As simple as setting powder may seem, it's actually one of the trickiest makeup products to shop for. First, you have to determine if you want a loose or a pressed formula. (They're virtually the same but work differently depending on the application tool you choose to use—sponges, poofs, and brushes yield different finishes and results.) Then comes the difficult adventure of finding a shade that won't read ashy, orange, or pink, OR a formula that doesn't cake, pill, or serve flashback during your selfies.
It can take some trial and error, but for the most part, we rely heavily on word of mouth and reviews when it comes to finding a tricky product like setting powder. What's even more interesting is that there doesn't seem to be a huge difference between the compacts and jars that break our weekly food budget and the options coming in at around $12 or so.
To find the best drugstore setting powder options out there right now, we scoured the reviews and best-selling formulas from affordable retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Ulta to serve you up some budget-friendly, shine-banishing relief. Keep scrolling!
Surprise! One of the most-wanted products on Amazon is this random loose setting powder from Coty. In fact, it's SO popular (at just $6, no less) it's gained a cult following within the industry. It delivers an airbrushed-esque long-lasting finish while also camouflaging the appearance of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles.
With about 1200 ratings and a solid four stars on Amazon, this (practically) invisible setting dust from NYX is a fan favorite. It's made from 100% pure mineral silica, boasts an ultra-fine texture, and creates flattering matte finish thanks to the universally flattering and sheer shade.
As someone who actually uses this drugstore setting powder (I grabbed it in a pinch after running out of my favorite MAC formula), I can say Revlon's top-rated iteration is pretty fantastic. As someone with pores that clog easily, I appreciate that it's oil-free but still provides long, 16-hour-lasting coverage. It's also lightweight so you don't feel like you're wearing a mask over your concealer or foundation.
Setting powders can be notoriously cringe-worthy when it comes to shade options, but this top-rated drugstore option from Maybelline is one of the more inclusive formulas in terms of shade range. It's non-comedogenic, it controls shine for hours, and it scores an (almost) solid five-star rating with just under 4000 reviews on Amazon. So yes, the people have spoken and the people are impressed.
"I have been using this product for year, and I would never change to anything else for any reason!" shares one Amazon reviewer. "It's great for skin (doesn't make me break out), the translusant [sic] color works well in summer or fall months as the tone of my skin will change some, and it helps keep skin from getting that oily look for hours."
One of our biggest gripes with setting powders is the fact that they can look, well, very unnatural. This oil-free blendable option is a best seller on Walmart and is designed to look one with your skin.
We already talked about CoverGirl's amazing loose setting powder above, but if you prefer a pressed compact, the brand also makes this version, which, according to reviews, is just as impressive. It's even equipped with skin-conditioning chamomile and light-reflecting pigments so your skin looks youthful and radiant.
Some setting powders are better worn alone and some work their magic atop our foundation or concealer. This drugstore option from L'Oréal is perfect for either occasion. It keeps aggressive grease at bay for up to 16 hours while offering feather-light, medium-matte coverage.
"This is the best powder," declares one satisfied Walmart reviewer. "First of all, I can never believe how cheap it is. It gives such a nice natural, all-day look. I use it after my foundation to set it. It really lasts a long time since you do not need a lot. It comes with a pouf to apply, but I use a makeup brush instead."
Another winner with an almost five-star rating? CoverGirl's Professional Loose Finishing Powder. "I have tried so many brands of finishing powder, and I keep coming back to this one year after year," says a reviewer named Charlotte. "Seriously, I've gone through dozens of pricey brands. For the price, you can not beat it!"
Boasting an affordable price tag (just $12) and a strategic shade lineup designed to be uniquely flattering and color-correcting depending on your skin tone, it's no surprise Morphe's Bake and Set Powder is one of the most applauded formulas at Ulta right now. For those looking for a loose setting powder with zero flash-back, this is a sure bet.
We haven't met many loose setting powders with this many shade options, and we're thrilled. According to the brand, this best seller from Ulta is great for prolonging the wear of your makeup and nixing oil and shine, while also brightening and balancing your skin tone.
Maybelline's Fit Me pressed setting powder formula may reign supreme among Amazon shoppers, but its loose powder version comes in with a slightly higher rating on Ulta's website (but just by a tad). In fact, one reviewer said it works better than the high-end setting powder she used to splurge on:
"I switched to this powder due to the price, and I must say I am impressed! (I have combination skin with a super oily T-zone.) It sets extremely well without causing flashback—I don't bake with a beauty blender, instead, I apply this with a flat brush. This is a great powder, and I definitely recommend! Will be buying again!"
This drugstore setting powder is only $6 and it also happens to be one of the only setting powders on Ulta's website with a solid five-star rating. The brand calls the silky, lightweight formula "a jack of all trades" as it can be used to effortlessly set, mattify, absorb oil, or back. Plus, it's great for delivering a blurring effect.
If you're looking for a setting powder with natural ingredients that's also 100% vegan and cruelty-free, you'll love this pick from Pacifica. It's hydrating and velvety so your skin won't look cakey or parched, and it also features other skin-boosting perks like vitamin C, wild cherry bark extract, coconut water, and bamboo extract.