Normally, just hearing “tea tree” dries me right up. Tea tree oil saps the joy out of skincare as fast as it does sebum from skin. With its medicinal smell and astringent qualities and with my dryish skin, tea tree has never been at the top of my list. (Oily-skinned folks might beg to differ. Michele at Unboxing Beauty even reviewed allll the tea-tree stuphs here.)
But recently, I was in search of a loose powder to prime my skin for mineral powder (my go-to foundation in summer).
Just the (Makeup) Tip : Struggling with powder foundation applying patchily and unevenly? In addition to washing your brushes, try applying loose translucent powder beforehand (I apply after sunscreen and before mineral powder). This creates a smooth canvas and sops up residual dampness that would otherwise cause the foundation to stick unevenly to skin.
Naruko Tea Tree Overnight Blemish Clear Powdercaught my eye at Beauty Tips in Monterey Park, Calif. (As an authorized retailer of Naruko, Beauty Tips has by far the largest selection of Naruko I’ve seen in a brick-and-mortar. All available to swatch!)
Boasting 2% salicylic acid and designed to work while sleeping, it sparked my curiosity. I picked it up after noticing that the ingredients read like any other loose powder (silica, talc, corn starch, mica, etc.) and being assured by the shop owner that it could be used during the day.
In fact, I’ve only used this during the day as part of my makeup routine. It works as both a priming powder and as a finishing powder (after minerals or cushion foundation).
To my surprise, I LOVE it!
What makes it better than some other loose powders?
- Mattifies and primes with just a light dusting
- No whitecast (but I haven’t tested for flashback in photos)
- No dry flakes
- Skin looks soft and natural rather than undead and flat
- Not too drying; I still get a little oily by the end of the day
With other powders, I’ve been sweeping on 2-4(!) layers to fully remove that damp feeling. But usually, just one light layer of the Naruko powder suffices. And it tamps down shine without sucking the life out of cushion foundation.
Unfortunately, I haven’t used this overnight and can’t speak to the anti-acne abilities. For what it’s worth, I haven’t noticed a difference while using this 3-4x a week (still getting the occasional small zit). My zits have always responded better to benzoyl peroxide than to salicylic acid though.
The price is fair given how little I need each time (and the theoretical skin benefits). It’s currently $20 sale price/$31 reg. price on Naruko’s U.S. website for 10g/0.35 oz. (As comparison, Becca Soft Light Blurring Setting Powder is $38 for the same amount but requires a ton of layers to fully prime. I do love IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores, and that’s $24 for 0.23 oz.)
UPDATE Aug. 12, 2017: IT Cosmetics now has Bye Bye Breakout Powder that’s $28 for 0.24 oz and boasts of zinc oxide, kaolin clay, witch hazel, colloidal oatmeal, tea tree, sulfur, and an AHA/BHA complex. Screencap from IT Cosmetics’ product page:
Pros: Mattifies easily with very little product. Colorless (on NC20/cushion shade #23 skin). Soft finish. Not overly drying (at least not in the summer, when skin is pretty balanced).
Cons: Unknown effectiveness on acne. Tea tree oil scent (but fades once applied). Useless puff.
BONUS: Because the U.S. Naruko site is short on English info, here’s some info about Naruko’s Tea Tree Shine Control & Blemish Clear line from the included pamphlet. Tbh, I usually look up products on Naruko’s Malaysian site, which has English descriptions for everything.