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Lock your look in place without dulling your glow with Team Stylist’s pick of the best setting powders…
When it comes to complexion make-up, it’s safe to say that we’re all after (pretty much) the same thing. We want make-up that enhances and perfects while working hard to stay in place throughout the day. This is where a setting powder can help. Because whether you’re a fan of that glass-skin sheen or you prefer to keep your make-up matte and velvety, a setting powder can help to lock your look in place – without dulling your glow.
“Setting powders are used to make sure your make-up doesn’t move after applying – setting the make-up properly onto your skin,” explains celebrity make-up artist Lydia Barnes. “They also help to control oil so you don’t have too much shine.”
But setting powders have come a long way since the early 00s, when we used to mattify our make-up until there wasn’t a hint of hydration visible. These days, formulas are much lighter, more finely milled and breathable on the skin – allowing you to maximise your make-up’s staying power, without dampening any sign of healthy radiance.
If you’re looking for the best setting powder, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up 11 of our all-time favourite setting powders – from translucent loose powders to pigmented, pressed formulas – so that you’re certain to find the perfect formula for you.
What are the benefits of using setting powder?
If you’re unsure whether you actually need a setting powder in your make-up kit – let us explain the benefits of how a brilliant setting powder can really help to enhance your everyday make-up.
The clue is in the name. Setting powders work to really set your make-up in place, ensuring it won’t move, melt or sweat off throughout the day. But the benefits don’t just stop there. They’re also great for helping to stop transfer (we’ve all been guilty of imprinting foundation onto a friend’s shirt when greeting them), plus they’re great for stopping make-up from creasing and combatting any areas of excess oil and sweat – helping your make-up look freshly applied, for hours on end.
“The best way to apply setting powder is with a medium-sized fluffy brush,” Barnes tells Stylist. “Lightly dust a small amount over your t-zone and anywhere else you are prone to shine or make-up creasing.”
What is the difference between loose and pressed powder?
The formula you choose comes down to personal preference. Loose powders are great for dusting over the skin and the formulas are often extremely finely milled and weightless. Pressed powder formulas are great for use on-the-go as they’re often housed in a compact case, making touch-ups a breeze while you’re out and about.
While setting powders can be surprisingly expensive, they’re a product that will no doubt last you years – making the actual cost per use more manageable.
Team Stylist’s best setting powders
Honest Beauty Invisible Blurring Loose Powder
Don’t be fooled by the yellow tone of this loose powder – it’s completely undetectable once buffed into the skin. The natural rice starch formula mops up excess oil and grease, while giving your skin a smooth filter-like finish.
Shop Honest Beauty Invisible Blurring Loose Powder at Cult Beauty, £25
Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder
This setting powder has earned cult status in the make-up world and for good reason. It’s ultra finely milled, giving it a really weightless feel on the skin. The translucent formula is great for all skin tones and the finish is velvety soft without looking flat or too matte.
Shop Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder at Cult Beauty, £41
It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Poreless Finish Airbrush Powder
It Cosmetics is a brand that knows how to perfect skin and its airbrush powder is no different. It blurs over imperfections and large visible pores, plus its formula is enriched with skin-loving ingredients including silk, hydrolysed collagen, antioxidants and peptides. Win-win.
Shop It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Poreless Finish Airbrush Powder at Boots, £25
Kosas Cloud Set Baked Setting & Smoothing Powder
If translucent formulas aren’t for you and you want a little bit of pigment in your powder, Kosas’s Cloud Setting Powder is a dream. It not only blurs and smooths but hydrates and works to even skin tone over time. When make-up meets skincare – it’s a yes from us.
Shop Kosas Cloud Set Baked Setting & Smoothing Powder at Cult Beauty, £32
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
It’s the OG iconic setting powder loved by make-up artists around the globe. Laura Mercier’s Loose Setting Powder ensures to keep your make-up in place for up to 16 hours, while pearl pigments give the skin a naturally luminous finish.
Shop Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder at Lookfantastic, £34
NYX Professional Makeup Studio Finishing Powder
Made from 100% pure mineral silica, this gorgeous finishing powder gives skin a matte finish and long-lasting wearability. Plus, the price tag is pleasingly affordable.
Shop NYX Professional Makeup Studio Finishing Powder at Cult Beauty, £9
Westman Atelier Vital Pressed Skincare Powder
If you’ve got the cash to spend, this luxurious option is a dream on the skin. It’s buttery smooth and infuses active skincare into your skin (think vitamin C and probiotics) to protect against free radicals while you wear it. Clever and chic.
Shop Westman Atelier Vital Pressed Skincare Powder at Cult Beauty, £69
By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Pressed Powder
With added hyaluronic acid for hydration, this transparent setting powder blurs imperfections, nixes shine and mattifies in one.
Shop By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Pressed Powder at Feelunique, £39.90
Bareminerals Original Mineral Veil Pressed Setting Powder
Another industry favourite, this talc-free formula is made up of 86% naturally derived ingredients. It’s lightweight on the skin and instantly smooths uneven skin texture for a flawless appearance.
Shop Bareminerals Original Mineral Veil Pressed Setting Powder at Boots, £26
Givenchy Beauty Prisme Libre Powder
A bestseller since 2006, this clever prism powder blends together four harmonious shades that mattify, blur and illuminate in one.
Shop Givenchy Beauty Prisme Libre Powder at Feelunique, £45
Refy Skin Finish Powder
This clever setting powder is water-based, meaning it smoothes, hydrates and sets skin – without mattifying your complexion. Perfect if you’re a lover of the glow.
Shop Refy Skin Finish Powder, £22
Main image: courtesy of brands
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