Everyone needs a go-to translucent setting powder to set makeup and banish shine. But some powders can end up caking and flaking and clogging up pores. Here are our top setting powder picks: splurges and steals that will keep you shine-free and flawless.
Steal: Etude House Zero Sebum Drying Powder ($7)
What it is:
This loose mineral powder from the popular Korean beauty brand, Etude House is said to provide clear skin without dryness or flakiness. Its formula uses a combination of natural ingredients to control surface oil and fight breakouts. Ingredients include plankton which removes excess oil and keeps skin soft, as well as cotton extract to protect the skin from stress.
How to use:
First off, be super careful when opening this container or the loose powder can fly everywhere. Trust me, it’s disastrous. Once it’s opened, gently dab the included puff applicator into the powder and lightly press into your face. You’ll be left with shine-free skin every time.
I have to carry a matte powder everywhere I go because of my oily face. I picked this up in Seoul on a day when I forgot my matte powder and needed a quick fix. I’m glad I forgot my powder that day because this product always does the trick- it definitely absorbs all that excess oil.
However, while it does leave my face looking oil-free, this product has one major negative factor. Every time I open up the container there is a mini powder explosion, and I end up getting white powder all over my clothes. Seriously, Etude House this packaging is terrible. If the powder was more well contained, this product would be way better.
Steal: SkinFood Peach Sake Silky Finish Powder ($15)
What it is:
It’s a super-fine translucent white loose powder that comes with an applicator puff. The formula is made with Sake and peach extract, which give it a light fresh scent.
How to use:
While the product comes with a cute little puff, I find I get a better and lighter application when I use a fluffy powder brush. When you open the container, you will see a plastic lid with holes for the powder to come through. I’ll usually tap the container against the side of my hand until a good amount of powder comes through the holes. Then, I’ll apply with a brush after foundation or BB cream. I usually apply a little extra around my eyes to set my concealer and prevent my mascara and eyeliner from running.
This SkinFood powder is incredible and one of the few that actually keeps my face shine-free ALL DAY. It also makes my skin look super-soft! I’ve even been complimented on my skin quite a few times since I started using this. It does a phenomenal job of blurring pores and blemishes, and it never cakes like some powders do.
Skin-tone wise, I’m pale and this powder is totally translucent on my skin. I can’t exactly say if this would be totally translucent on deeper skintones. I would highly recommend this powder for light-medium skin tones and all skin types. If you don’t get an oily T-zone, this product makes an excellent setting powder for concealer and eye makeup.
Splurge: Honest Beauty Invisible Blurring Powder ($28)
What it is:
This is a talc-free, mattifying translucent loose powder that works on all skin tones. It is supposed to even complexions, absorb oil, blur imperfections and soften the look of pores and fine lines. It’s made by Jessica Alba’s Honest Company, which promises clean, natural products that do no harm.
How to use:
Using a fluffy brush, lightly dust the powder over either cleansed and moisturized skin or on top of foundation. Remember that little goes a long way with this powder!
This talc-free powder is a game-changer for those with sensitive, breakout-prone skin or suffer from redness. This product also works fantastically either over makeup or alone. I set with a loose powder every day, usually over foundation or BB cream, but I’ve found that using this alone really helps hide redness and large pores. It also makes my skin look and feel like silk.
Like any loose powder, be warned that this product can get very messy. I received it for free at work, excitedly opened it, and proceeded to have a powder explosion all over my desk. People laughed. It was embarrassing. I later found out that the container has compartments which you can open certain amounts to customize the amount of powder escaping. That’s a great bonus that you don’t get in most cheaper powders.
I would highly recommend this product to anyone looking to get a mattifying, blurring effect, especially those with sensitive skin. This product never made me break out like some powders do and the matte effect lasts all day.
Splurge: Urban Decay De-Slick Mattifying Powder ($32)
What it is:
This pressed powder blots oil and stops shine in its tracks. It contains super lightweight, oil-absorbing rice powder, which makes it feel light as air on your skin. It also contains tea tree oil to soothe sensitive skin. Like the other powders, this goes on invisibly and works on every skin tone.
How to use:
The matte powder comes off in a hardened, solid formula. It isn’t powdery so it makes applying very easy. It comes in a container with a mirror and flattened sponge which makes it perfect for on-the-go. I just dab the flattened sponge into the pressed powder and lightly press on to my face. You don’t even need to use the mirror when applying though because it leaves you with a flawless finish without having to worry about your face having a white-ish tint.
I’ve been using this slightly-pricy powder for years, and it’s worth every penny. When it comes to my oily face, it’s an absolute must to finish my makeup with De-Slick Mattifying Powder. It’s also become a purse staple for those necessary touch-ups throughout the day.
This pressed powder is great because it’s extremely lightweight, and it works well with any skin tone because it goes on invisibly. It’s made from rice powder which absorbs the oil without messing up your makeup and never leaves my face looking cakey- which is the ultimate goal! This is well worth the money because it leaves my face shine-free and isn’t messy. And because it’s a pressed powder, you can quickly pat the powder on your face without messing up your clothes in the process.
Splurge or Steal: Beauty Pie One Powder Wonder ($4 with Membership, $30 without)
What It Is:
If you’re unfamiliar with Beauty Pie let us fill you in. Each Beauty Pie product has a regular price and a factory price. Those who sign up for membership for $10/month get to pay only the factory’s cost to make the product, which in this case is $4. The regular price is a competitive price for a similar-quality product. Beauty Pie products are usually excellent quality.
This pressed powder has a lot of features in one. It’s super-fine and lightweight, has a barely-there naked finish, and it blurs flaws and boosts radiance. It also disguises fine lines, hides large pores and never cakes. Unlike the other powders we reviewed, this is mattifying but also has some luminosity to it.
How to use:
Using a big, soft brush, lightly sweep the powder across your face to blend makeup, absorb shine or give your skin a radiance boost.
While I’m a non-member of Beauty Pie (I got this for free at work) this product may have convinced me to sign up! I love the finish of this powder- it mattifies and erases shine, while simultaneously luminizing. It gives me an amazing natural glow without looking sparkly and cheap. If you plan on using this powder over foundation, I would recommend priming first and then using it over a matte or blurring foundation to get the best effect. It helps make matte foundation look more skin-like. I usually use it over an oil-absorbing BB cream and get great results.
In terms of setting my makeup, this product always does the trick without looking cakey. Consistency-wise, it’s extremely fine like Urban Decay De-Slick, but it has a bit of a sheen to it. I haven’t had this powder for too long but I see it lasting a while because of how fine it is and how little I use at once. I’d highly recommend this to both Beauty Pie members and non-members!