Shopping for an effective setting powder may seem straightforward and painless, but it is often tricky. It begins with choosing between loose or pressed formulas, which, while virtually the same, work differently and lead to various results depending on the application tool you choose. Next comes the shade selection to avoid being stuck with a product that may read too cool or warm or result in a flashback that will leave you looking beyond ghostly in pictures.
When it comes to picking out your setting powder from thousands of drugstore brands, knowing which ones have continued to live up to and exceed customer expectations can be helpful (especially when glowing reviews come from someone who's based their career around creating stunning makeup looks for some of the world's most recognizable names).
That's where celebrity makeup artist Vincent Oquendo comes into play. He's worked with everyone from Netflix's hit series Wednesday star Jenna Ortega to Oppenheimer's Florence Pugh. If you're ready to begin your journey through the world of setting powders from one of Hollywood's biggest makeup artists, we recommend you keep scrolling. Bon voyage!
Finding And Using Your Setting Powder
Don't worry. Discovering the right setting powder for you isn't all work and no play. According to Oquendo, it takes some trial and error to understand the ingredients that will make the biggest difference in your finished look. When selecting the setting powders to work with, Oquendo favors products featuring silica. "It is considered an anti-caking agent, [and] pretty much it makes the powder look smooth and not heavy," he explains. While a number of his personal favorites to use on his celebrity clientele may come with a bigger price tag and may take a bite out of your budget, he's not one to shy away from drugstore products that deliver major results for less like Mabyelline's Lasting Fix Loose Setting Powder.
Oquendo's Product Pick
As you may have already guessed, setting powders don't depart from other pivotal base makeup products when it comes to prepping the face before your powder of choice is applied to the skin. Oquendo recommends skincare followed by using a smoothing and illuminating concealer (his favorite is the Tula Skincare Radiant Skin Brightening Serum Concealer) and a skin tint. "I like to keep skin light and sheer before my setting powder application because then it applies evenly," he explains. "I would use the Morph X Ariel A21 Brush then to pick up the setting powder, and before you apply it, tap the bottom of the brush against the counter straight up so the powder settles into the base and body of the brush and is not just sitting on top." The look is finished with a setting spray to keep everything in check.
Now that you know what to look for and how to apply setting powders for the best result, keep scrolling to find more setting powders makeup artists and beauty editors keep in their kits. You'll want to screenshot these before they disappear from the shelves of your neighborhood drugstore.
The Best Drugstore Setting Powders
Best Overall: Wet n Wild Photo Focus Loose Setting Powder
Wet n Wild's silky, weightless setting powder offers the ideal touch of sheer coverage to set makeup for lasting wear. It applies evenly, blends seamlessly, and provides a soft-focus, blurred finish.
Customer review: "This is my first loose powder, so I don't have much to compare to. It exceeded my expectations and provides a beautiful smooth finish with no dry, patchy spots. Would recommend. Great price for someone just starting out. Most recommended finishing powders are $20+."
Pros: Provides even coverage with an air-brushed finish
2. Covergirl Clean Invisible Loose Powder
Looking for a sheer loose powder to keep your complexion shine at bay all day? Its silky fine loose powder provides a natural finish using a formula that is non-comedogenic, vegan, and won't block your pores.
Customer review: "I really liked this powder. It sat nicely on my skin and didn't look too caked on. I also appreciate that the ingredients are cleaner and that it is an affordable product. I will definitely use this as a staple in my routine."
Pros: Uses a talc-free formula
Cons: Packaging is difficult to remove without a mess
3. E.L.F. Halo Glow Setting Pressed Powder
I can't stop raving over how loose and weightless this pressed powder feels on the skin. Use it to keep shine away while creating a natural-looking glow that smoothes the appearance of pores and fine lines for a long-lasting blurred, soft-focus look.
Customer review: "I'm obsessed with this product! It has such a pretty look. I had low expectations and was just hoping for some shine control, but now it's a must-use for me. Even if I'm just doing a really simple look, this setting powder gives it a pretty finish. It actually adds a soft glow to your face with just a hint of color (I bought the light pink, which suits my fair skin)."
Pros: Leaves the skin luminous and blurred
Cons: Falls victim to photo flashback
4. Black Radiance True Complexion Loose Setting Powder
Specifically formulated with light-reflecting particles to brighten the complexion, Black Radiance's True Complexion Loose Setting Powder diffuses and blurs imperfections for all-day wear without leaving the skin looking ashy or dry. Ideal for all skin types and tones, it was created specifically with deeper skin tones in mind.
Customer review: "[This is] 100% my go-to powder as a woman of color. It's the only powder that keeps me grease free. Sets my makeup flawlessly and has zero flashback, and I don't look like a powder ghost after."
Pros: Complimentary of medium to deep skin tones
Cons: The formula features talc as a main ingredient
5. Rimmel London Stay Matte Powder
Rimmel London's Stay Matte Powder uses a mattifying, lightweight pressed powder formula to smooth and even the skin tone with up to five hours of wear. Minimizing the appearance of pores and fine lines, this product delivers high coverage with minimal effort.
Customer review: "I have oily skin, so my T-bone gets especially oily throughout the day, especially at school. But putting this on, my skin looks great for around eight hours! Absolutely love the stuff [and] will forever be buying it. Amazing price and an amazing product. Definitely get it."
Pros: Offers lightweight, buildable coverage
Cons: Tendency to cling to areas with dry skin
6. Black Opal Soft Velvet Finishing Powder
This jet-milled, color-balancing powder offers a silky finish that sets makeup while perfecting the skin. Crafted from a lightweight, oil-absorbing formula, this velvety-smooth finishing powder has lightweight coverage and a radiant, soft-focus finish ideal for all skin types and tones.
Customer review: "I have to say I really love this! This is my first time using it, but it helped my issues with a foundation I bought. Helps give me the not shiny look I wanted and smoothed out the look of my face. Would buy again."
Pros: Developed with deep complexions in mind
Cons: Sets almost immediately (try to blend ASAP)
7. Morphe Bake & Set Powder
Morphe's Bake & Set Powder locks in makeup with a perfectly matte finish that absorbs oil, brightens the complexion, and feels lightweight on the skin. Available in five translucent and pigmented shades, this loose powder is a must-have in your makeup routine.
Customer review: "One of the most lightweight and beautiful products I have ever tried, so smooth and dust off really well. I'm deep, and this doesn't have me looking crazy. [It's] not a banana color but definitely complimentary to my skin. Good price point, [and] worth it. I will buy again."
Pros: Effectively brightens and blurs the skin
Cons: Does not prevent the transfer of product
8. Airspun Loose Face Powder
This cult-favorite loose face powder uses exclusive microspun formula to create a lightweight product that helps absorb oil for a shine-free finish that doesn't crease or flake. Formulated for all skin types and dermatologist tested, it's ideal for all skin types.
Customer review: "I have been using the translucent Airspun setting powder for at least 10 years! It is my go-to product! My skin has gone from dry to oily over the years, and this product has always given me flawless results no matter how my skin was at the time. I will forever use this setting powder!"
Pros: Offers even coverage for all skin types
Cons: Has noticeable flashback
9. Nyx HD Finishing Powder
The HD Finishing Powder is a mineral correcting, lightweight, translucent setting powder that helps soften the appearance of fine lines and pores while extended the wear of makeup. Available in different color finishes, this product can also be used to color correct, prime, set, and blot away shine.
Customer review: "I love this powder! I have an oily t-zone that drives me nuts; this powder is so extremely silky and smooths out my under eyes and sides of my nose effortlessly. So happy I tried it. It will be a repurchase for me."
Pros: Keep makeup in place for hours
Cons: Settles in creases and highlights dry skin
10. Alamay Loose Finishing Powder
Your skin with makeup should still look and feel like skin, shouldn't it? This ultra-fine powder mattifies oily areas while giving the skin a healthy, radiant glow with medium buildable coverage. It's also completely hypoallergenic and fragrance-free.
Customer review: "I've been using this powder for the last 10 years, and it never disappoints. The brand is very consistent, and it's easy to use. The coverage is on the lighter side, but it looks very natural and lasts for almost the whole day. I also have sensitive and acne-prone skin, and this foundation never causes additional breakouts for me."
Pros: Finely milled powder formula sits well on the skin
Cons: Does not have any oil-absorbing qualities
11. Colourpop No Filter Setting Powder
Idea for normal and oily skin types, Colourpop's No Filter Setting Powder dramatically reduces excess shine while blurring the look of pores with a soft matte finish that doesn't look cakey or heavy on the skin.
Customer review: "Great product! I use this as a setting powder for my oily areas, under eyes, and to set concealer for blemishes. Combined with the setting spray, this makes my make up last all day!"
Pros: Smooths and blurs the complexion
Cons: Reapplication required for all-day wear
12. Maybelline Fit Me! Loose Powder
This Maybelline setting powder is crafted from a mineral-based formula that is designed to combat shine while smoothing skin texture and offering a hint of healthy color. With a wide array of skin tones offered, it's the key to pulling off a flawless, natural-looking finish.
Customer review: "Maybelline New York Fit Me Loose Setting Powder is a total game-changer! The face powder is amazing for setting up my makeup and giving my skin a flawless finish. The shade Medium Deep is a perfect match, and it keeps my oily skin in check all day. It's lightweight, blends effortlessly, and doesn't cake up."
Pros: Blendable formula with oil-absorbing qualities
13. Milani Make It Last Setting Powder
Makeup artists can't stop gushing over this one. Made from micro-fine pressed powder, it visibly reduces shine while absorbing excess oil. Its translucent color is universally flattering to all skin tones and helps lure pores and fine lines to extend makeup wear.
Customer review: "I use very little makeup to begin with, and this powder sets it up to last all day long. Safe neutral color does not clash. Not dusty or flaky in the compact nor on my clothing."
Pros: Produces a smooth, matte finish
Cons: Reapplication required for all-day wear
14. Mented Cosmetics Skin Silk Loose Setting Powder
Here's another brand that features products specifically created for people with deep skin tones. Mented Cosmetics' Skin Silk Loose Setting Powder smoothes and evens the skin for non-cakey shine control with a natural, long-lasting finish. It's also hypoallergenic, vegan, paraben-free, and non-comedogenic.
Customer review: "The Mented Cosmetics Skin Silk Loose Setting Powder is lovely! It is an ultra fine powder that glides on effortlessly. I felt it did a great job at setting my makeup. My brush easily picked up the powder, and I noticed a little goes a long way! It keeps my face shine free for a few hours. Really nice powder!"
Pros: Instantly mattifies makeup (with no flashback)
Cons: Talc is used in the formula
15. Nyx Can't Stop Won't Stop Mattifying Pressed Powder
We saved one of the best for last. Nyx's bestselling pressed powder leaves the skin looking ultra-matte and minimizes shine and the appearance of pores with a lightweight formula. It's sheer yet buildable and blends easily into the skin for a smooth finish.
Customer review: "This is such a smoothing powder and beautiful on dry skin! The shade range is spectacular, and there's even a translucent version! Perfect for setting the face and for the under eyes! A must-have in my collection."
Pros: Extensive shade range
Cons: Breaks easily and has limited product available
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