Think of banana powder as a setting powder and color corrector combined. It helps absorb excess shine and keep foundation locked into place, but because of the sunshine yellow hue, it also helps neutralize discoloration and offers a brightening effect. It’s perfect for securing a flawless, radiant finish for a long period of time, which is why it remains a hero product in many makeup artists’ beauty bags. “Banana powder has been a staple in the pro makeup artist kit for a while,” notes celebrity makeup artist Dillon Pe?a.
But it wasn’t always so conspicuous. Fun fact: Banana powder actually used to be a film industry secret before Ben Nye, a makeup director for 20th Century Fox, created the very first consumer product. Nye used this setting powder on just about every iconic Hollywood star–Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, and Julie Andrews, to name a few–in order to highlight their features and keep their makeup looking fresh under hot stage lights.
And way before banana powder hit the consumer market, it was a must-have for drag. “Drag is about creating illusions using light and shadows,” says Pe?a. Thanks to banana powder’s highlighting abilities, it can help queens transform into their characters by defining their features onstage, similar to how a chiseled contour can reshape the jawline.
“The two [facial features] that are most identified with masculine or feminine are the brow bone and the jaw,” Jackie Cox, Season 12 star of RuPaul’s Drag Race, previously shared with mbg. “And both of those things we can affect with makeup and change how they’re perceived.” In addition to gluing down their brows to create a blank canvas, queens can use banana powder to mattify and draw attention to certain regions (under the brow bone, the cheekbones, the chin, etc.). Better yet, the base won’t dare budge.