It’s 6:54pm on a Saturday night and I’m up writing about setting powders. Why? Because I’m lookin out for those of you who have no clue as to what they even are. See? I got you, boo — I’m lookin out for you! Also because…I don’t have anything else to do and I actually have the time. I have been forced to neglect my own brand new beauty blog because of work (which I’m sure will happen again soon). I figured since I have a few extra hours I can bang out a few important posts for you all :)


A setting powder is basically a loose or compact sheer-to-medium coverage powder that “sets” your foundation or other base makeup so that it lasts longer throughout the day. It adheres to any damp and/or sticky part of the foundation and creates somewhat of a seal. If you used a liquid foundation alone, you can usually feel a “damp” feeling on your face (unless it’s a matte formula). You can combat this by using a loose setting powder. It can also help remove excess shine.


It’s really beneficial for people with oilier skin-types to use a setting powder so that the oils in their skin don’t break down their makeup to the point where it’s sliding and/or disappearing from their face. The setting powder can seriously help delay the process and save you from touching up so frequently.


Oh man…this question has so many answers. It really depends on your skin-type and what ingredients you’re allergic to, and what your goal is. For someone like me with an overall oily skin problem, I go for ones that reduce shine with oil-absorbing ingredients, set the makeup, and are translucent. A popular setting powder such as Make Up For Ever’s HD Microfinish Powder ($30) is known to help reduce shine and mattify the skin and is completely colorless. There are also setting powders that help reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines, such as Laura Mercier’s Translucent Setting Powder. You just have to know what your ailment is, and find one that will help rectify those issues the most. Read the labels! You don’t have to spend a fortune (unless you want to) to get a decent powder, but overtime you may find that cheaper brands aren’t cutting it for you. I’m not saying expensive ones are the end-all/be-all, but most of them cost a lot for good reason — they work!


If it’s a loose powder you should definitely use some sort of fluffy brush to apply it. The reason you want to use a fluffy brush is because it will lightly disperse the product onto your face without concentrating too much of it in one area. Make sure you use a light hand when picking the powder up, though. You only need the slightest amount (I put a lot on the brush just to show you what it looks like). If you happen to pick up as much as I did, shake off the excess. Once you start buffing it in, it should disappear into your skin and set you look. If you’re using a pressed setting powder, you can still use a brush, but you may find that a powder puff pad will work better. Use a light hand with these as well, and just dab it along the areas where you want your makeup to be “set”, or absorb any excess oil.


Ben Nye Banana Visage Powder (around $7 on eBay) – Very inexpensive, mattifies my face but doesn’t leave me looking dead, doesn’t have any ingredients that I’m allergic to. My oily skin loves this stuff because it literally lasts all day for me. I’ve heard of it not working for some people, but for the price, I think you can afford to try it out. You get a TON of product, too.

Urban Decay De-slick Mattifying Powder ($30) – Portable and convenient. Works very well on my oily skin and removes shine completely. It does have a weird medicinal scent to it, but once you apply it you don’t smell it anymore.

MAC Blot Powder ($22) – Right now I have the loose version (which doesn’t seem to be available anymore), but they have a pressed version that looks to be just as convenient as the UD De-slick. Comes in five shades and controls oil and sets foundation.

Jemma Kidd Gossamer Finish Ultra Sheer Translucent Powder ($28) – Talc free, doesn’t clog pores, sets the makeup and reduces shine.

Jemma Kidd Bio-Mineral Perfecting Powder ($40)- This powder is pretty light and pigmented so I have to use a fluffy brush with this one, but I love it. It has gold and bio-active minerals that help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Dark and Deep Dark ($26) – This might be my favorite only because I can use it as either a setting powder or fake it as a foundation. It’s kinda like a pressed version of a loose powder foundation anyway. Coverage is low, but for me it’s perfect for a quick “fresh” look w/o using gobs of liquid foundation.

Lorac Face Powder in P3 Dark ($4.99 on SALE from $28) – This is an overall basic face powder that sets the makeup and evens your skin tone. It actually conditions the face too because it has Jojoba Oil in it somehow. I can feel how conditioning it is when I dust it on. If you’re interested in a higher-end powder for cheap, pick this up while it’s on sale. The color is pretty translucent and should suit any skin-tone.


  • If your face has a “white cast” to it, you probably OD’d on the powder. Relax, boo…a little is all you need.
  • If your makeup starts to look powdery and cakey, you’ve probably used too much.
  • If you can SEE the powder you’ve just applied — no ma’am :|

A little goes a long way!

If you don’t use a setting powder and would like to start but would rather try a cheaper brand…check out your local drugstore. Maybelline, L’Oreal, Covergirl, NYC, Milani, they all make some sort of loose powder that helps set your makeup. Once you master that, you may want to use a better powder and then you’ll have to shell out a few more bucks. It’s not absolutely necessary, but for some people it may be worth it.

I hope that helps and answers some newbie questions for ya. If there’s anything I missed, feel free to ask :)

Be sure to check out my Bronzer 101 post if you missed it!

-Stay beautiful