Unlike a good blush or incredible lipstick, the best setting powders aren’t made to be noticed—which is why they’re an easy step to skip in your beauty routine when you’re pressed for time or money. Its bad rap for making your face look dry and cakey certainly doesn’t help either. But with the latest face powder formulas, your makeup could last twice as long and stay put without smearing, smudging, or feeling heavy.
Think of setting powder as a tool (and a highly underrated one at that) that can vastly extend the life of your makeup, like the way a topcoat does for your manicure. And unlike makeup setting spray, a single dusting can lock your makeup in place, keep shine to a minimum, and soak up sweat and oil—qualities that are undeniably useful in the sticky-sweaty dog days of summer.
“In the heat, your cream or liquid foundation will not set without a setting powder,” explains Natasha Moor, makeup artist and founder of Natasha Moor Cosmetics. “It keeps your foundation locked in throughout the day and ensures that your skin looks smooth with an allover clean finished—never shiny or oily.”
Tinted face powders can also offer translucent coverage, while other formulas are souped up with SPF and hydrating and brightening ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid. “Sometimes I just use a tinted SPF with a powder over top of it because I love my freckles and don’t want them to be completely covered,” Kenna Ehman, makeup artist and co-owner of Kenna Kunijo. “It’s a great way to control a shiny face all day without looking super ‘done up.’”
From Cover FX’s talc-free formula—perfect for those with sensitive skin—to Ilia’s SPF-enhanced powder, we compiled a list of the best of the best tinted and translucent options.
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