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Best face powder

Which face powder is best?

While not as flashy or exciting as other makeup products, face powder is a must-have to keep your makeup looking flawless throughout the day. Face powders can be tinted or translucent and provide a light veil that sets your foundation, evens skin tone and prevents your makeup from creasing.

Our top pick, Kosas Setting & Smoothing Talc-Free Vegan Powder, is a super soft, creamy formula that lasts all day.

What to know before you buy a face powder


Setting powder is used to “set” your foundation and/or concealer. When applied after foundation, it locks it into place for longer-lasting wear. Setting powder is either translucent or tinted and often matte to keep you shine-free throughout your day.


Finishing powder is applied at the very end of your makeup routine after you put on foundation, concealer, blush, highlighter and/or bronzer. When lightly dusted over the face, it sets everything in place and blends any uneven makeup. Finishing powder minimizes the look of fine lines and pores. Translucent or tinted finishing powders are available, and the latter often comes in sheer, brightening shades.


Loose powder powder comes in a container with a sifting dispenser, which can be messy if you’re not used to it. A separate brush is required to apply loose powder. Its fine, lightweight texture creates a more natural finish on the skin.

Pressed powder comes in a makeup compact, often with a round sponge or puff for application. It won’t spill like loose powder, making it easy to transport wherever you go. Its heavier texture provides more coverage, but beware: These formulas often contain more oil and can cake on oily skin.


While face powders don’t give you the full coverage of a foundation, some offer more coverage than others depending on the powder’s formula, type and tint.

Sheer: For sheer or no coverage, a translucent loose or pressed face powder sets your makeup and reduces shine but not much else.

Light: For light coverage, opt for a tinted loose face powder with a hint of color.

Medium: A tinted pressed face powder gives moderate coverage and often comes in a range of shades you can match to your skin tone.

What to look for in a quality face powder


Consider your skin type when selecting the finish of a face powder. Matte finish is best for oily or acne-prone skin and can absorb excess oil. For dry, dull or mature skin, select a dewy, radiant or luminous finish to add a healthy-looking glow. For normal skin types, a satin or demi-matte finish works best to give you a natural, subtle glow.


When selecting a tinted face powder, match it to your foundation’s shade. For tinted powders that are brightening, select a white or pink powder if your skin is fair or light; select a peach or yellow tone if your skin is medium, olive or dark.


Some powders contain SPF to protect your skin from UV rays so you don’t have to reapply sunscreen every few hours — which might mess up your makeup. Instead, touch up your powder with a product containing an SPF of at least 15.

How much you can expect to spend on a face powder

Face powders range widely in price between $2 and $95. Expect to pay between $15 and $35 for a powder formulated with quality ingredients.

Face powder FAQ

Can you use face powder instead of foundation?

A. If you don’t have much to cover up and just need to even out your skin tone, you can get by using a face powder instead of foundation. Pressed powder gives you more coverage than a loose powder.

How do you use a face powder to set under-eye concealer?

A. It’s a good idea to set under-eye concealer with a face powder because that area tends to have fine lines and concealer can crease. We recommend using a loose powder in a brightening tint under your eyes to diminish the look of dark circles.

What's the best face powder to buy?

Top face powder

Kosas Setting & Smoothing Talc-Free Vegan Powder

What you need to know: An extremely light powder, it gets rid of undesired shine.

What you'll love: Not only it is the smoothest face powder out there but it's also vegan and cruelty-free.

What you should consider: While the product is great, the packaging is too fragile for something you'll use frequently.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora

Top face powder for the money

bareMinerals’ Original Mineral Veil

What you need to know: A loose powder featuring SPF 25, it is a natural mineral formula.

What you'll love: This silky, mineral-based face powder comes from a reputable brand. It has an illuminating finish. This finishing powder can also be used on bare skin.

What you should consider: The sifter can be awkward and messy to dispense product.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora

Worth checking out

Bobbi Brown’s Sheer Finish Pressed Setting Powder

What you need to know: A luxurious pressed powder, it creates a buildable finish that lasts.

What you'll love: Silky on the skin and not cakey, the oil-free formula is easy to match for most skin tones. You can wear it over foundation or alone.

What you should consider: Powder has been known to chip or crumble in its compact.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora


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Ana Sanchez writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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