If you’re like many beauty lovers, applying makeup is a daily part of your morning routine. From concealer to mascara, every step is practiced and carefully executed to make sure you’re feeling your best. Of course, you invest in products that work well for your skin and help you look and feel great. But if you skip the final step in the process, all your hard work could go to waste. That’s where the best setting powder comes in to lock in any stunning look all day long.
Setting powder is a foundational step in any beauty routine. It keeps everything in place and provides much-needed longevity to your makeup. There are dozens of options to consider, from a matte finish to a dewy sheen. And with new research finding that people spend one-sixth of their lifetime trying to enhance their physical appearance, why wouldn’t you do everything you can to make sure that time doesn’t go to waste!
A downside of makeup can be that it draws undesired attention to texture on the skin. In fact, a survey of 2,000 American women 35 and older found that nearly three-quarters say their confidence is impacted by the way their skin looks (72%). More than half of women acknowledged that their skin insecurities prompted them to cover up their bodies (55%). The top skin care concerns that women struggle with are combination skin (31%), dry skin (29%), and wrinkles (28%). Choosing the right setting powder can not only extend the life of your makeup application, but can also help smooth the appearance of common insecurities like oil, dryness, and texture.
Whether you prefer a shimmery finish or a matte look, there are plenty of setting powders for any makeup lover to choose from. To help you find your perfect fit, StudyFinds searched 10 expert websites for reviews on the best setting powders to add to your beauty routine. This list rounds up the most frequently recommended products, but as always, be sure to let us know in the comments if you have a favorite we missed!
The List: Best Setting Powders, According to Makeup Experts
If you need something to hold your makeup in place without weighing you down, look no further. This Hourglass powder promises a smooth finish that’ll last hours, and all without that washed-out powdery look. “Lightweight and virtually undetectable, this finishing powder earns our top spot,” says Forbes. “The finely milled formula has a seamless application while the diamond powder helps to smooth creases and blur imperfections. It bakes your makeup (especially under the eyes) to perfection and produces an airbrushed finish.”
“Talk to any makeup artist, and you’ll likely find this setting powder in their kit,” claims Glamour. “That’s because one fine layer of this silky, hydrating formula rivals Instagram’s Subtle filter—you know, the one every influencer uses. The secret? The formula is infused with light-refracting diamond powder, which sets makeup while giving skin a blurred finish. Plus it can be used on a range of skin tones without leaving behind a white cast.”
This powder is great for a full glam or a quick touch-up thanks to its easy-to-use (and luxurious!) packaging. “The Hourglass setting powder is a chic product on packaging alone. It’s not why we’re here, but it deserves a spotlight for its (on brand) filtered tiny holes in the shape of an H,” adds InStyle. “Oh, and you don’t have to worry about shaking it vigorously to get the product out. Luxury without the effort? We’re sold.”
Oily skin types will appreciate Charlotte Tilbury for its ability to control oil without making your glam look flat. Whether you prefer a little powder in problem areas or to lock it in with an all over dusting, this pressed powder is sure to do the trick. “No matter how much powder you like to use, the results will be an airbrush finish that works on all skin tones at varying aging levels,” notes InStyle. “If you want to set your entire face with powder, you can still make this your last step without fear of disturbing the makeup you already have on.”
“There’s a reason one of these fan-fave Charlotte Tilbury products is sold every minute: Sweet almond oil and rose wax nourish skin, while pearlescent pigments have a luminizing effect. The beautifully airbrushed effect blurs lines or imperfections for a soft-focus finish that lasts all day long,” says Glamour. “Some of the highlights of this product include its fragrance-free formula, lightweight feel, and its ability to smooth skin without settling into crow’s feet and fine lines. It’s great for minimizing oily complexions,” adds Best Products.
Some celebrity beauty lines are no more than a bit of branding behind an average product. Not so when it comes to anything from Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty. The Pro Filt’r setting powder packs a powerful punch in any makeup bag, and is sure to keep you looking your best. “It’s obvious with this product that Rihanna knows a thing or two about being camera-ready, because its pore-blurring, mattifying effect would be worthy of the digital-camera days of the early aughts—or even the brightest of Lumee Lights,” notes Glamour. “Plus, true to Fenty form, the brand came through with a wide range of pigments to choose from (eight is a lot for this kind of product—some brands offer just two), ensuring it blends well with all skin tones.”
“In terms of shade options, Fenty Pro Filt’r is a clear winner. With a diverse range of skin tones in mind, this loose setting powder comes in eight hues ranging from Coffee (very deep) to Butter (light with warm undertones) to universal translucent,” says Byrdie. “Fenty Beauty offers eight pigmented shades of setting powder that provide light to buildable coverage for light, medium, and dark skin tones and the ones in between. This talc and silica-based formula also contain squalene, a surprise skincare hero ingredient that puts back moisture into the skin, where most powders would dry it out,” adds InStyle.
If you’ve stayed away from translucent powder in the past, you might just find that Laura Mercier is an exception to the rule. Rather than leaving a white cast, this powder blends seamlessly with any skin tone and provides a smooth finish to any makeup look. As Glamour says, “some people avoid translucent powder for fear of looking blotchy or ghostlike, but with its weightless feel and seamless finish, Laura Mercier’s loose powder will convert even the most skeptical among us.”
“With a special occasion coming up, you’ll want to make sure your makeup not only looks good but also photographs well. We’re big fans of Laura Mercier’s Loose Setting Powder, which delivers a flattering soft-focus effect and promises not to flash back in photos,” adds People.
Rounding out our list, this Nars powder strikes a perfect balance between mattifying and hydrating. If you prefer a luminous (but not sparkly) finish, this is the product for you. “Dubbed one of NARS’ best-selling products, this pressed powder sets makeup and adds all-day hydration,” says Women’s Health. “The formula also adjusts skin to different sources of light, so your skin remains camera ready at all times.”
“It can be tricky to find a powder that can nix shine without it clinging to dry patches,” notes Glamour. “This one is hefty enough to soak up any lurking oil yet so finely milled that it takes a lot to overdo it and look powdery. Although it’s described as light-reflecting, there’s no visible shimmer—it just has a natural finish that makes skin look smooth, shine-free, and incredibly clear.”
“Another mess-free option that will give skin a luminous but matte finish: Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder,” adds Allure. “The compact version of a Best of Beauty Award winner is crystal-clear on skin of all complexions, but gives it a filter-like, soft-focus glow.”
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