Best loose setting powder

Face Makeup

There’s a method to applying a loose setting powder successfully. It’s simple: Just start at the center of your face and move outward in small circles.

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Which loose setting powders are best?

One of the most unfortunate laws of makeup is that most applications of a cosmetic won’t make it through an entire day. Reapplication can be such a hassle, made even more difficult as you always seem to need to reapply when away from home. That’s why many turn to using a loose setting powder after their initial application to set their cosmetics, helping them last longer without needing touch-ups.

The best loose setting powder is the Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder. A matte-finished loose setting powder with no oil-based ingredients, this is made to last all day and is available in three colors to best match your skin.

What to know before you buy a loose setting powder

Finish

Loose setting powders have one of three finishes, each of which tends to be better for specific skin types.

Matte finish: Most loose setting powders have a matte finish. Matte finishes are best used on oily skin as they limit the reflection of light caused by natural oils; some even actively absorb the oils. They sometimes last longer than other finishes. 

Satin finish: Satin finishes are perfect for those with skin that isn’t too dry but doesn’t produce a lot of natural oils. They add a touch of reflection to skin but not as much as dewy finishes.

Dewy finish: Dewy finishes are best used on dry skin. They provide a large amount of shine to make it look more moisturized.

Colored vs. translucent

Loose setting powders are available in colored or translucent varieties.

Colored: Colored loose setting powders are intended to add just a touch of extra color to an already applied cosmetic. As they’re intended to enhance the work of other cosmetics, they are not available in nearly as many shades.

Translucent: Translucent loose setting powder does not affect the look of your foundation or other cosmetics — it is strictly designed to set your makeup to help prolong its usefulness. Darker skin tones may bring out translucent loose setting powder’s slight natural whiteness.

What to look for in a quality loose setting powder

Container

Loose setting powders typically come in jars with lids that screw off and on. Certain loose setting powders, especially more expensive options, include a plastic piece with small holes in its surface that helps keep the powder from spilling and limits how much you add to your brush, preventing overuse. 

The most expensive loose setting powders add that same plastic insert, but you can spin them to seal and reopen the holes as needed.

UV protection

Some mid-range and better loose setting powders also include minor protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. SPF 15 is generally the lowest sun protection factor you’ll want if this is important to you. Some loose setting powders have 30 or more SPF.

How much you can expect to spend on a loose setting powder

You don’t need to use much loose setting powder to lock in your look for the day, so start your shopping in the mid-range; these usually cost $15 to $35. Anything more than $35 or $40 and you’ll be able to purchase a brand-name loose setting powder that uses the best available ingredients. Don’t fret if any of these are outside your price range; you can find good powders that ably perform their task for less than $15.

Loose setting powder FAQ

Are there areas of my face where I shouldn’t apply a loose setting powder?

A. You can apply a loose setting powder anywhere you’ve already applied makeup you want to last longer. If you have dry skin or are concerned about your face looking dusty from too much loose setting powder, just apply it over areas that might generate extra oils, such as your forehead.

What else should I know about loose setting powder if I have dry skin?

A. Many people with dry skin simply forgo loose setting powder. If you still want to help your other cosmetic products last longer, apply the powder modestly and select one with a dewy finish.

What are the best loose setting powders to buy?

Top loose setting powder 

Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder

Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder

What you need to know: One of the top-selling loose setting powders available on the market.

What you’ll love: It’s lightweight and natural-looking. Some users say it makes their makeup job look professional.

What you should consider: Some oxidation may occur after applying this loose setting powder, darkening your makeup.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Macy’s, Sephora and Ulta Beauty

Top loose setting powder for the money

BareMinerals Mineral Veil Setting Powder

BareMinerals Mineral Veil Setting Powder

What you need to know: One of the better loose setting powders, especially when preparing for a photo shoot.

What you’ll love: This loose setting powder contains no animal-based products, making it fully vegan.

What you should consider: There is a slight shade of pink that can discolor your look after application.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Macy’s, Sephora and Ulta Beauty

Worth checking out

Lancome Long Time No Shine Loose Setting Powder

Lancome Long Time No Shine Loose Setting Powder

What you need to know: This loose setting powder is a great choice thanks to its easy use with nearly any foundation.

What you’ll love: The matte finish greatly reduces any possible shine effect.

What you should consider: It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll need to reapply this loose setting powder.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Macy’s, Sephora and Ulta Beauty

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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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