Rare Beauty's New Setting Powder Gives Me Soft, Blurry Skin

We tried it first.

rare beauty setting powders on blue background

Courtesy of Rare Beauty

In early November, I received a mysterious invitation from the Rare Beauty team to get a first look at the brand's spring 2022 collection on a New York City rooftop—and talk to Selena Gomez herself about the new launches. Suffice to say; I was not disappointed with the encounter. Not only is Gomez abundantly kind and an absolute delight to chat beauty with, but Rare Beauty's spring collection is officially here, and it's officially gorgeous. Among the shade extensions to the brand's cult-favorite Soft Pinch Liquid Blush and a few other surprises, there's a key standout: the Always an Optimist Soft Radiance Setting Powder.

The perfect complement to the brand's current lineup of complexion products, the new setting powder immediately captured my attention—Gomez herself told me she wanted to create a product that performed like a setting powder but acted like skin. Intrigued? Same. Luckily, her team hooked me up with one of the first samples to become available. Here's what happened when I took the new Rare Beauty setting powder for a spin.

The Formula

When Selena Gomez and her Rare Beauty team set out to create the perfect setting powder, Gomez had one non-negotiable stipulation: It absolutely could not look powdery or feel heavy on the skin. "I feel so uncomfortable wearing thick, powdery makeup," she told me during our interview. "I wanted our powder to be effective, of course, but it was also crucial to me that it moves with your skin to look really natural." The powder is extremely finely-milled—it feels like powdered sugar between your fingers. And while this is a mattifying product that helps balance particularly oily areas on the face, the formula also contains a touch of mica for radiance, so you can layer the product without your makeup looking flat. The product comes in five shades, from Light to Deep.

Rare beauty setting powder on tan background

Courtesy of Rare Beauty

The Packaging

This is hands-down the least messy setting powder I have ever used. Most loose powders end up crusting up around the lid and exploding all over my makeup bag, but Rare Beauty's powder has a unique locking mechanism that prevents the powder from seeping out when it's inevitably upside-down in your toiletry case. To secure the powder, just turn the little Rare Beauty logo in the powder pan to lock in the powder, then screw the lid back on like normal. It's straightforward and super effective—I haven't lost an ounce of product to the bottom of my makeup bag with this design. Then when you're ready to use the powder, unscrew the lid, turn the Rare Beauty logo to the unlocked position, and tap the product into the lid—the walls of the lid are higher than average to prevent the product from flying around everywhere when you swirl your brush into the product.

The Review

rare beauty setting powder before and after photo

@hollyrhue/Design by Cristina Cianci

I've always viewed setting powders as a necessary evil. I hate the way they typically look and feel, but I also can't stand the feeling of makeup melting off of my oily forehead. The Rare Beauty setting powder really does give you the best of both words—I buffed on the tiniest bit of product with a dome-shaped brush, and the powder instantaneously mattified my forehead, chin, and nasolabial folds without making me look flat or heavily powdered. It just gives you this lovely, soft, Paris filter-esque radiance.

The setting powder also features impressive long-wear. In the before photo above, I've just applied a thick layer of a dewy, tinted sunscreen that tends to leave my face looking a bit greasy (and some concealer under my eyes). In the after photo, I've been wearing the Always an Optimist Soft Radiance Setting Powder for three hours without a touch-up. Notice how the powder hasn't caked anywhere, nor is my under-eye concealer creasing. My skin isn't dry or dull—it looks and feels like skin. Was I running a marathon or sulking on the NYC subway in the middle of July during those three hours? No, I was eating snacks at my air-conditioned desk, but I'm still really impressed with the results after hours of wear.

If you have some oily areas that you prefer to mattify and can't stand the feeling of setting powders, you will absolutely love this formula. It's light as air, super comfortable, and lasts for hours. You can get yours starting 12 pm EST on December 25th on RareBeauty.com.

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