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We have yet to meet or work with a makeup artist that doesn’t rely on a translucent powder as the final step for any look. A quick sweep of powder can make all the difference, working to blur and smooth away imperfections, all while helping to give your other makeup a little more staying power in the process. If the mere mention of any kind of powder conjures images of chalky, dry skin for you, fear not. The latest translucent powders on the market are more advanced than ever, truly an important product in your complexion-perfecting arsenal.
These are the best translucent powders to try for flawless skin.
Best Overall: Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder
Like we said, today’s powders are anything but chalky, and perhaps none less so than this formula. Byrdie Associate Editor Holly Rhue swears by the finely-milled, featherweight pick, which boasts light-reflecting particles to blur away the look of any imperfections. As if that weren’t enough, there’s also actual diamond powder in the mix to impart the prettiest (and subtlest) of shimmer. Bonus points for the packaging that dispenses just the right amount of product, making powder overload a thing of the past.
Best Budget: Flower Beauty Miracle Matte Translucent Finishing Powder
From one of our favorite wallet-friendly beauty lines comes this powder, which works beautifully on its own or over makeup. Dust it on bare skin (well, bare except for sunscreen, of course) to help tamp down unwanted sheen and make prominent pores disappear. Or use it as the final step in your makeup routine to set everything in place.
Best Mattifying: Honest Beauty Invisible Blurring Loose Powder
A quick dusting of this formula immediately tamps down unwanted sheen and shine, instead imparting a soft-focus finish on even the oiliest of skin. Free of talc and a long list of other questionable ingredients, it uses rice starch to absorb excess oil on the surface of the skin. Use it in the AM as a final step before you head out the door, and/or to dust on your T-zone when you notice any pesky slick spots start to crop-up midday.
Best for Light Skin: Huda Easy Bake Loose Baking & Setting Powder in Sugar Cookie
Another of Rhue’s picks, this comes in a nice range of eight shades, though it’s the translucent ‘Sugar Cookie’ hue that we especially like for fair skin. While you can’t tell simply by looking at it, it has neutral undertones that make for a subtle brightening effect, instantly enhancing your complexion. Not to mention that it also stays on for up to 10 hours, eliminating the need for touch-ups.
Best for Dark Skin: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Setting Powder
Powders now come in more shades than ever and we are here for it. This particular one is available in eight hues, five of which are especially good for covering a range of darker skin tones. Weightless and sheer, it blends beautifully into the skin, locking in makeup and smoothing out the look of any imperfections, and without ever creating any flashback.
Best Drugstore: L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte Powder
Pick up this powder the next time you’re at the drugstore. It works just as well as its much pricier counterparts, absorbing excess oil for a matte (though never flat or chalky) finish that lasts up to 16 hours. It’s oil-free and feels nearly undetectable on the skin, and comes in seven shades, too. FYI, we like applying it with a big powder brush instead of the included pad, but you do you.
Best Splurge: Shiseido Future Solutions LX Total Radiance Loose Powder
Yes, this powder gives you all of the complexion-perfecting benefits we’ve been mentioning, but it also goes way beyond its standard responsibilities. The powder—one of the silkiest we’ve ever tried—contains a proprietary anti-aging ingredient, plus a radiance-boosting technology that makes skin look extra-glowy immediately and over time. Even the included powder puff is luxurious beyond belief, made in Japan with long fibers that make for seamless application.
Best for Radiant Skin: Surratt Diaphane Loose Powder in Eclatant
As a general rule of thumb, yes, powders are associated with a matte finish. And in fact, this brand does offer a standout matte option that’s completely translucent, but we’re slightly more partial to this variant. Extremely finely-milled, it absorbs oil and reduces shine, but is noteworthy for imparting the prettiest, natural-looking luminosity to your skin.
Best for Touch-Ups: Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Microfinishing Pressed Powder
Keep this compact—a fave among pro makeup artists—on hand when you need to powder your nose. Specially made to be completely undetectable even the most intense HD cameras, you never have to worry about it caking or settling into fine lines. Plus, because it’s pressed, it’s ideal to keep in your purse (no worrying about spills), and comes in a conveniently portable mini size, too.
Best With SPF: Ilia Flow-Thru Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20
Ideally, you’re supposed to reapply sunscreen every two hours (if you don’t know, now you know). That’s an understandably overwhelming goal, which is why we appreciate products that make reapplication easier than ever. Like this translucent powder, which gives you all the same makeup setting, oil-absorbing benefits as any other formula, but comes with the unique addition of zinc oxide for extra sun protection, too. As if that weren’t already convenient enough, the component features a built-in brush.
Best for Picture Days: Range Beauty Smooth Out Translucent Powder
Makeup flashback—a whiteish cast that shows up in photos due to a camera flash—is a very real thing. If it’s an occasion where you know you’re going to be photographed a lot (a wedding, perhaps?) or you just love a good selfie, reach for this guy. The mineral powder comes in four tinted shades, all of which are translucent so there’s never any risk of flashback. It’s lightweight with the perfect demi-matte finish and works equally well dusted on allover or swiped just onto spots prone to an excess sheen.
Best Powder Substitute: Veil Cosmetics Automatte Mattifying Balm
While this technically may not be a power, per se, it delivers all the same benefits as some of our favorite actual powders and is a great option for powder-phobes. The non-drying, breathable balm works with all skin tones and can be used in a multitude of different ways. Work it onto clean skin as a makeup primer, solo to simply tamp down shine and minimize pores and lines, or as a touch-up to refresh makeup. Also nice: Added vitamins C and E in the formula for antioxidant protection.