“I don’t think anybody puts foundation on for it to not last all day,” celebrity makeup artist Jenn Streicher, co-owner of Beverly Hills beauty studio STRIIIKE and member of the Laura Mercier Makeup Artist Collective, tells us. And for this reason, most pros will tell you the same thing: Translucent setting powder is a must-have to help set foundation and keep it fresh all day. When it comes to setting makeup (foundation, blush, concealer, etc.), nothing compares—it’s not only invisible, but it also gives you the most long-lasting, natural-looking finish. So why is this crucial step all too often overlooked?
For starters, not all setting powders are created equal. We’ve all had our fair share of mishaps—chalky finish, anyone? But that’s likely not the only reason, Streicher tells us: “People want their skin to be dewy and think they’re going to look super matte [if they use setting powder], which just isn’t the case. There’s a way to still look glowy but have your makeup set.”
With all this in mind, we asked Streicher to share everything we need to know about setting your makeup with the cult-favorite Translucent Loose Setting Powder from Laura Mercier. Trust us: Once you get the lowdown on how and when to use it, you’ll have no more excuses for not making setting powder the final step in your makeup routine.
“You want to try to avoid having to reapply your foundation throughout the day,” Streicher tells us. The easiest way to do that? Applying a setting powder. “Think of it as an extension to your foundation,” she advises. “It sets your makeup in place and extends its longevity. It also gives your look a more professional finish.” The best part? It's available in translucent (for fair to medium skin tones) and translucent medium deep (medium to dark skin tones).
No matter what finish you prefer (be it matte or dewy), Streicher reminds you to use the powder sparingly. In terms of technique, always start with a velour puff. Tap a little loose setting powder into the lid of the container; then fold the puff in half and pick up the powder. Make sure the puff is evenly saturated by massaging the powder into the puff and tapping any excess off. Next, keep the puff folded in half, and press and roll it into skin—this ensures that you’re not moving your foundation or concealer out of place. If you want a dewy finish, use less powder. “Sometimes I’ll use the same puff without adding more powder to it,” notes Streicher. “It’ll keep your skin nice and glowy while also setting it.” If it’s a matte finish you’re after—or if you have oily skin—make sure to use more powder.
Be careful not to go overboard, though: You still want it to be invisible to the eye while giving your skin a velvety finish.
As its name implies, setting powder should set your makeup in place—and you can only do so once you’ve finished applying your complete look. But aside from giving your foundation a flawless finish, setting powder can also be used for touch-ups throughout the day, Streicher says, especially if you tend to get shiny or oily. As a bonus, the powder also comes in a convenient travel size, so you can pack it in your purse and use it on the fly.
Up Next: The best translucent powders of 2020.