Applying makeup is always so fun, whether we are doing a minimal 5-minute routine in the morning or a full-glam evening makeup look. But we tend to overlook a very important step in our makeup application routine – the finishing powder.
Face powders come in different shades, packaging, and for different skin types. What to choose best and how to use them for flawless results? I’ve got all the answers for you in this article, so please keep reading to get all the tips and tricks and my top face powder recommendations!
What Are Face Powders Good For?
Face powders are the finishing touch to any makeup base. They are perfect for setting in place any creamy products, such as foundation or tinted moisturizer or concealer.
Creamy products tend to move around and melt throughout the day, especially if you have oily skin. This also happens in a humid climate or in the summer heat when we sweat more. This is why cream products need to be set in place, so we can avoid them melting off or settling into wrinkles.
Using face powder is the perfect solution for setting your foundation base. It” dries” the creamy products, meaning they are no longer wet and moving around. But powders don’t have to be dried or make the complexion look dull. Some of the best ones just melt into the skin, and they don’t look cakey at all.
Can I Use a Face Powder if I Have Dry or Mature Skin?
Not all face powders are created the same. Some are mattifying and more drying because they were made especially for oily skin. This skin type produces more sebum, and oil dissolves makeup. So oily skin needs all the help it can get in terms of makeup longevity; try using a suited primer and a mattifying powder that has more absorbent power.
But you can also find more subtle powders that set your foundation base into place without drying it at all. These types of powders are generally fine-milled and very subtle, and they just melt into the skin seamlessly. These products are suited for dry or mature skin because they don’t emphasize dry patches or make the complexion look cakey.
I love using a powder on my mature skin that is on the dry side because it sets the makeup into place and they blur out the skin. My makeup looks more refined and is more long-lasting when using the right powder.
The offer of face powders on the market is overwhelming. There are so many brands, different types, with different purposes. So I’ve created a list of my favorite powders for every category, from drugstore to high-end.
The Best Translucent Powder
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder is a true cult classic and a favorite of makeup artists and regular customers alike. It’s a very fine-milled powder that melts seamlessly into the skin. It does just enough to set your foundation base into place without making it dull or lifeless.
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder is perfect for any skin type, and it works great for mature and dry skin. It is translucent, so it doesn’t have any color; this means you can use it no matter your skin tone, and it won’t influence the shade of your foundation.
NYX HD Studio Finishing Powder Translucent Setting Powder
If you want a drugstore loose powder with the quality of a high-end one, then look no further! NYX brings a stellar translucent loose powder that is unperceivable on the skin. It does a fantastic job of setting the foundation or concealer into place without looking cakey. The shade is translucent, so it goes on neutral and adapts to any skin tone.
This face powder is cruelty-free and vegan.
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Translucent Loose Setting Powder
IT Cosmetics has an incredible range of face products, including the Bye Bye Pores Translucent Loose Setting Powder. It is incredibly fine, and it sets your foundation into place for hours on end.
This IT Cosmetics Powder is more on the mattifying side, so it is ideal for oily skin. However, the powder is not drying or obvious on the skin, but it does a great job at keeping the sebum at bay for many hours.
How to Use a Translucent Powder
Open up your loose powder and put a small amount of it in the lid. Take a large, fluffy brush, and swirl it around the lid with circular motions. Now tap off the excess from the brush, and apply it liberally on your face.
The Best Setting Powder
Cover FX Illuminating Setting Powder
Cover FX Illuminating Setting Powder is the perfect face powder for mature and dull skin. It gives the most beautiful glow-from-within effect and a luminous finish. It doesn’t have visible shimmer particles, but rather a discreet satin touch.
This powder is cruelty-free and vegan, and it’s best for dry and mature skin. Go for a more mattifying powder if you have oily skin because this may not be enough for you.
Elf Setting Powder Halo Glow Setting Powder
Another incredible illuminating powder comes from E.L.F. It has a soft-focus finish on the skin, and it feels weightless. The translucent shade means the powder is suited for any skin tone, so it won’t change the color of your foundation.
The E.L.F. Setting Powder has a blurring effect that smooths the pores. It is also vegan and cruelty-free.
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder is one of the best setting powders on the market. The product stays true to its name and does a stellar job at minimizing pores and smoothing the skin.
This pressed powder is easy to take with you for touch-ups throughout the day, so you can make sure your makeup stays impeccable. It’s free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and talc.
How to Use a Setting Powder
Finish your base by putting on primer, foundation, and concealer. After blending them properly, put on a face-setting powder. Use a large fluffy brush and apply the powder on the central part of the face, then on the rest.
The Best Pressed Powder
Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Powder
Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless is one of my favorite drugstore powders. It has the quality of a high-end powder at a fraction of the price. This is a pressed powder that is perfect for using to set your makeup or as a touch-up powder on the go.
The powder comes in many shades, so you can choose one suited for your skin tone. Or you can just go for the translucent version that will suit everyone. This is a more mattifying powder, so it’s ideal for combination skin or if you want great staying power.
NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder
NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder delivers just that if you want a pressed powder with a luminous finish. It’s a microfine powder that offers a soft-focus effect. This blurs pores, and it makes your skin look almost airbrushed.
The Light Reflecting Powder has a luminous finish that’s perfect for mature or dull-looking skin. The formula is free of parabens, talc, mineral oil, and fragrance.
Bare Minerals ORIGINAL Mineral Veil Pressed Setting Powder
Bare Minerals comes with a beautiful pressed powder that offers light coverage. The finish is soft-matte, and it has a blurring effect for less texture. This mineral powder comes in an elegant black compact, and it’s very comfortable to keep in your bag for touch-ups.
The Bare Minerals Pressed Setting Powder is free of parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and mineral oil.
How to Use a Pressed Powder
Keep the pressed powder in your purse for touch-ups throughout the day. Use a blotting paper first to absorb the excess sweat or sebum because otherwise, the powder can oxidize on the skin. Then take a powder blush and apply the product to the face, concentrating on the T-zone.
The Best Finishing Powder
Elf Prime and Stay Finishing Powder
E.L.F. Prime and Stay Finishing Powder is a compact powder that sets your foundation base perfectly. It has some tint to it, but it adapts to your skin tone well, and it doesn’t oxidize throughout the day. The very fine powder blurs pores and imperfections, making your skin look smooth and well finished.
All the products by E.L.F. are cruelty-free, vegan, and free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates.
Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder
This special powder contains Amazonian clay that helps absorb oils effectively without drying out the skin. Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder is a loose translucent powder with a silky-smooth finish. It sets your foundation into place for many hours without ever looking cakey.
The finish of this powder is matte, but it doesn’t dry out the skin or emphasize dry patches. It doesn’t have a flashback, so you can use it when taking lots of pictures. The product is cruelty-free and vegan.
Maybelline Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder (dupe for Laura Mercier, but with color)
Maybelline brings many hit products to the drugstore, and this loose powder is no exception. The Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder is a beautiful fine powder that is imperceivable on the skin. I compare it with Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder because it brings that amazing quality and smoothness to the skin. The only difference is in color, as Maybelline has a tint to it, and in the price range.
How to Use a Finishing Powder
Take a large fluffy brush that has very loose bristles. Swirl your brush into the powder, if it’s compact, or into the lid where you’ve added powder (if loose). Make circular motions so you can trap the powder deep into the bristles and not just on the edge of the brush.
Then tap the excess off by hitting the brush against the edge of the powder; this way, you don’t use too much and make your makeup look cakey. Apply the powder liberally on the entire face or just on the T-zone if you want a dewy look.
The Best Mineral Powder
BareMinerals Mineral Veil Finishing Powder
BareMinerals Mineral Veil Finishing Powder is a lightweight powder that gives your makeup a flawless finish and staying power. The complexion will look perfected and airbrushed. This powder absorbs oils and makes your makeup last for many hours.
Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder
Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder is a loose powder that feels weightless on the skin. It has a soft matte finish that absorbs oils perfectly, so it’s best for combination with oily skin. The mineral-based powder is suitable for the most sensitive skin, and it melts into the skin seamlessly.
Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Airbrushing Pressed Powder SPF 30
This is the perfect powder for keeping in your purse for touch-ups. Physicians Formula Mineral Wear talc-Free Mineral Airbrushing Pressed Powder SPF 30 is a compact powder that has the great advantage of an SPF 30. This means it is exactly what you need for adding another layer of SPF on your face as the hours’ pass.
The sunscreen in your face lotion breaks down throughout the day, so supplementing it is key to always protecting your skin. Putting on a layer of this SPF 30 powder is perfect for that, and it will absorb oils and keep your makeup intact for longer.
How to Use a Mineral Powder
Mineral powders usually contain pigment, so you can use them as a powder foundation as well as a finishing powder. They work best if you use a buffing brush, meaning a denser-packed bristle brush with a flat top. Pick up the powder by swirling the brush into the lid or pan, then buff it onto the face using circular motions.
The Best Powder for Under-Eyes
Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder for Under Eyes
The under-eye area has more fine lines and crepey skin, so it’s best to use a very fine powder, preferably one that is destined for this area. Laura Mercier delivers again in the perfect powder department. This time with a microfine powder designed especially for the under-eye area.
Ben Nye Banana Powder
If you want to talk about cult classics in the makeup department, then this is a prime example. Ben Nye Banana Powder is a makeup obsession for both makeup artists and regular customers. It was a staple in establishing that having a separate powder to brighten your under-eye area is a thing.
The product comes in a tall jar, and it’s a loose and very fine milled powder. So much so that it melts seamlessly into the skin. The shade is fantastic for this area and a revolutionary concept – a banana yellow.
The under-eye often has a bluish-purple tint because the skin is very frail, and you can see the veins underneath. The yellow shade neutralizes that shade and illuminates the area instantly. Ben Nye Banana Powder has a long-standing reputation for being the perfect powder for under your eyes, and we suspect it’s going to stand that way.
BareMinerals Well-Rested Eye Brightener Broad Spectrum SPF 20
BareMinerals Well-Rested Eye Brightener Broad Spectrum SPF 20 is a mineral powder with concentrated pigment. You can use it loosely as a setting powder that gives additional coverage on top of your usual concealer. Or you could use it on its own, as a powder concealer.
Either way, this mineral powder gives a flawless finish to your under-eye area while bringing light to it.
How to Use an Under-Eye Powder
Make sure your concealer is perfectly blended right before applying the powder. We don’t want to settle creases in place! A great trick is to prepare your powder brush with some powder on it (try using a smaller brush than for the rest of your face). Now blend your concealer again with a damp beauty blender, then set it with powder without moving the area.
The Best Baking Powder
Huda Beauty Easy Bake Loose Baking & Setting Powder
Huda Beauty Easy Bake Loose Baking & Setting Powder was specially created for baking. It is a melt-proof makeup technique that ensures a flawless finish and incredible staying power.
The loose powder comes in a special container that has a fine net at the top. This dispenses a controlled amount of powder that is ideal for the baking method. This Huda Beauty Powder has a satin-matte finish that looks beautiful on the skin.
Airspun Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder
The Airspun Coty Loose Face Powder is a fine-milled powder that is perfect for baking. It doesn’t add heaviness to your base but rather a soft-focus finish and a long-lasting effect. The powder comes in a very generous quantity, so you can be at ease using it for baking.
The Airspun powder comes with a tint, and it provides additional light coverage. It conceals imperfections your foundation or concealer may have missed, resulting in a flawless finish.
wet n wild Photo Focus Loose Setting Powder
Wet n wild Photo Focus Loose Setting Powder is a very affordable option for baking while not sacrificing anything on quality. This loose powder is very versatile, as it can be used for setting your foundation, for under-eyes, or for baking.
The effect of this powder on the skin is smooth skin with blurred imperfections. The product is cruelty-free, fragrance-free, and gluten-free.
How to Use a Baking Face Powder
Baking is a fantastic technique if you want extreme staying power for your foundation base and a very sharp contour. Try taking an excess of powder on the sharp edge of your beauty blender. Place it underneath your eyes, leave it for a few minutes, then wipe it off with a clean powder brush. Do the same under your cheekbones to sharpen up your contour.
A Touch of Powder for a Perfect Finish
Such a simple step, but oh so important in your makeup routine! A face powder can make or break your whole makeup look, and that is no exaggeration.
Use a high amount or a non-fine powder, and your base will look cakey and overdone. But using just the right powder in terms of color, texture, and your specific skin type, your makeup will look amazing and last for hours on end.