For a flawless finish that enhances the look of the foundation underneath, a setting powder is the crucial last step to encourage it to stay in place all day.
No matter your skin type, you can incorporate this product into your makeup routine. If you have oily skin, it offers a mattifying effect, but if you have dry skin, it will set your look with a combination of nourishing ingredients so as not to exacerbate dehydration.
Setting powders come in various forms, from pressed to loose, and each has its advantages. Pressed powders tend to be easier to wear, mess-free, and generally more pigmented than their loose counterparts. You can use them together with foundation, concealer, or tinted moisturizer, as well as on their own, as they are multitasking with a slight color or shimmer.
However, a loose powder will generally have a finer milled texture that works to absorb more excess sebum throughout the day, giving your look more staying power. They are ideal for oily or combination skin. It can be easily applied in conjunction with creams and color products and tends to be translucent in its color scheme, without adding more tint.
To find out more, we called Amalie Russell, PRO Editorial Artist at Bobbi Brown UK:
What do setting powders do?
“The fixing powers help keep makeup ‘set’ and reduce any unwanted shine, as well as creating the illusion of a filter on the skin.”
Where should you apply?
“Always start by applying setting powder to the areas that produce the most shine (around the nose and above the brows) or where you have the most makeup coverage and need to keep the makeup set.”
What skin types are best suited?
“The powder will suit any skin type depending on the formula. A normal to oily skin type can bear more “weight” with fuller coverage powders, and a dry skin is better suited to a light and “airy” powder.
What textures are best for different skin types?
“A complete powder for any skin type is a sheer, translucent powder. This formula simply adds a very light veil that eliminates unwanted shine and sets makeup to create a longer lasting hold.
“Normal to oily skin is usually a bit thicker and can absorb fuller powder foundations. Dry skin often suffers from a lack of water or oil, so it’s best to use powders that are lightweight, moisturizing, or illuminating to reduce the textured appearance of dryness.”
What is baking and how does it work?
“Baking is all about super powerful long-lasting makeup, as well as for oily skin types. This ‘baking’ technique is created by using powder to set any foundation and concealer with a sponge or powder puff, then allowing the makeup to ‘marine’ (approximately 10 minutes) before brushing off any excess powder.
“This technique has been used for many years in film and drag makeup and is now used in a modern way for everyday wear.”
Shop the best setting powders below for an airbrushed finish
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
A mainstay in makeup artist kits around the world, winner of multiple beauty awards, and considered among the best setting powders on the market, Laura Mercier’s translucent product is a must-have when the temperature rises.
The lightweight formula sits on the skin, providing a blurring effect, a flawless finish and absorbing shine with its mattifying effect. It makes skin look expensive, adds a diffused glow, and comes in three colors for a variety of skin tones. Is it any wonder we are so obsessed?
Shop Now £34.00, Boots
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Poreless Finish Airbrush Powder
IT Cosmetics was created by a former newscaster to give a photo-ready airbrush finish and this is one of the most cult items in the collection with almost 500 five-star reviews.
The powder glides onto skin and has an immediate blurring effect that minimizes the appearance of pores and fine lines without settling (the latter thanks to the hydrolyzed collagen within the formula). The setting product is translucent on application to smooth skin without changing the tone of the foundation below.
Shop Now £25.00, Cult Beauty
Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder
From mascara to lipsticks, Hourglass is one of the highest rated makeup brands on the market and a favorite among beauty editors. The setting powder also deserves your attention for its finely milled texture that acts as an invisible veil (the clue is in the name) to offer a silky, blended effect with a single stroke of the brush.
Even the power of diamond is included to reflect light and ensure a flawless complexion in every shot with a slight glow. It also offers advanced staying power and has a mattifying finish that will be particularly welcome for oily skin types.
Buy Now £41.00, FeelUnique
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Touch Up Setting Powder
Instead of immediately slipping on the Paris filter, opt for this Fenty Beauty product by Rihanna to spice up the effect. This loose powder comes in one of the widest ranges of shades for this type of product (in true Fenty style), ranging from the lightest Butter to the darkest Coffee, with a total of eight different shades.
The texture is extremely fine, giving a barely visible look and feel on the skin. It simultaneously has a matte finish, while imparting a healthy glow.
Shop Now £26.00, Boots
Flawless airbrushed finish by Charlotte Tilbury
This pressed powder grew out of renowned makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury’s extensive experience in delivering a gorgeous airbrushed finish all day long. There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular pressed powders in the UK (and around the world) and in fact one of these products sells out every minute, testament to its quality.
The micro-powder goes to work immediately offering a smoothing and perfecting finish and comes in four shades; light, medium, tan and deep, although the latter could be more.
Shop Now £36.00, Charlotte Tilbury
Anastasia Beverly Hills Loose Setting Powder
Anastasia Soare may have founded her Beverly Hills cosmetics range with a specialty in brow architecture, but the brand has since expanded and now has some of the most pigmented powders on the market.
While eyeshadow palettes deserve their place in your collection, so does this setting powder that has a smooth, lightweight texture that will set your makeup on the go to work, to after-work drinks, to after-work drinks. .
In addition to setting the foundation, it absorbs excess oil, illuminates and leaves a smooth airbrush-like finish without drying the skin. There are four shades, each of which is translucent when applied. You also get a real bang for your buck as it will last you for years.
Shop Now £29.25, Cult Beauty
MAC Prep + Prime Sheer Finishing Powder
When it comes to getting creative with your makeup look, there’s one brand that has honed its teeth with the tools to do just that: MAC. From its playful range of shades to firm-setting formulas, the cosmetics label has always been at the forefront of innovation, which includes this finishing powder.
There is only one color for everyone and it comes in a universal shade that is invisible on the skin. It doesn’t matter if you apply it over foundation, concealer, eyeliner or on bare skin, it offers a velvety look that will control excess sebum during the day and after dark.
Shop Now £24.00, Boots
super goop! (Re)Fixing Powder SPF 30
While we should all be applying sunscreen come rain or shine, it’s at the forefront of our minds as we head into summer. Supergoop was founded on the belief that applying SPF shouldn’t be an arduous process and therefore the brand crafts products that will fit seamlessly into your skincare routine.
One of the most popular in the lineup from our friends across the pond is the label’s (Re)Setting Powder, which we’re happy to report is now available in the UK. It’s a mineral setting powder that also doubles as SPF 30. This means that while taking advantage of its makeup-setting and mattifying properties, you’re also treating your complexion like a shield against aging and potentially damaging UV rays. It’s also sweat resistant and seemingly invisible. Without complications.
Shop Now £28.00, Cult Beauty
Kosas Cloud Set Baked Setting and Smoothing Powder
One of the lesser-known labels on the cosmetics block, Kosas has a celebrity fan base that includes Hailey Bieber, among many others. This setting powder has a translucent finish for a healthy glow no matter your skin type and there are nine shades in a wide range of shades.
It takes a unique approach to texture as it looks like a mousse when in the compact. With the swipe of a brush, it becomes a loose powder with a smudged effect, but without the mess that often comes with it.
It’s packed with skin-friendly ingredients like Bamboo Stem Extract for its matte effect, Passion Fruit Leaf Extract for minimizing fine lines and wrinkles, and Chinese Peony for blurring pores.
Shop Now £34.00, Revolve
Westman Atelier Vital Pressed Skincare Powder
When you’ve carefully curated your look for the perfect balance of matte and shimmer with highlighters, blush, and foundation, the last thing you want is to incorporate a powder that dulls all the glare—that’s where Gucci Westman has you covered.
The legendary makeup artist has formulated Vital Pressed Skincare Powder to enhance the layers of makeup below without counteracting shine. Smoothing pores, evening out tone, and incorporating supercharged ingredients like vitamin C and probiotics into your complexion, this powder will become your go-to when you want your look to last.
Shop Now £69.00, Selfridges
Huda Beauty Easy Bake Baking & Setting Loose Powder
Huda Beauty is not known for her subtle makeup looks. The brand’s product line was created to provide high-octane, high-drama cosmetics for those who love the process and want to experiment. The brand, founded by make-up artist Huda Kattan, is also one of the confectionary trendsetters and launched this product to do exactly that.
So apply your foundation as usual and then dust on a layer of this powder and leave it on for 10 minutes or so before brushing off the excess to give your makeup lasting power whether you’re heading to an event or facing a a sweaty subway ride. The formula is finely milled and applies almost invisibly. Promotes a glowing look, minimizes pores and fine lines, and controls shine.
Shop Now £31.00, FeelUnique