13 best finishing powders to set your makeup (2022)

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A finishing powder is the kind of beauty product you never knew you needed until you try one. Fed up of makeup sliding down your face come lunchtime? Can’t seem to get rid of that oily t-zone? These hard-working powders will fix it.

From Bobbi Brown to Laura Mercier, every beauty brand has their own version that aims to set makeup for the day, banish oil and give your skin a smoother complexion. And once you’ve found the right one for you, it will soon become part of your daily makeup routine.

How we test

We put a whole range of finishing powders to the test to find out which ones are worth investing in. We looked at how well they set makeup, and for how long, as well as how easy they were to blend and buff. We also judged how they made our skin look and if they were able to reduce oily build-up.

Finishing powders are listed in price order.

Rimmel Insta Fix and Matte Powder

£4.99, Look Fantastic
Best for: A budget buy

Key specs – Colour: Translucent; Volume: 8g; Apply: With powder brush over foundation or bare skin; Applicator included: No

If you’re looking to test out the waters of setting powders and don’t want to spend big, try this budget-friendly translucent powder from Rimmel. At less than a fiver, it does a surprisingly good job of keeping makeup in tact.

It’s white on the skin until properly blended but eventually gives a very matte finish, which may not suit people with drier skin. Our tester – who has combination skin – found it battled well with an oily forehead and dry cheeks, although top-ups were needed throughout the day.

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e.l.f Perfect Finish HD Powder

£6.35, Feel Unique
Best for: A cruelty-free and vegan option

Key specs – Colour: Translucent; Volume: 8g; Apply: With sponge and pat all over face and neck; Applicator included: Sponge provided

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e.l.f, which stands for eye, lip and face, creates beauty products that are 100 per cent vegan and cruelty-free, as well as being free from sulphates and parabens. Its finishing powder comes in an attractive black compact with a handy extra compartment containing an application sponge.

We found it did a good job of smoothing the appearance of skin and set our makeup for a full day of work, with only a quick top up needed before an evening out. It needs a fair amount of patting and blending, as otherwise the white powder can sit on the skin, and you don’t need much to achieve full coverage. Overall, it gave quite a matte finish. Considering the price though, this is ideal for anyone with normal, combination or oily skin.

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NYX High Definition Finishing Powder in Translucent

£9, NYX
Best for: Instagram pictures

Key specs – Colour: 3 shades available; Volume: 8g; Apply: Use brush or powder puff to apply to skin; Applicator included: No

Loved by professional makeup artists, it’s no wonder this brand’s finishing powder enhances your skin in photos, so if you’re an Insta addict, this is the one for you.

It takes a little more effort to blend and buff than others on this list but gives a good overall matte finish that sets makeup well, although you can apply it to skin directly if you’d prefer. Our skin looked visibly smoother after use and it only needed a couple of touch-ups throughout the day. This would be a great option to use before a night out.

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Glossier Wowder Weightless Finishing Powder

£18, Glossier
Best for: Overall look of skin

Key specs – Colour: 5 shades available; Volume: 7.2g; Apply: Use brush to pick up powder, tap off excess, buff into skin; Applicator included: No

Glossier aims to create products that bring out the very best in your skin before you apply any makeup at all, and its finishing powder is seriously impressive. Living up to its name, the Wowder powder surprised us with just how well it lasted and how good it made our skin look.

The lightweight product, which comes in five shades, gently blends into the skin without dulling down your makeup, and it doesn’t look cakey or leave you with a chalky film.

Our tester has oily skin and found it visibly reduced shine and only needed topping up occasionally. A great buy at a great price.

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Wunder2 Perfect Selfie HD Photo Finishing Powder

£21.70 (price correct at time of publishing), Amazon
Best for: Softening the appearance of skin

Key specs – Colour: Translucent; Volume: 10g; Apply: Using sponge or brush after makeup application; Applicator included: No

(Video) The best finishing powder to set makeup & blur pores 👌

Wunder2 creates high-tech beauty products at affordable prices, including this impressive finishing powder. It’s translucent and can be buffed onto the skin after makeup application.

We found it softened the appearance of fine lines and reduced shine, meaning it’s a great one to take on holiday or when you know you’ll need to be camera-ready. It has impressive staying power, too.

There’s a bronzing version if you’d prefer to add a little bit of colour.

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Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Blotting Powder

£24, Harvey Nichols
Best for: Reducing shine

Key specs – Colour: Translucent; Volume: Not given; Apply: To face using sponge before and after applying foundation. Top up throughout the day; Applicator included: Yes

If your main aim is to reduce shine, Rhianna’s beauty brand, Fenty, has just the product. This blotting powder soaks up oil quickly, leaving you with a matte, shine-free finish. It’s completely translucent too, so no cakey white powder to contend with when blending – simply dab all over your face and you’re ready to go.

We also love the sleek case and packaging. It’s super stylish and the sponge fits snugly inside the compact so it’s easy to use on the go.

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Benefit Dr Feelgood Silky Mattifying Powder

£25, Benefit
Best for: Keeping in your handbag for touch-ups

Key specs – Colour: Translucent; Volume: 16g; Apply: Pat over face with powder puff; Applicator included: Sponge provided

We have long been fans of Benefit products, not only for their high quality but also because they always come in fun packaging. And the Dr Feelgood powder is another must-have from the beauty brand, as it works to set makeup, minimise shine and control excess oil.

We used the powder puff (provided) to pat the product over the top of our makeup. It’s actually translucent, too – rather than white like a lot of “translucent” powders actually are – meaning you don’t get a visible chalky layer.

It lasted well and kept shine at bay, while the compact, which comes with a separate compartment to store your powder puff, is the ideal size to throw in your handbag, so you can use it on the go.

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Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder

£30, Look Fantastic
Best for: Long-lasting

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Key specs – Colour: Translucent; Volume: 29g; Apply: Pat and roll on skin with powder puff; Applicator included: No

This translucent, oil-free powder is the one to go for if your budget will stretch. Its lightweight formula means it buffs into skin easily and doesn’t look cakey, leaving you with a silky smooth, sheer finish.

We loved how well it kept makeup in place too, surviving a full working day with only a slight oily build-up appearing in the late afternoon. A quick top up soon fixed that though.

This powder has won multiple beauty awards, and we can see why. It’s a reliable, hard-working product that will keep your makeup firmly in place.

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Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Pressed Powder

£30, Look Fantastic
Best for: Colour match

Key specs – Colour: 9 shades; Volume: 11g; Apply: Pat on face with powder puff; Applicator included: Yes

Bobbi Brown’s pressed powder comes in nine shades, so it’s easy to find a match for your skin tone. This means that it also blends well with your foundation, tinted moisturiser, BB cream or concealer to create a natural-looking smoothness to your skin.

The formula is oil-free, which is great for those of us that suffer from oily skin, and also does a good job of reducing excess oil throughout the day. This is a lightweight powder that looks great over daytime makeup.

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Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish

£34, Charlotte Tilbury
Best for: Oily skin

Key specs – Colour: 3 shades; Volume: 8g; Apply: Use brush to apply around the nose, t-zone and any other areas that need to be mattified; Applicator included: No

Charlotte Tilbury is another brand you can rely on to bring you products that actually work, and we love the Airbrush Flawless Finish powder. Coming in three shades, it blends well to achieve a soft, smooth look that also looks good in pictures.

This isn’t a thick product, and you only need to apply it to naturally oily areas – although we swept it across the face for full coverage. A little goes a long way too, which may justify the higher price tag.

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Diorskin Forever and Ever Control Loose Powder

£38.50, John Lewis & Partners
Best for: Dry skin

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Key specs – Colour: Translucent; Volume: 8g; Apply: Over entire face with brush; Applicator included: Brush provided

Our skin looked smoother and less shiny after using Dior’s long-lasting loose powder. It blends seamlessly into your makeup and the brush provided is a cut above the others here.

Sweep the powder over the whole face to leave a slightly matte finish that lasts for most of the day – we just needed a quick top-up at around 4pm. The soft, velvety texture means you can’t feel it once applied either, and it doesn’t dry out your skin. This is an excellent option that will soon become one of your makeup essentials.

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Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder

£42, Feel Unique
Best for: Splashing out on

Key specs – Colour: Translucent; Volume: 10.5g; Apply: Use brush to pick up powder, tap off excess, apply to entire face; Applicator included: No

Launched in 2004, luxury cosmetics brand Hourglass creates cruelty-free products with the aim to become completely vegan by 2020.

The setting powder has a high-quality feel to it, including the shiny brown packaging it arrives in. Simply swirl your brush into the powder and sweep across the face. It’s an extremely lightweight formula, so you hardly notice it on your skin as you apply.

We found it left our skin looking smoother, while oil was reduced for the most part of the day – just top up as and when needed. It works well with all skin tones and types, making it a reliable choice if your budget will stretch.

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By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder Face Setting Powder

£42, By Terry
Best for: Blending with foundation

Key specs – Colour: Translucent; Volume: 10g; Apply: Fill powder puff with powder and smooth over entire face; Applicator included: No

Luxury beauty brand By Terry’s setting powder gives a beautifully matte finish, smoothing the appearance of skin and reducing the visibility of pores. The white powder blends brilliantly too, with minimum buffing, meaning you can apply it in a hurry without the fear of looking like a ghost.

Although at the more expensive end of the market, this is a product that will give consistent results and help to reduce oily areas that appear during the day. Apply after foundation or skincare, especially to shiny or sunken areas of the skin.

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This article has been updated. It was originally published June 2019.

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FAQs

What is better finishing powder or setting powder? ›

"It is often translucent and is used to blur pores, soften texture, and even give an overall glow to the skin." Basically, finishing powder is for looks, whereas setting powder helps you get more hours out of your concealer, foundation, and other face makeup.

Can finishing powder be used as setting powder? ›

"Finishing powder will not set makeup, and if you use too much of it or if you use finishing powder as setting powder, you may actually get a gnarly white cast when flash photography is used," Johnson says.

Is Pressed Powder the same as setting powder? ›

Pressed and loose powders are setting powders. This means they're both meant to set the makeup, prolong its longevity and control the shine throughout the day.

What can I use instead of setting powder? ›

Cornstarch and baby powder: Both absorb excess oil which gives you the matte flawless finish like a traditional translucent powder leaving the skin soft and smooth. Making them the perfect dupe for high-end translucent powders.

Can I use baby powder as setting powder? ›

So now the question: can I use baby powder to set my makeup? The short answer: yes.

Which is better translucent or banana powder? ›

Banana powder is best for yellow, golden, or olive undertones, while translucent powder is best for those with an uneven skin tone.

Does setting powder make you look older? ›

"As we get older, heavier finishing powders can look overdone, accentuate pores, flatten the complexion and generally age us," says Jamie.

What type of blush is best for mature skin? ›

Most experts agree that when comes to blush, it's best to stick with a cream formula. It looks more natural, and it's less likely to settle into those lovely fine lines and creases. As we age it becomes harder for us to maintain a good moisture level due to the environment, menopause, and the whole aging process.

Is pressed or loose powder better? ›

Most dry skin types prefer to use pressed powder over loose powder because pressed powders have more oils in them and can look “cakey” when applied on very oily skin types. A little goes a long way with pressed powder, and you'll achieve the best results by pressing the powder into your skin.

Should you let your foundation dry before putting on powder? ›

Waiting for your foundation to dry before putting on powder.

"Pressing it on will prevent the foundation from moving around or streaking in the process. It also allows the foundation to set better so it stays on all day.

Should setting powder be lighter or darker? ›

If you're new to using setting powder, it's important to choose the right shade. If your shade is too light, it will give you a ghostly appearance, while a shade that is too dark can make your foundation look streaked. For best results, your setting powder should match your foundation shade.

Do you really need setting powder? ›

“Setting powder can help absorb the extra oil on your skin, and it's perfect for holding foundation in place,” he says. “I generally like applying setting powder after I apply concealer to help keep it in place.

How can I make my makeup last 12 hours? ›

Add a comment...
  1. Prep your skin. ...
  2. Prime eyes and face. ...
  3. Use an oil-free foundation. ...
  4. Layer your cream or liquid-based products with a matching powder. ...
  5. Apply makeup using light layers. ...
  6. Dip your eyeshadow brush in a priming spray before applying onto eyelids. ...
  7. Switch to waterproof mascara and eyeliner.
7 Aug 2021

How can I get my makeup to stay on without setting spray? ›

Summary. There are a few different ways that you can set your makeup without using setting spray. These include using water, baby powder, or hairspray. However, the best way to set your makeup is with a translucent powder.

Do you put setting powder on before or after foundation? ›

It's best to apply powder after your other beauty products such as concealer and foundation. It works to set the makeup. To apply, dip the brush in the powder and pat it on the side of the container to remove any excess.

Which powder is best for face? ›

  • Swiss Beauty Ultra Fine Loose Finish Powder SB412-1 Compact (NATURAL, 10 g) ...
  • MATTE FINISHING LOOSE POWDER COMPACT FOR ALL TYPE OF SKIN. ...
  • Best Matte loose powder for oily skin Compact. ...
  • KAIASHA PERFECT MATTE FINISH WATER PROOF & LONG LASTING LOOSE POWDER Compact. ...
  • Stay Matte Finish Loose Powder for Oily Skin Control Compact.

How Does banana powder work? ›

Banana powder is a micro-milled, silky-smooth loose powder with a slight yellow hue, but it is universally flattering on all skin tones. It not only mattifies your makeup; it also illuminates, color-corrects, and smoothens it, giving out a picture-perfect airbrushed finish.

What can I use to set my makeup? ›

You can use a setting spray or powder to help keep your makeup intact without creases. You can also apply loose powder to the concealer or foundation and let it "bake" on your face for a few minutes to help set your makeup.

Do you use setting spray after finishing powder? ›

Yes, use the powder before the setting spray and foundation. Apply generous spritzes of setting spray all over your face. Let sit for 10-15 seconds until it's still damp and tacky.

How do I make setting powder? ›

DIY Setting Powder

½ cup arrowroot powder. 1–3 teaspoons cacao powder (Add in a little at a time until you reach the desired shade that is similar to your skin tone.) 1–3 teaspoons nutmeg (Add in a little at a time until you reach the desired shade that is similar to your skin tone.) 2 drops geranium essential oil.

Can you use cornstarch to set makeup? ›

Using cornstarch as face powder is as easy as can be. Just dust it on to set makeup, and use it for touch-ups to absorb oil throughout the day.

Can you use baking soda as setting powder? ›

What happens when you run out of setting powder? Well, if you don't have time to make a quick Sephora run, grab your baking soda! It's a quick dupe for translucent mattifying powder!

Can you mix baby powder with foundation? ›

How to Make Foundation With Baby Powder & Eye Shadow - YouTube

Can I wear translucent powder alone? ›

Can You Use Setting Powder Without Makeup? Setting powder can be a great option if you have good skin that doesn't require a lot of coverage. It can be used alone without foundation to even out the skin tone and give you a smooth finish.

What does blurring powder do? ›

Blurring powder is a powder that can be used to set your regular makeup. It can help further conceal problem areas and leave your skin looking flawless, especially under harsh light. You pat blurring powder on after applying your regular makeup.

What makeup will make me look younger? ›

Makeup artist Helena Olivares advises swapping vampy plum or brown tones for more neutral shades, as they can look a bit harsh on aging skin. Neutral tones and subtle pinks, she explains, can help you achieve a more youthful appearance, as they instantly give the skin a brighter and cleaner look.

What is the best makeup for deep wrinkles? ›

A liquid foundation or tinted moisturizer is most likely to compliment a maturing complexion. Unlike powder formulas, liquid foundations are less likely to settle into your pores and fine lines. They're more flattering for aging skin, as they possess hydrating properties to naturally create that coveted dewy finish.

What color blush makes you look younger? ›

Quick Blush Tips to Look Younger #shorts - YouTube

Where should an older woman apply blush? ›

It's important that you don't apply blush too low, or too high, because blush is meant to give your face a lifting effect. Make sure you're applying your blush about half an inch (or the width of a finger) away from your nose, mouth, and eyes, making it near the center of your cheeks.

Should older ladies wear bronzer? ›

Bronzer | Beauty Tips for Women Over 50! - YouTube

Can I set my face with pressed powder? ›

Apply Pressed Powder with a Brush

Pressed powder can be used either over the foundation toset makeup in place or as the coverage for a lightweight base. We don't recommend you use a tinted powder on top of a heavy foundation base, though, as things can go a bit too cakey!

What shade of powder should I use? ›

Regardless of the brand, always choose a shade that matches your skin color. If you end up picking up a compact that is a few shades lighter than your skin tone, your skin may turn grey or ashy in some time. Know your skin type and the coverage level you are looking for before buying a compact powder.

Can you set makeup with compact powder? ›

Compact Powder can be used either after applying foundation to set the make-up or to give lightweight base with medium coverage. For the smooth application, always use a puff that comes along with the SERY Go Bare Compact Powder or a sponge to dab the powder on the face.

Can I use baby powder as setting powder? ›

So now the question: can I use baby powder to set my makeup? The short answer: yes.

When should I use setting powder? ›

You can use setting powder set your face makeup and help it last longer. Setting powder can also reduce shine by giving your face a matte finish. Learn how to use setting powder to achieve the perfect look.

Which setting powder is best for under eyes? ›

Best Under Eye Setting Powders To Give You Flawless Makeup Look
  1. Best Affordable Option: Black Radiance True Complexion Loose Setting Powder. ...
  2. Best Matte Finish: L'Oreal Paris Makeup Infallible Pro-Sweep and Lock Loose Translucent Setting Face Powder.
1 Sept 2022

What is setting powder good for? ›

"Setting powder is not only used to lock in your makeup but to 'finish' the look of makeup — to create a smoother, more poreless, and texture-less surface," he explains. Both artists agree that, whether you have oily skin or dry skin, the less-is-more approach is best when it comes to powders.

What can be used as a setting powder? ›

Cornstarch and baby powder: Both absorb excess oil which gives you the matte flawless finish like a traditional translucent powder leaving the skin soft and smooth. Making them the perfect dupe for high-end translucent powders.

How do you make homemade setting powder? ›

DIY Setting Powder

½ cup arrowroot powder. 1–3 teaspoons cacao powder (Add in a little at a time until you reach the desired shade that is similar to your skin tone.) 1–3 teaspoons nutmeg (Add in a little at a time until you reach the desired shade that is similar to your skin tone.) 2 drops geranium essential oil.

What powder do you bake your face with? ›

Like we mentioned above, loose setting powder is the only way to bake your makeup like a pro. Pour a generous amount of translucent, loose setting powder into the lid and dip the same makeup blender you previously used into the product.

Do you apply setting powder before or after foundation? ›

It's best to apply powder after your other beauty products such as concealer and foundation. It works to set the makeup. To apply, dip the brush in the powder and pat it on the side of the container to remove any excess.

How long do I leave setting powder on? ›

Baking your makeup is the act of applying a setting or translucent powder to areas of the face that tend to crease over time. After applying the powder, you let it bake for 5-10 minutes and then dust off the remaining product for a flawless finish that lasts all day.

Do you use setting spray after finishing powder? ›

Yes, use the powder before the setting spray and foundation. Apply generous spritzes of setting spray all over your face. Let sit for 10-15 seconds until it's still damp and tacky.

Should you put setting powder under eyes? ›

An under-eye setting powder works miracles at keeping your concealer from shifting and settling into fine lines. It also creates a matte surface so that the creaminess of your concealer doesn't grab your eyeliner and mascara, thus stopping them from transferring under your eyes.

Should you put powder under eyes? ›

THE TRUTH About SETTING POWDER & Why Your Concealer ...

How do you use setting powder without looking cakey? ›

Apply a small amount of matte powder to a powder brush and instead of buffing it in, lightly press it into areas that need mattifying,” she says. And there you have it — mattified but cake-free.

Where do you apply setting powder? ›

Apply setting powder near the center of your face and work your way outwards. Buff in small circles lightly with your brush. Avoid stroking your face, pressing too hard or being too rough since this will disrupt your foundation.

Do you use setting powder before or after blush? ›

Setting powder should be applied after foundation and concealer, but before blusher and bronzer, to help set your base makeup in place and keep oiliness at bay.

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