Believe It or Not, Celebrity Makeup Artists Love These Drugstore Setting Powders

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!


(Image credit: @emmanuellek_)

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


(Image credit: @emmaleger)

Best Overall: Wet n Wild Photo Focus Loose Setting Powder

2. Covergirl Clean Invisible Loose Powder

3. E.L.F. Halo Glow Setting Pressed Powder

4. Black Radiance True Complexion Loose Setting Powder

5. Rimmel London Stay Matte Powder


(Image credit: @meganadelaide)

6. Black Opal Soft Velvet Finishing Powder

7. Morphe Bake & Set Powder

8. Airspun Loose Face Powder

9. Nyx HD Finishing Powder

10. Alamay Loose Finishing Powder


(Image credit: @alllisonho)

11. Colourpop No Filter Setting Powder

12. Maybelline Fit Me! Loose Powder

13. Milani Make It Last Setting Powder

14. Mented Cosmetics Skin Silk Loose Setting Powder

15. Nyx Can't Stop Won't Stop Mattifying Pressed Powder

Maya Thomas
Assistant Beauty Editor
Maya Thomas is Who What Wear's assistant beauty editor based just outside of Seattle, Washington. Her strong love for all things beauty and fashion stems from a strong childhood interest in the fine arts. During a gap year spent in Paris studying the history of French fashion, she shifted her focus to English literature and journalism as a student at Loyola Marymount University with the goal of one day pursuing a career in fashion. After graduating in May 2021, Maya began freelancing for as a contributing commerce writer while also building a following on her lifestyle blog, When she's not writing, Maya spends her free time catching up on reading, perusing art galleries, and enjoying a night out at the ballet every now and then.