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Once upon a time, powdering one’s nose meant putting powder on your nose, not into it. But don’t blame cocaine for the decline of an idiom. Long before Steve Rubell opened the doors to Studio 54, suntans and skincare had joined forces to render the noble face powder all but obsolete. The tan changed the paradigm of chic: Back when a sun-kissed face bespoke a day toiling in the fields, alabaster skin was the ideal. Not so much anymore, now that plebes work in cubicles while the rich jetset to St. Barts. We all aspire to that “healthy glow,” and to wit, improvements in skincare have made powder inessential. Once women are armed with cleansers, toners, exfoliaters, moisturizers, masks, peels, dermabrasions, and so on, there’s no blemish left for them to cover over. (In theory, at least.) What good is powder? Well, a fine translucent powder sets makeup to perfection, mattes a shiny complexion, and does not a thing else. It’s no multi-tasking, scientifically substantiated miracle worker, no lipstick that whitens your teeth, no hair-glossing serum that donates 10% of profits to indigenous rain forest tribes and aromatherapeutically boosts your pheremones. Powder is perfectly frivolous and Paul & Joe’s is most perfectly frivolous powder of all. With its pale pink, recherché case and cotton candy powder pouf, the Paul & Joe powder less makeup than objét, especially given that you probably have no need for it. It is, in other words, a luxury.

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