It’s been a minute since anyone was talking about powder. The needle on beauty’s hype-meter has been hovering somewhere between fresh, dewy and glowing skin or the pretty flush of a rosy blush.
Face powder has mostly been left behind as modern skincare and makeup formulations get better at helping balance our skin, in particular the natural oils we produce through the day and night.
But there are still occasions when we need a touch-up, or the assurance and longevity only a dusting of powder can provide.
The good news is that formulators in cosmetics labs everywhere have been re-inventing the stuff that used to leave skin smooth and matte but more often than not, also dry and chalky. The results? New-gen setting powders that finish makeup and provide an unbelievably flawless finish, and thanks to innovative new ingredients, you won’t have to forgo the pursuit of lush, healthy real-looking skin.
New iterations either focus on delivering a flattering, blurring, soft-focus veil that helps to minimise fine lines (unlike predecessors that had the tendency to settle in and amplify them) or weightless particles that set makeup in place without the feeling of additional product building up.
There’s also no longer the need to choose between matte or radiance if you don’t want to, instead, working with modern skin finishing products that walk the line between.
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder
Arguably the best setting powder we’ve ever tried, this instantly blots and sets makeup, removing shine without leaving any visible trace behind. Available in four shades, it’s perfect to dust all over the face, or target apply. This means applying just in areas that tend to show shine or where makeup creases, like the forehead, between the eyebrows, on either side of the nose, above the lip, and on the chin. This maintains a beautiful glow in the right areas, and keeps the ‘hot-spots’ nice and matte.
Shiseido Synchro Skin Invisible Silk Loose Powder
Shiseido is a brand that puts its incredible formulation research and development might to good use. The result is cosmetics and skincare that combines great performance with unique textures and modern ingredients. Here that means an ultra-finely milled, weightless face powder that sets foundation and minimises shine and also contains nourishing skincare ingredients that leave skin in better shape than before.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder
This famous powder works a little differently to our other options, but is a worthy contender for the ethereal finish it gives skin. Coming in six shades, it creates a beautiful soft focus, filtered look to skin, as if it is constantly bathed in flattering light. It minimises imperfections, pores and wrinkles, blurring their appearance for a flawless, luminous complexion.
Lancôme Loose Setting Translucent Powder
Almost imperceptible once applied, this translucent powder controls excess shine without being drying or looking chalky. Lightweight and easy to use a tiny amount, this quickly becomes a reliable must-have in any makeup lovers collection. The generous amount in the pot means you get value from the initially steep price tag too.
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
There’s a reason this iconic powder remains a best-seller well over a decade since it launched. It just works. Beloved by professionals, including those working on celebrities and presenters that need their makeup to remain flawless for hours, this formula looks great in photos and feels weightless on skin. It works well on oily complexions and doesn’t go patchy or catch on drier areas. The matte finish looks natural, rather than flat as a pancake, and comes in four sheer shades.