No matter whether your makeup routine is a complex, multi-step process or a simple, swipe-and-go situation, a finishing powder is an invaluable asset. “The most immediate benefit is shine reduction, while the long-term benefit is enhanced staying power of your makeup,” says New York-based makeup artist Shayna Goldberg. And if you equate powder with matte skin, guess again. “Finishing powders come in a variety of finishes, and don’t necessarily have to result in mattified skin, so they really can work for all skin types,” explains Goldberg.
Byrdie Researched & Approved
Overall, the Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder is our top pick in finishing powders. It's truly translucent and gives the skin a smooth, natural finish that lasts all day. We also love the more affordable Flower Beauty Miracle Matte Translucent Finishing Powder, which has finely milled formula to cut shine and minimize the appearance of pores.
To that point, there are a variety of formulas out there that can offer the above-mentioned effects, plus blur blemishes and spots and enhance radiance. We conducted hours of research to find the very best finishing powders on the market, evaluating them based on their finish, coverage, and staying power. We also made note of their format, whether that be pressed or loose powders; matte or radiant. After considering multiple formulas and consulting an expert, we landed on these 12 top-rated picks.
Here, the best finishing powders you can find on the market today.
Best Overall: Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Translucent Setting Powder
Creates no flashback
Reviewers note that packaging can make it difficult to get all of the product
Who else recommends it? Allure, Glamour, and WWD all picked the Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder.
What do buyers say? 1,800+ Sephora reviewers rated this product 4.5 stars or higher.
Many of the finishing powders on the market are translucent, which can sometimes be tricky. Because let’s be real: translucent doesn’t always mean undetectable. Many translucent options we’ve tried leave behind a weird cast or chalky finish—but not this one. "It has the most natural finish and actually works on the widest range of skin tones of any of the other translucent powders I’ve tried," says Goldberg. Plus, it’s also infused with diamond powder for the perfect amount of light reflection without any flashback.
Reviewers love that it feels light on the skin, doesn't crease on dry skin or settle into fine lines, and that its long-wearing no matter what foundation they use underneath it. Many commented that it has become their new holy-grail powder, and that it's the only powder they've tried that was actually effective in prolonging their face coverage and giving them a soft, airbrushed look. Another added benefit is that it's free of talc, which is a controversial ingredient that some say can contain the known carcinogenic asbestos.
Price at time of publish: $46
Skin Type: All | Key Ingredients: Mica, synthetic sapphire | Size: 0.36 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder
Gives a natural look
Limited shade range
Might not be effective on very dry skin
It should come as no surprise that this formula basically has its own fan club. True to its name, the ultrafine particles create an Instagram filter-esque effect, magically blurring away the look of lines and blemishes with one fell swoop. It’s also incredibly lightweight and feels great on the skin, thanks to the addition of ingredients such as rose wax and almond oil. It’s a favorite of Goldberg’s, who lauds it for the soft matte finish and buildable coverage.
Price at time of publish: $46
Skin Type: All | Key Ingredients: Rose wax, almond oil, and light-reflecting pearls | Size: 0.28 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
"The Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish setting powder is fantastic; it will keep your makeup in place, give your skin a natural glow, control shine, and give your skin a velvety finish." — Khera Alexander, Product Tester
Best Budget: Flower Beauty Miracle Matte Translucent Finishing Powder
Easy to apply
Can be messy during application
Affordable, yes. But lacking in quality, definitely not. Dust it on solo to minimize the look of prominent pores and excess shine, or over makeup to boost longevity. Either way, the mattifying formula gets the job done.
Price at time of publish: $14
Skin Type: Oily | Key Ingredients: Silica | Size: 0.28 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Drugstore: Maybelline New York Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder
Can be messy when applying
There are so many things we like about this drugstore staple. There’s a great range of shades to choose from (eight to be exact, a lot for a powder of any kind), it has a gentle mineral formula, and its shine-controlling, skin-smoothing effects, just to name a few. The wallet-friendly price tag is the cherry on top.
Price at time of publish: $9
Skin Type: All | Key Ingredients: Silica | Size: 0.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Pressed Formula: Tom Ford Translucent Finishing Powder
Lasts all day
Limited shade range
Goldberg recommends using this pressed option to help set the foundation. “It absorbs the perfect amount of excess oil so that skin ends up looking just slightly dewy, never shiny,” she says. Super-fine powders and a featherweight texture also make this feel insanely light on the skin, always a good thing in our book.
Price at time of publish: $89
Skin Type: All | Key Ingredients: Silica | Size: 0.31 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Loose Formula: Glossier Wowder
Can be messy when applying
“This is by far my favorite loose powder, allowing the skin to look like skin while eliminating shine and leaving behind a perfect, soft glowy finish,” says Goldberg. Dust it on all-over or just on areas prone to sheen; either way, it never looks chalky or settles into lines. Goldberg adds that it also behaves beautifully with flash photography. Also nice: It’s talc- and fragrance-free and dermatologist-tested, so it's great for those with sensitive skin.
Price of time at publish: $22
Skin Type: All | Key Ingredients: Diamond powder, kaolin clay, and vitamin E | Size: 0.25 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Dark Skin: Mented Cosmetics Skin Silk Loose Setting Powder
Lasts all day
Glides on easily
Could use more shade options
Powders can pose some serious issues for those with darker complexions; many are too light, which ends up coming across as chalky and results in flashback in photos. Happily, while this option only comes in three colors, two of those are geared towards deeper skin, and they all offer great shine-control and, indeed, a silky smooth texture.
Price at time of publish: $25
Skin Type: All | Key Ingredients: Vitamin C | Size: 0.92 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Multi-Tasking: MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation
Numerous shade options
Goes on smoothly
Can feel heavy
Prefer to keep your routine simple and streamlined? Reach for this two-in-one, another one of Goldberg’s favorites. “It’s iconic because it has such a wide range of uses,” she says. "Wear it alone as a foundation over moisturizer (use the included sponge for that) or dust it on with a fluffy powder brush if you want it to act as any other loose translucent powder would," she suggests. Either way, you get up to 12 hours of wear-time and a gorgeously velvety finish.
Price at time of publish: $39
Skin Type: All, especially oily | Key Ingredients: Silica | Size: 0.52 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best with SPF: Ilia Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20
Includes SPF for skin protection
Infused with botanical extracts to soothe
Has a chemical smell
In case you missed it, you really should be reapplying your sunscreen every two hours. It’s an admittedly lofty goal, which is where an SPF-infused powder, like this one, can come up huge. Dust it on in the A.M. as a little extra layer protection, but then reach for it throughout the day to not only absorb shine and touch up your makeup but also add back some of that needed sunscreen. This particular one also has the added benefit of blurring away spots and blemishes and is filled with skin-soothing, plant-based extracts, too.
Price at time of publish: $34
Skin Type: All | Key Ingredients: Non-nano Zinc Oxide 14 | Size: 0.24 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Oily Skin: Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Blotting Powder
Lasts all day
Retractable and magnetic for travel-friendliness
Can look heavy if too much is applied
True to its name, think of this as the powder version of those annoying to deal with blotting papers. It’s completely undetectable (on all skin tones, we might add), instead simply stopping shine in its tracks, without ever settling into pores or lines. And if you use it over the foundation, it will up its staying power, too.
Price at time of publish: $34
Skin Type: Oily | Key Ingredients: Silica | Size: 0.3 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Dry Skin: By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder
Glides on and blends smoothly
Regenerates the skin
Once again, the name really says it all. There is indeed hydrating hyaluronic acid in this formula, which boasts a supremely silky texture that blends beautifully into the skin. Still, it definitely has that mattifying effect many people crave from a powder without ever being drying.
Price at time of publish: $52
Skin Type: Dry | Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid | Size: 0.35 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Natural: W3ll People Superpowder Brightening Powder
Prevents makeup creasing
Infused magnolia bark calms skin
May not brighten enough for some
Generally speaking, powders tend to contain fewer chemicals than other products, but this one really takes the clean beauty cake with a minimal ingredient list that relies on natural ingredients. It comes in one universal shade, a sheer, glow-enhancing tone that is ideal for anyone who doesn’t want the classic matte finish. But yes, it still does all the standard finishing powder duties—think stop shine and up the staying power of other makeup.
Price at time of publish: $22
Skin Type: All | Key Ingredients: Organic squalane, magnolia bark, and lactic acid | Size: 0.26 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Finishing powders deserve a spot in pretty much anyone’s makeup routine. The lightweight and long-wearing Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder is our overall top pick because it gives a lovely, skin-like finish, meaning it looks oh-so natural. For a budget-friendly option, consider the Flower Beauty Miracle Matte Translucent Finishing Powder; it controls shine while blurring the appearance of blemishes and pores. We’re also big fans of the Ilia Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20 for daily use, given that it pulls double-duty as an easy way to reapply sunscreen.
Meet the Expert
What to Look for in a Finishing Powder
Loose vs. Pressed
Don’t get too hung up on this difference, as it really is a matter of personal preference, says Goldberg. (Also, depending on your application technique, you can usually score both types of effects from either product.) Makeup artist Khera Alexander points out that "the difference between loose and pressed powders...is that loose powders tend to be much lighter in texture and are more finely milled."
Again, not all powders are mattifying, so Goldberg recommends checking the description to see if it describes the finish as matte or natural/radiant. Matte makeup has been trending for some time, so if you've been on the fence about trying it, know that you'll be in good company if you take the jump.
Most of the finishing powders out there are pretty translucent (even if they do have a tint to them), but some may pack more pigment than others, so check on that as well, suggests Goldberg. Knowing how heavy the coverage will be can prevent you over applying your powder, as can being well-versed at powder application.
If you’re looking to use it instead of any other makeup, you may like the more pigmented, opaque options.
What is the difference between a setting powder and a finishing powder?
A setting powder is used for the purpose of keeping your makeup from wearing off. Conversely, a finishing powder is used to give your face a smoother, lightly airbrushed look that makes blemishes less prominent.
Where do you put finishing powder?
Surprisingly, the answer to this question is not "everywhere," says Byrdie makeup expert, Julyne Derrick. "Instead, press the brush into the skin under the eyes and then in a line from your forehead, down the bridge of your nose to the chin—as well as any other areas that are typically oily throughout the day," she says.
Can I use just powder on my face?
You can definitely use only powder on your face, but don't expect the same results as if you had applied foundation or creams too. Powder alone can't fully conceal blemishes. However, used alone it will slightly diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as prevent shine.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She holds a BA in Journalism and English from New York University. For this roundup, she consulted with two makeup artists and considered dozens of products before landing on her top-rated picks.
The 19 Best Setting Powders to Lock in Makeup Without Any Caking or Creasing. Allure. https://www.allure.com/gallery/best-setting-powder
The 15 Best Setting Powders to Handle Shine, Sweat, and Beyond. Glamour. https://www.glamour.com/gallery/best-setting-powders
The 20 Best Setting Powders to Make Your Makeup Last All Day (and Night). WWD. https://wwd.com/shop/shop-beauty/best-setting-powders-1235243817/
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Juncan AM, Moisă DG, Santini A, et al. Advantages of Hyaluronic Acid and Its Combination with Other Bioactive Ingredients in Cosmeceuticals. Molecules. 2021;26(15):4429. Published 2021 Jul 22. doi:10.3390/molecules26154429