We Tested 35 Different Setting Powders — These 10 Actually Stand up to Shine

The LYS Beauty Triple Fix Setting Powder eliminates all unwanted sheen without dry spots

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Best Setting Powder Social Tout Tested

InStyle / Tamara Staples

A good setting powder is vital to your makeup routine. Of course, a setting spray might be your go-to if you want a really dewy and glowy finish, but for those days, you want epic oil control and a lasting face of makeup…enter a powder formula. If you’ve ever binged RuPaul’s Drag Race or watched a Kardashian get their face contoured, then you’ve seen the magic of a setting powder in action. Usually containing some mattifying ingredient, a setting powder will seal your makeup without over-drying or causing excess caking that a quick camera zoom-in can catch.  

Many setting powders claim to do the same thing, so how do you know which ones work? InStyle tested 35 different setting powders in our lab, resulting in 10 highly-rated products with the very best powders passing the test on oil absorption, anti-white cast, and long-day wear. The LYS Beauty Triple Fix Setting Powder comes out on top, offering six shades and a formulation that beats out oiliness and patchiness. 

We know you love more options, so below are the best setting powders for every skin type and finish.

Best Overall: Lys Beauty Triple Fix Pressed Setting Powder

5

What We Love: It absorbs fast and doesn’t leave a white cast.

What We Don’t Love: Super oily skin types may prefer a more intense formula.

Not all setting powder comes in a loose format, and this one from LYS Beauty proves that a pressed powder works just as well (and sometimes even better). The sleek triangle shape and rose gold aesthetics of this compact alone will make you want to keep it in your purse for touch-ups throughout the day. Not that you’ll need to worry about reapplying it since the talc-free formula glides onto skin, penetrating pores to leave a smooth finish that locks in oil, according to one of our testers. Oily T-Zones are no match for this powder, says the same tester, “There was a visible difference after I applied this powder. It completely got rid of any shininess without making my skin look too dry.” 

Ingredient-wise, this powder differs from others with the inclusion of niacinamide to combat deep pores, green tea extract to soothe skin, and sodium hyaluronate to keep excessive dryness at bay. Tisha Thompson created this brand as a clean beauty alternative with a focus on skin of color. The brand's shade ranges for their setting powder include a translucent shade and deeper tones to match varying complexions with zero ashiness. While a touch of oily is easily mattified by this powder, some super oily users reported needing another layer as the day wore on. The only thing that might take a bit to get used to is the triangle shape that differs from the traditional circle and square containers. But really, that’s not a big deal.

Size: 0.23 fl oz | Talc-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

L'Oréal Infallible Pro Sweep & Lock Loose Powder

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Splurge: CHANEL POUDRE UNIVERSELLE LIBRE Natural Finish Loose Powder

5
Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre Natural Finish Loose Powder

Ulta

What We Love: A functional applicator is included for easy on-the-go touches.

What We Don’t Love: We can’t determine if it’s cruelty-free or not.

As someone who doesn’t usually spend over $20 on setting powder, buying a luxury designer product seemed unnecessary, but I’m here to confirm, along with other InStyle testers, that the Chanel setting powder is all that. “At the end of the day, my make-up was still very much intact,” says one tester who noticed the powder left her skin looking as fresh at 10 pm as it did in the morning when first applied. “My skin was a little bit flakey under my eyes, but overall I think it did a great job of setting things in place through the day,” says the same tester.

With an ounce of product and eight shades available, the high price tag is worth it for a custom finish with a lot of powder that won’t need restocking every few months. A velvety finish is one swipe of the puff pad away, states one tester, “The product feels nice on the skin – not heavy or cakey – it was easy to blend everything into the skin.” I received a sample of this setting powder during one random trip to Ulta when the brand started selling at the retailer. I tried to make the sample last as long as possible before biting the bullet to buy a full size that is well worth it. It’s now on heavy rotation with my other favorites when I want to feel luxe but also create a natural and semi-matte finish. One downside is the lack of transparency around the brand's cruelty-free status. While Chanel isn’t the only brand that is a little iffy on this, the long legacy of the brand is due for an update with more cruelty-free options readily available. 

Size: 1.0 oz | Talc-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre Natural Finish Loose Powder

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Value: L'Oréal Infallible Pro Sweep & Lock Loose Powder

4.6
L'Oreal Infallible Pro Sweep & Lock Loose Powder

Amazon

What We Love: The thin formula works universally on different complexions.

What We Don’t Love: The packaging is, initially, difficult to open.

Translucent powders don’t always work on dark complexions, but this extremely fine loose powder from L’Oréal seals in makeup without leaving an ashy finish. InStyle tested this powder on various skin tones, with one tester surprised that the translucent setting powder worked for their medium-dark skin. “I expected to look ashy once I put it on, but instead, my skin still looks full of color without being oily or dry,” she says. The same tester applauded the thin product that blended effortlessly into her skin, leaving a pore-free finish. 

L’Oréal is a trusted brand for a reason, and you can always count on them to keep their prices low. Like other best-selling setting powders on the market, this drugstore favorite contains talc and mica for their mattifying abilities, plus Vitamin E to keep the skin from drying out. During a trip home to the humid as hell state of Maryland, I realized I forgot to pack my setting products, prompting my oily skin to ruin any foundation or concealer I tried to put on. I quickly picked this one and was amazed at how much product you get for the cost and how quickly it absorbed oil on my face. One thing I and another tester can confirm is that the packaging is not the most user-friendly, noting the sticker that initially keeps the powder in was extremely hard to get off. Add a pull-tab L’Oréal development team — please and thank you! When you do get into the product, you might not go back to the more expensive options, not with this versatile option widely available. 

Size: 0.1 fl oz | Talc-Free: No | Cruelty-Free: No

L'Oréal Infallible Pro Sweep & Lock Loose Powder

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Airbrush Finish: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder

4
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder

Nordstrom

What We Love: It blends well with other products.

What We Don’t Love: The powder doesn’t hold up to humidity without touch-ups.

TikTok loves this setting powder, and so does InStyle! One tester marveled at the easy-to-use compact that gave her a more customized look. “I like this packaging over a loose powder. I feel like I can better control the application from brush to face,” she says. No matter how much powder you like to use, the results will be an airbrush finish that works on all skin tones at varying aging levels. If you want to set your entire face with powder, you can still make this your last step without fear of disturbing the makeup you already have on. The same tester applied this Charlotte Tilbury powder over a powder foundation and cream blush without smudging the products. “I think it helped blend the products well, and it gave a matte look over the blush,” she says. Thankfully the compact is small and convenient for travel because, when humidity rises, and you can feel the excessive heat in the air, you’ll want to bring this with you for touch-ups throughout the day.

Size: 0.28 fl oz | Talc-Free: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best for Dry Skin: Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Perfection Setting Powder

5
Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Perfection Setting Powder

Sephora

What We Love: The smooth finish it leaves without drying skin out. 

What We Don’t Love: You don’t get much product for the cost.

Let’s show some love to dry skin that can still benefit from a setting powder to ensure outside weather doesn’t smudge a full-face or clump products together. Setting powders can dry out skin if there aren’t moisturizing ingredients added to keep the skin nourished. Dame Pat McGrath always has our back on that with this setting powder that gives a runway finish with a few swipes of product across the face. During fashion weeks through the years, the makeup artist uses her namesake brand for shows such as Versace and Anna Sui. With her setting powder ready to keep skin matte when it calls for it, the product works with the lights of cameras to avoid any flashback. 

Even if the products on your face are of the cream or liquid variety, this powder can keep up with the layers to set, but not cake. “My face felt smooth and amazing,” recalls one tester who used the product with a face oil to review its absorbency. Another tester said similar things and applauded its blending abilities, “It blended so well with my skin, and it feels amazing. It is not too light or heavy.” This powder comes in five shades with Light, Medium, and Dark colors available for different skin tones. Compared to other powders on the market, this powder contains a lot less product, so if you’re heavy-handed with setting products or like to bake your under-eye area a lot, you might need a re-up sooner than you’d like.

Size: 0.17 fl oz | Talc-Free: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Perfection Setting Powder

InStyle / Leticia Almeida

Best for Mature Skin: Saie Airest Radiant Loose Setting Powder

4.5
Saie Airset Radiant Loose Setting Powder

Sephora

What We Love: It creates an intentional dewy finish.

What We Don’t Love: The powder takes some work to get out of the container.

Not everyone wants a matte finish, especially if your skin is prone to looking overly dry. For skin that wants to embrace its dewiness or lock in the glow of face products, the Saie setting powder is for you. The product literally has the world radiant in its name, and our testers agree, “I used it over my dewy foundation. It dimmed the shine of the dewiness very lightly, yet felt weightless on my skin.” This powder comes in a circular package that can be “hard to get out of the container,” says one tester. Its duo opening offers different pouring abilities, one with a large hole and the other with smaller ones that need extra shaking to get loose. 

One of my favorite makeup tricks is applying the Saie Dew Blush Liquid Cheek Blush on my lips, eyelids, and cheeks to create a flushed face, and then gently using this setting powder all over to lock in the color. The powder has a slight sparkle that doesn’t appear in images but helps with the overall glow that catches the light at the right angle. What results is an overall dewy look in the right places, with oiliness in my T-Zone gone and zero creases on my hooded eyes, all with only two products. 

Size: 0.14 fl oz | Talc-Free: Yes Cruelty-Free: Yes

Saie Airset Radiant Loose Setting Powder

InStyle / Leticia Almeida

Best for Oily Skin: Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Translucent Setting Powder

5
Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder

Sephora

What We Love: The light formula keeps oiliness at bay.

What We Don’t Love: Pour slowly — it’s easy to get too much in one go.

The Hourglass setting powder is a chic product on packaging alone. It’s not why we’re here, but it deserves a spotlight for its (on brand) filtered tiny holes in the shape of an H. Oh, and you don’t have to worry about shaking it vigorously to get the product out. Luxury without the effort? We’re sold. 

One tester even commented on how easy it was to get “too much product out at once,” but honestly not a deal breaker. “This setting powder lasted me longer than 8 hours. It wasn’t that humid and only started getting shiny on my forehead at like 3 pm,” states a tester who initially applied the product at 6 am for long-day wear. She also commends the setting ability when used with concealer, saying it “set beautifully, and dispensed the powder easier than some of the others I tried.” This setting powder is an oily skin haven for its lightweight coverage, making it ideal for layers that absorb natural and artificial oils without creasing. Even as a translucent shade, this powder provides a natural finish, working with different skin types and textures. Whether that be very oily skin, combination, or dry, the talc-free formula works fast to set and seal makeup. 

Size: 0.36 fl oz | Talc-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best for Photos: Beauty Bakerie Face Flour Baking Powder

5
Beauty Bakerie Face Flour Baking Powder

Ulta

What We Love: It blends well with different skin tones

What We Don’t Love: The large filter container makes it easy to spill product.

Have you ever worn the wrong shade of setting powder and ended up with a white or orange cast? It’s okay if you have; you’re not alone. However, you should know these flashback misfortunes don’t need to happen, even if you like to cake on layers of product. Beauty Bakerie is here for the full-glam beats that require setting powder to lock in place all the layers of product. “This powder absorbed quickly into my skin, leaving no shine, and blends well with my skin tone,” notes one InStyle tester. She continues praising the powder for its oil control and coverage of warm and dark skin tones. 

Setting powder is vital for skin that needs to get rid of any greasy sheen and for glamorous makeup that needs a smoothing finish that’s close-up ready. One tester applied this product BEFORE foundation as a priming step, creating a matte base for other makeup layers. “I love the finished look,” the tester says, “It’s not heavy and feels really lightweight. I’m shocked it blends so well with my skin tone.” While the product itself is great, the container leaves a lot to be desired — the large pouring filters can create a mess when you try to tap in with a brush. To keep the product from spilling everywhere, gently tap the lid before opening it to settle any excess product and pour it into the cap for controlled application. 

Size: 0.5 fl oz | Talc-Free: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Beauty Bakerie Face Flour Baking Powder

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Shade Range : Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Setting Powder

5
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Setting Powder

Sephora

What We Love: Its pigmented shades blend seamlessly into all skin tones. 

What We Don’t Love: The added fragrance can be overwhelming.

Rihanna might officially be a mother to her firstborn with rapper A$AP Rocky, but she’ll always be a mother to her namesake lingerie and beauty empire, Fenty Beauty. The singer set out to create a setting powder that made your face look like a filter, and based on our testers' reviews, she succeeded. “I'm impressed with the matte finish, especially since I applied it without wearing primer or setting spray. Even after baking my face with the powder, it doesn't look caked on and provides a great natural look,” notes an InStyle tester. 

Fenty Beauty offers eight pigmented shades of setting powder that provide light to buildable coverage for light, medium, and dark skin tones and the ones in between. This talc and silica-based formula also contain squalene, a surprise skincare hero ingredient that puts back moisture into the skin, where most powders would dry it out. If you’re sensitive to smell or allergic to fragrance, you might want to skip this choice, which has perfume added to copy the scents of other Fenty Beauty products.

Size: 0.98 fl oz | Talc-Free: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Setting Powder

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best SPF: Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder Sunscreen SPF 35 PA+++

4.3
(Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder Sunscreen SPF 35 PA+++

Amazon

What We Love: It contains SPF!

What We Don’t Love: The packaging isn’t user-friendly at all.

Setting powder and sunscreen are two things I never thought would get combined in the evolving beauty industry, but I’m glad Supergoop! was one of the brands to do it. We know for some, it’s hard even to wear sunscreen every day, let alone re-apply it every two hours. Supergoop! heard our frustrated groans and offered this mineral powder sunscreen that left InStyle testers surprised by its effectiveness. “This actually has really good absorbency. A little product went a long way, and I say that because getting the product out of the little container was a little difficult.” The tester continued to share that she could only use a tiny amount each time because of the tricky packaging, but the final results were well worth it. When using this product, be cautious of the locking and unlocking function that testers say doesn’t work at all. The most redeeming thing about this setting powder is its SPF 35, oil-free finish, and effectiveness with only a little product. 

Size: 0.15 oz | Talc-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder Sunscreen SPF 35 PA+++

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Our Testing Process

InStyle dedicated numerous hours to testing setting powders to ensure we gave our readers the best ones. Our testing starts with a week of researching the top-rated setting powders, staff favorites, and social media-obsessed picks. Once we’ve rounded up the best, we put them to the test, spending over 50 hours in the lab trying out 35 setting powders on various skin tones and complexions. Each tester tried the powders under different skin conditions, one with oil applied to replicate sheen and one with a full face of makeup to see the lasting power after full-day wear. Product was swiped on half of the face with a brush and examined on a scale of 1 to 5 for three categories; oil absorbency, finish, and long-wear performance. Through the data collected, we weeded out the under-performers to find the 10 highest-rated setting powders of 2022. 

What to Keep in Mind

Formula

A good setting powder smoothes skin while providing lasting protection for your makeup. When it comes to formulation, most setting powders (including the ones in this list) contain the same ingredients like talc, mica, rice starch, and even animal fats to give the complexion an even and shine-free appearance. Our best overall winner, LYS Beauty Triple Fix Setting Powder, is talc-free and uses mica to tamp down sheen.

Of these ingredients, one to be aware of is talc. There is some controversy about its ties to asbestos, as detailed in HBO Max’s documentary, Not So Pretty. While the American Cancer Society and FDA have declared that cosmetic talc has been asbestos-free since the 1970s and is not a cause for concern in topical application, consumers may choose to avoid this ingredient altogether. Luckily, there are alternative ingredients to consider instead. 

Application

Makeup has no rule book — apply however you want — but these guidelines may help if you want a particular outcome. Firstly, if you think you’ll get powder everywhere, try applying it over a surface you can easily clean and with a little bib over your shirt to avoid fallout residue. Secondly, keep in mind spillage—use a small amount of powder on your sponge or brush to prevent waste and lightly apply the product to your face. If you’re into Drag Queen level face baking, optimize a beauty sponge to coat the designated area and let it sit to absorb all oil and shine before wiping away excess dust.  

Your Questions, Answered

Do you really need setting powder?

Technically no, but if you’re having problems with your makeup lasting through various weather or just have really oily skin that eats away your makeup, then yes, yes, you do. “Setting powder is necessary unless you have extremely dry skin, which would warrant skipping this step," says makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran. She tells InStyle that regardless of skin type, “a bit of powder helps lock your makeup in place and also prevents smudging.”

Is setting powder before or after foundation?

As a little hack, Jaikaran says that setting powder can be used before foundation to help makeup last longer, but she says, “Generally it’s used after to set everything in place.” If you run out of primer and want to control oil on your face before your base, you can use a light layer of setting powder. Maybe you’re trying to mattify your eyeshadow or lipstick. A swipe of setting powder on top can offer this without designated matte products. The uses are endless and it all depends on what you’re willing to try. 

Why Trust InStyle

Alexis Gaskin is a commerce writer at InStyle covering beauty and fashion, with the former being one of her favorite subjects to write about. She has tried her fair share of setting powders with a slight obsession for baking her under-eyes and trying to control her oily skin. Alexis spoke with makeup artist and host of the popular podcast, The Life Of a Makeup Artist, Jaleesa Jaikaran to nail down the importance of a good setting powder. Using reviews and test results from our in-house testers, her own experience, and expert insight, she compiled the very best setting powders for various skin types.

What Is InStyle Picks?


Did you notice the InStyle Picks seal of approval at the top of this story? That means our team of testers has reviewed every product on this list using a unique methodology to ensure it’s really worth your time, money, and attention. We may get samples for free to try but we never promise positive (or any!) coverage in exchange. Put simply: InStyle Picks are products we love, and we’ve put them to the test to be sure you will too. 

Want more product recommendations? From best-in-class concealer to the black pants you need for work, check out all of our InStyle Picks content

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