6 Best Face Powders

6 Best Face Powders


After 22 hours of research evaluating 156 products, we picked Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder as our top choice.

Ever wonder why your makeup suddenly comes off right around 2pm? Well, you can blame oil for that. 

According to dermatologist Leslie Baumann, everyone’s skin produces oil, some skin types naturally produce more than others.

Many factors influence oil production. Genetics, hormones, stress, diet, time of day and climate all contribute. The good news is, by investing in a good setting powder, your makeup can last all day. 

Here's what we mean:

A top-notch translucent powder can make foundation last for hours. The powder formula works to absorb excess oil, eliminating shine so your makeup stays put.

The best face powder can also minimize fine lines by essentially filling them in and preventing foundation from settling into the creases.

Want to know the best part?

To make your life easier, we spent hours researching setting powders for your skin. And, we created a list of the 6 best ones out there.

We've tested them all, from translucent powders to full-coverage pressed formulas. Whether you want your powder to set your foundation, bake your concealer, or mattify your t-zone. Finally, you can say goodbye to shine. 

6 Best Face Powders

  • 6. bareMinerals bareMinerals Mineral Veil
  • 5. Urban Decay De-Slick Mattifying Powder
  • 4. e.l.f. High Definition Powder Sheer
  • 3. Kat Von D Lock-It Setting Powder
  • 2. Sephora Collection MicroSmooth Baked Foundation Face Powder
  • 1. Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder

Best Face Powder for Sensitive Skin


bareMinerals bareMinerals Mineral Veil

Best Face Powder for Sensitive Skin: bareMinerals bareMinerals Mineral Veil
173 Bought
76 % Editor Score
80 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Blurs pores and gives an airbrushed look
  • Looks natural on your face
  • Formulated without parabens, sulfates, fragrances, or dyes

A weightless, sheer mineral setting powder that blurs and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and pores and leaves skin with an always photo-friendly, soft-focus finish. 

This powder has a slight sparkle finish to it, which some prefer but not all. 

In a variety of shades and finishes, Mineral Veil Setting Powder is our favorite setting powder for sensitive skin types. This stuff is versatile enough for all skintones and skin types. The light-as-a-feather, super smooth formulas blend onto skin without smudging the makeup you’re already wearing. Sheer and never cakey, Mineral Veil Setting Powder weightlessly blurs and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and pores, whether it is applied over makeup or directly onto your skin.

Color: The bareMinerals Mineral Veil gives your skin a translucent, soft finish. Even though the product is light, it effectively sets your foundation and minimizes the appearance of lines. The product comes in 4 different shades including completely sheer, completely sheer with a luminous finish, tinted sheer, and hydrating sheer. 

Application: We have mixed feelings about the packaging, mostly because it can be hard to control how much product comes out. If too much is shaken out, there is not really a way to put the product back in. Although the container and lid isn't the worst, it's not our favorite either.

Price: Most decent setting powders average around $30. This product is $23 with much better ingredients, so we think that's a pretty good deal. 


Best Face Powder for Oily Skin


Urban Decay De-Slick Mattifying Powder

Best Face Powder for Oily Skin: Urban Decay De-Slick Mattifying Powder
121 Bought
80 % Editor Score
82 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Mattifies right away and keeps your makeup in place all day
  • Easy to take on-the-go for touch ups
  • It will take away all the shine on your face

A translucent finishing powder with Amazonian clay to lock your makeup in place and reduce the look of imperfections. 

This product leaves a slightly white cast but don't worry, it fades quickly. 

Color: The Urban Decay De-Slick Mattifying Powder is lightweight and oil-absorbing thanks to the rice powder in the formula. It comes in one perfect, translucent shade that looks great on all skin tones. Fair warning though, if you don't have oily skin, this powder is going to look extremely matte on you. But if you do have super oily skin, your natural oils will mix with this powder throughout the day to make your skin look natural and beautiful.

Application: This powder comes in a trendy, transparent purple compact and features Urban Decay embellishments of skulls, flourishes, and flowers. Pop it open to reveal a mirror and handy puff applicator. 

Price: At $32, the price of this product is about the same as its competitors. Our favorite products are the ones where a little goes a long way (mostly because it saves us money). And the Urban Decay De-Slick Mattifying Powder is another one of those life savers. Only a small amount is needed for each use, making the pan last for quite a long time.



Best Drugstore Setting Powder


e.l.f. High Definition Powder Sheer

Best Drugstore Setting Powder: e.l.f. High Definition Powder Sheer
174 Bought
82 % Editor Score
88 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Feels light on your face and doesn't settle into creases
  • Cheaper alternative to more expensive brands
  • Keeps you oil free all day long

This e.l.f High Definition Setting Powder is cheap and just as good as expensive setting powders.

The container this setting powder comes in can leave a mess if you're not careful. 

If expensive beauty products aren't your thing, we've got the perfect setting powder for you. And, you can find it at any drugstore. e.l.f High Definition Powder is just about as good as it gets if you're looking for a cheap product. e.l.f is one of the best discount makeup lines out there. Makeup users, bloggers, and reviewers everywhere love it - and so do we. 

Color: e.l.f's High Definition Powder helps minimize pores and absorb oil for a naturally matte and oil-free finish. It also has a few different powders to choose from (3 to be specific). Shades include sheer, soft luminance, and yellow. The sheer powder is translucent with a shimmery finish. Not to worry though, the shimmer is faint and not glittery at all. The yellow is a color correcting powder that works to correct redness and inflammation.  

Application: The one downfall with this powder is the container. It doesn't come pressed in a pan like most powders do. Instead, this is a loose powder that is stored in a 0.28 ounce container with holes and a lid. The truth is, the design of this container can cause a bit of a mess. Taking the top off the container each time causes some powder to float into the air and end up all over the place, so just be careful.

We recommend using a large brush rather than the pouf that's included with the powder. However, the pouf does act as a nice stopper to keep too much powder from getting through the holes in the top when you're travelling. 

Price: For the $6 price, you can't find better - it's one of the cheapest products out there. However, this face powder is so popular it can be tough to find in stores so you're better off ordering directly from Amazon. 

Best Translucent Powder


Kat Von D Lock-It Setting Powder

Best Translucent Powder: Kat Von D Lock-It Setting Powder
96 Bought
89 % Editor Score
89 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Leaves your skin matte and smooth but not dry
  • Doesn't leave a chalky finish
  • More lightweight than many other powders

A weightless translucent loose powder, formulated with Micro-Blurring Technology™ and formulated without parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.

This stuff can appear light in flash photography. 

Color: This loose powder comes in one translucent shade: natural finish. It's formulated to be undetectable on all skin types. The texture is smooth, silky, and extremely lightweight. After applied, this product leaves a matte finish. So, if you prefer a dewey finish you might not like the way this product looks. As a bonus, the Lock-It Setting Powder is completely free of animal-derived ingredients. And that feels good too, right?

Application: The Kat Von D Setting Powder comes in a 0.67 ounce container with a screw on lid. This product also comes in a 0.19 ounce travel size so you can try it out before investing in the full size one. The jar's sifter holes are arranged in the shape of a star, inspired by Kat's signature star tattoos. 

Price: This product is a bit on the high-end at $30, but depending on how much you use, it will last you several months.




Best Setting Powder


Sephora Collection MicroSmooth Baked Foundation Face Powder

Best Setting Powder: Sephora Collection MicroSmooth Baked Foundation Face Powder
214 Bought
93 % Editor Score
93 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Coverage can go from sheer to full depending on the amount used
  • Can be used alone or to set foundation
  • Lightweight and lasts all day long

A buildable, ultra-lightweight setting powder foundation that comes in a variety of gorgeous shades. 

This isn't a full coverage setting powder. 

This ultra-lightweight, skin-perfecting powder foundation provides adjustable coverage, a natural finish, and the look and feel of beautiful skin. 

Color: The Sephora MicroSmooth Baked Foundation Face Powder starts off as pretty light coverage but can be built to a medium coverage if needed. The smooth texture feels weightless on the skin but still manages to cover everything. It feels like you're not wearing any makeup at all. Not to mention, it doesn't look like you're wearing any either. Plus, there's baked pigments and mineral water in the formula - always a good thing. This formula isn't tested on animals and is formulated without parabens and fragrances, too. Now that's impressive. The setting powder comes in 8 shades including porcelain, nude, bronze, tan, and deep ebony.

Application: This baked setting powder comes in a traditional style pan making it perfect for taking it on-the-go.

Price: The $22 price tag isn't terrible considering it's nearly half the price of others on our list.

Best Setting Powder for Special Occasions


Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder

Best Setting Powder for Special Occasions: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
535 Bought
Shade Range
94 % Editor Score
94 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Absorbs excess oil and reduces shine
  • Award-winning and clinically tested
  • Light-weight; does not look cakey on skin

This translucent powder from Laura Mercier is the best of the best. We know because we've tested it ourselves. It's great for blending, baking, and setting your foundation. Why we love this product so much? It's formula is ultra-lightweight and gives you a natural (never cakey) look.

While there are so many things we love about this powder, the formula is maybe our favorite of all the products on this list. Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate has a very similar consistency to sand, which gives this powder a natural, light-refracting sheen. The Borosilicate combined with the Silica create a softer glow than you would expect with pure Silica, which is perfect for special occasions and flash photography (no white out effect!).

Unfortunately, one of the things we love most about this product also has its downfalls. That being said, the Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate does not dissolve in water, so it won’t absorb oil as well as other products on our list. Additionally, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate

Expert Ratings


9.5 / 10

Comes with a powder puff applicator (though we would suggest the Velour Puff, which is sold separately), and the packaging is designed to prevent you from getting too much product on your puff or brush—which, again, makes this perfect for anyone with sensitive or dry skin that won’t easily soak up excess powder. Remember to apply after anything creamy (i.e., after foundation and concealer), but prior to any powder based color (i.e., blush and bronzer)

While there are a number of different application techniques for this powder, this is the most effective approach we’ve found. First, massage powder into the puff by folding both halves together and then tab powdered side on the back of your hand to remove excess. Then, fold the puff in half, gently pressing and rolling the puff onto skin—focusing on areas where makeup breaks down the most (think T-zone).

However, if you're not a fan of the puff applicator, you can also apply with damp Beauty Blender sponge for a streak-free look. Or use a big fluffy brush, which is especially great for retouching throughout the day. When applied, this powder leaves a semi-matte finish but as it wears throughout the day it develops into a beautiful glow. Trust us, you're going to love it.


9.5 / 10

Lightweight, easy-to-apply, loose powder that blends effortless to set up makeup for up to 12 hours or longer. Locks in makeup for long-lasting wear without adding weight or texture. Creates a flawless, matte finish with no flashback in photos. Effectively blurs fine lines and imperfections. Set make-up for prolonged wear

Shade Range

9.0 / 10

Although this product is only available in two shades, both are truly translucent, incredibly versatile, and work on all skin tones. Translucent is perfect for all fair to medium tan skin tones, while Translucent Medium Deep is great for medium-deep to deep skin tones.


9.5 / 10

We think $38 for the best powder is a pretty good deal. Not to mention, you only need a little bit of the product to lock your makeup in place for the entire day. This 1-ounce container will easily last you six months to a year. The less you have to apply, the less you have to buy. Pair this powder with the Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil Free Photo Edition Foundation and your face will be flawless.

Overall Editor Score

9.4 / 10

Face Powder Buying Guide and Expert Tips

Face powder, when used right, will make you look flawless and extend the wear of your makeup. This beauty staple has been around for centuries, and if the existence of “powder rooms” is any indication, it’s a major must-have in every woman’s purse.

These days, shopping for a face powder is equal parts fun and confusing—owing largely to the sheer number of options that are available on the market. And based on Angelina Jolie’s infamous powder fiasco, having the right product is not enough—you should also know how to use it properly.

This guide will help you accomplish those two things. You’ll find helpful info on all the different face powder variations out there, as well as tips and tricks on how to nail the perfect application. Let’s dive right in!

Your Ultimate Guide to Different Face Powders

Gone are the days when the term “face powder” automatically meant pressed powder in a bulky compact—one that came in only one color, no less. Remember when we all had to make do with limited shades that super pale faces and mismatched necks were oh-so-normal?

Fortunately, today’s beauty community is spoilt with tons of choices in different colors, forms, and finishes. But how do they differ from one another? Let's break it down for you.

Based on form and packaging: Pressed vs. Loose

Pressed powders are historically the more common type, although loose powders have admittedly gained traction in recent years and are definitely catching up.

Pressed powders are pressed until they’re packed solid and usually come in a handy compact. They frequently come with a puff or a sponge, but you can also use them with a brush. Finishing and foundation powders usually come in pressed form, but there are, of course, some exceptions.

Loose powders have a loose formula and are usually packed in jars with sifters. Some of them come with puffs, but like pressed powders, they also work well with brushes and even sponges. Baking and setting powders usually come in loose form.

Each type has its own pros and cons. For one, pressed powder is easier to use if you have to touch up in the middle of the day. When you bring a loose powder with you, there’s also the risk of powder getting all over the inside of your bag.

Based on color and coverage: Tinted vs. Translucent

Whatever form of powder you choose—whether it’s pressed or loose—you’ll be able to find both tinted and translucent options on the market.

Tinted powder comes in various shades to match your skin tone. They add a bit more coverage, which is perfect if you feel like your foundation is too sheer. One thing you’d have to know about tinted powders is that they’re easier to overdo than translucent ones. If you’re not careful, you might layer too much and end up with a cakey face.

A translucent powder will not add color or coverage and is nearly invisible on the face. If you’re wary about looking too made-up, this is a great choice.

Based on usage

Setting powders are just that—they are used to set makeup and keep it in place. When we use cream or liquid products, they have a tendency to wipe off or transfer. Using a setting powder prevents this from happening and minimizes the risk of your makeup sliding right off.

Baking powder is used to create a highlighted and creaseless finish. Usually in loose form, think of it as a next-level setting powder. If you have extremely oily skin or a long day ahead of you, baking parts of your face will prolong the wear of your makeup.

Finishing powders are excellent at perfecting your makeup. They’re usually applied as the last step in a routine. Finishing powders have ultra-fine particles that help blur the appearance of fine lines and pores. It truly is your best friend if you want to look flawless. Beware, though, as finishing powders aren’t as great at oil control as your average setting and baking powder.

A powder foundation looks and feels like a normal powder, but adds a lot of coverage when applied on the face. If you don’t like the feel of cream or liquid foundation, using a powder foundation is a great alternative. What makes this product so good is that it’s versatile. You can apply a very thin layer if you want sheer coverage.

Based on the finish: Matte vs. Natural vs. Luminous

We’re all familiar with matte-finish powders. It’s a classic, after all. But if you’ve been hibernating for the last couple of years, you should probably know that the makeup scene has grown so much that natural and luminous powders now exist! Cool, right?

Looking matte and fresh all day is great, but for dry-skinned gals, matte powder can easily crack and emphasize dry spots. And when winter hits, we all could use some added radiance on our faces. For these situations, natural-finish and luminous face powders will save the day.

Application Tips for The Perfect Finish

  • If you have dry skin, go for a finely-milled powder and apply it sparingly. Putting on too much can accentuate dryness and make you look cakey. That said, apply powder only on oily areas or where your makeup tends to melt off during the day.
  • If you have oily skin, a mattifying setting powder should do the trick. You may also opt to bake your makeup for maximum staying power.
  • For aging and textured skin, two words: finishing powders! Don’t sleep on ‘em, folks. They can perfect the look of your skin and blur out wrinkles and pores. Make sure to blend it out properly if you will have your photos taken—unless, of course, you want to end up with unflattering flashback like Ms. Jolie.
  • Make sure you’re using the right shade of powder. These days, even translucent powders have variations for both light and deep skin tones. Take advantage of this fact and you’ll look extra flawless for sure!
  • For barely-there coverage, use a big, fluffy powder brush. But if you want a nice layer of powder, velour puffs and sponges are your best bet.
  • To avoid the much-dreaded cake face, don’t forget to tap excess powder off of your brush. If you’re using a sponge, pat it on the back of your hand to remove excess product. Remember: it’s much, much easier to build up coverage than to take it off.
  • Blend your foundation and concealer properly before applying powder, especially on the sides of your nose and underneath the eyes. If your foundation and concealer have already gotten patchy or have settled on your laugh lines and eye bags, give them a quick blend with your sponge. Apply powder immediately after blending.
  • If you’re going to an event where photos will be taken, check if your powder is giving your face a white cast. Take a picture of yourself before leaving the house—and leave the flash on, of course.
  • Overdid it? You can easily correct cake face by spritzing on a nice layer of setting spray. After spraying, take a damp beauty sponge and pat it all over your skin.

Common Face Powder Mistakes

Applying face powder sounds easy in theory. However, if there’s anything celebrity powder blunders will teach us, it’s that bloopers can happen even to the best of us. Practice makes perfect, for sure, but you can speed up the learning process by avoiding these common mistakes!

Mistake #1: Applying powder on the outer perimeters of your face. Unless the outer edges of your face get extremely oily (which is highly unlikely), you should stick to powdering just your T-zone—and maybe a little bit on your cheeks, if necessary. Applying powder on your entire face—even on the areas that don’t need it—can make your skin look dry and tired.

Mistake #2: Using the wrong shade. This should be a no-brainer, but surprisingly, many people still use face powders that don’t match their skin. Remember, ladies: face powder may not have as much coverage as a foundation, but that doesn’t make the look of mismatched shades less unflattering!

Mistake #3: Using cream and liquid products on top of powder. When it comes to layering different types of makeup, follow this rule of thumb: Cream and liquid products first, powders last. This means you shouldn’t use cream blushes, bronzers, and highlighters on top of your face powder. Doing so will make your makeup look patchy AF.

Mistake #4: You don’t clean your tools. Our brushes and sponges get exposed to all sorts of makeup every single time we use them. Even if you have a dedicated brush for face powder, it’s still bound to get in contact with your foundation and concealer as you layer powder on top of them. As these other products build up on your tools, they tend to mess up the formula and consistency of your powder. Needless to say, you should be cleaning your tools for hygienic reasons, anyway.

How to Touch Up Your Face Powder Later in The Day

Even if you consistently use the best makeup products on the planet, there are times when a mid-day touch up is inevitable. Humidity, heat, and sebum are pretty powerful forces—but nothing that a quick trip to the powder room can’t fix. That said, here’s an expert-approved routine for bringing back your fresh-faced glow.

  1. Before anything, blot your face with an oil-blotting sheet. If you don’t have one, using a facial tissue is a good alternative. This will remove excess sebum, giving your face powder a fresh canvass to work on.
  2. Next, take your face powder and begin applying it on your face—focusing on areas that produce the most oil.
  3. If you’re using a powder brush, lightly tap the powder onto your skin. Gentle tapping motions are important so you’re not dragging makeup all over your face.
  4. If you’re using a puff or a sponge, lightly press a minimal amount of powder on your face. Again, press—don’t rub.

And there you have it! Hopefully, you’ve found this guide helpful. Have you decided which particular face powder to get? Let us know in the comments!

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Article Staff

Marina is a California girl and former Idaho resident who is currently living her best life in the Seattle area with her husband and newborn baby. She has a BA in Journalism from Boise State University, as well as a M.Ed from Western Washington University.

Marina has a passion for running, hiking, brunching and, of course, all things home decor. When she isn’t writing, Marina loves to be with family and friends, preferably in the outdoors.

Marina covers everything from health and beauty to babies and women. If the product is in one of these categories, she's likely tried it. For all beauty + mom advice, she's your go-to girl. Want to be friends? Follow her on Instagram: @mrswiersma

Editor Jenna Holtz
Researcher Ronnie Langston
Art Director Cherry Barbacena

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