter how angry the greasiness makes you. After you blot, you may not even need to reapply powder but if you feel super greasy or you see that your foundation is starting to slide, crack or smear, go ahead and get out your brush or beauty blender sponge and reapply a light layer of powder to just the areas that need it.
  • If you find that your makeup is starting to look dry and crackly, you’re going to want to get a super good moisturizing facial mist and then your powder and do the following. To the areas that are cracking, (treat them first) – dampen your sponge with the spray then carefully and lightly bounce it over the cracking part of the foundation (this works for concealer as well, but don’t set it with the coconut powder, use whatever else you used to set it), then once it looks magically blended back to its original fresh application, go ahead and give it a light setting of powder and then mist your entire face with the facial mist. If you don’t have any cracking and just want to refresh your skin and make it look moisturized and glowy, go ahead and mist your entire face and go about your day.
Hannah Flack
Hannah Flack

I am a USC grad with a passion for beauty, health and science. I reside in beautiful California with my husband and puppy (@sebastian.thecavalierking).

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