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Updated November 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation
M.A.C
Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation
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Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

This long-lasting, 1-step powder and foundation will leave your skin with a smooth, velvety matte finish all day long.

Pros

Applies evenly for a lovely matte finish that reduces the appearance of pores. Buildable coverage remains breathable and comfortable. Formulated for all-day wear. Controls oil and shine. Non-drying and non-acnegenic. Resistant to sweat and humidity.

Cons

Some users had a hard time finding a shade that felt like a perfect match.

Best Bang for the Buck
Covergirl Simply Ageless Instant Wrinkle Blurring
Covergirl
Simply Ageless Instant Wrinkle Blurring
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For Mature Skin
Bottom Line

This creamy skin powder fills in lines, wrinkles, and pores and keeps your skin healthy.

Pros

The cruelty-free powder grinds to near-microscopic dust to tackle nearly every crack and wrinkle. The vitamin C-heavy formula gives your skin a healthy glow. It's available in several tones to match your skin tone.

Cons

Packaging is far too fragile. There are complaints of misleading colors.

bareMinerals Original Mineral Veil
bareMinerals
Original Mineral Veil
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Natural Formula
Bottom Line

You don't need a heavy hand when applying this powder/sunscreen combination; with proper application, you'll get attractive results with liquid foundation or on bare skin.

Pros

A silky, mineral-based, loose finishing powder by a trusted name in mineral makeup. Blends easily and gives skin a soft, illuminating glow. Provides SPF 25 for extra skin protection.

Cons

Can be cakey if too much is applied. The remodeled packaging that includes an adjustable dispenser is awkward to use.

Mineral Fusion Brush-On Sun Defense
Mineral Fusion
Brush-On Sun Defense
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Easiest to Use
Bottom Line

A transparent brush-on face powder that soothes your skin and protects it from harmful sun rays.

Pros

Its formula includes SPF30 and sea kelp for sun and antioxidant protection, respectively. It creates a translucent and natural-looking glow. This powder is cruelty-free, allergen-free, and paraben-free.

Cons

Some think that the brush gives off too much powder at once.

Colorescience Pro Sunforgettable SPF 50
Colorescience
Pro Sunforgettable SPF 50
Check Price
UV Protection
Bottom Line

The applicator could be improved and it takes some skill to apply, but the high SPF makes it worth considering and practical for outdoor wear.

Pros

Stands out for its superior 50 SPF and water-resistant loose powder formula. Can be worn alone or on top of other makeup products.

Cons

The product/applicator in 1 design can be frustrating, as clogs and malfunctions occur frequently. Powder takes a little extra effort to blend.

HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

62
Models
Considered
175
Consumers
Consulted
8
Hours
Researched
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Buying guide for Best face powders

Sure, face powder may not be as exciting as lipstick or eyeshadow, but it is a makeup bag essential. Face powder knocks back shine, prevents creasing, and sets your makeup so that it lasts all day.

However,  with so many face powders on the market, choosing the right one can be tough. You have to decide on the right type, formula, coverage, and other features to find a face powder that looks natural and flawless.

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To make sure your face powder always looks smooth and natural, moisturize your skin well before you apply makeup.

Why use face powder?

Face powder can improve your makeup in several ways.

Sets your makeup

If you find that your foundation or concealer creases, breaks up, or fades during the day, a dusting of face powder will lock your liquid and cream makeup in place to increase its longevity.

Absorbs oil

If you have oily skin, you probably struggle with shine breaking through your makeup throughout the day. Face powder absorbs excess oil, so your skin stays matte and shine-free all day.

Evens out your skin tone

Tinted face powders even out your skin for a more polished look. You can wear face powder over foundation to boost coverage or on its own for a more even complexion.

Corrects makeup mistakes

If you get a little heavy-handed with your blush or bronzer, buffing some face powder over top will tone down the color. Face powder can also correct foundation that’s not quite the right shade. Use a lighter powder to lighten foundation that’s too dark and a darker powder to deepen foundation that’s too light.

"Avoid using a white face powder if you’re going to be taking flash photos. The flash from the camera can cause a white cast on your skin in photos."
STAFF
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Types of face powders

There are two main types of face powders.

Setting powder

As its name implies, setting powder is used primarily to set your foundation and concealer. You apply setting powder after foundation to lock it place. Setting powder is often mattifying, so it absorbs oil throughout the day. It’s either translucent or tinted.

Finishing powder

Finishing powder is used as the final step in your makeup routine. After applying your foundation, concealer, blush, bronzer, and highlighter, dust finishing powder over your face to set it in place, blend out uneven makeup, and minimize the look of pores, fine lines, and other texture issues. Finishing powder is translucent or tinted, and it often comes in sheer brightening shades like white, pink, yellow, and peach.

What to consider when buying a face powder

Formula

The first decision you need to make when choosing a face powder is whether you want a loose or pressed formula.

  • Loose powder

    • Usually comes in a container with a sifter that only dispenses a small amount of powder at a time.

    • Has a fine, lightweight texture for a more natural look on the skin.

    • Often contains less oil than pressed powder, making it a good choice for oily skin.

    • Can be messy.

    • Not as portable as pressed powder.

  • Pressed powder

    • Comes in solid form in a compact.

    • Highly portable, no risk of spilling.

    • Usually contains oils that give it a heavier texture than loose powder.

    • Evens out skin tone more effectively than loose powder.

    • Can get cakey on oily skin.

Coverage

While face powder doesn’t provide the same coverage as foundation, some formulas offer more coverage than others.

  • Translucent loose or pressed face powder is a sheer, colorless option that doesn’t provide any coverage. It works well if you simply want to set your makeup.

  • Tinted loose face powder is usually fairly sheer, but it has a hint of color for a light amount of coverage.

  • Tinted pressed face powder typically gives the most coverage. It’s available in a range of shades and provides light to medium coverage depending on the formula.
"If you have oily skin, avoid touching up with face powder too much throughout the day, or you may wind up with cakey makeup. Use blotting papers to absorb excess shine instead."
STAFF
BestReviews

Finish

When you’re choosing the best finish for a face powder, consider your skin type.

  • Oily or acne-prone skin: A face powder with a matte finish is the best choice because it doesn’t add shine to the face. Matte powders are often oil-free and oil-absorbing, too.

  • Dry or mature skin: A face powder with a luminous, radiant, or dewy finish works best because it adds a glow to your skin that prevents it from looking dry or flat.

  • Normal skin: A face powder with a satin or demi-matte finish is usually the ideal option because it adds a subtle glow that looks natural.

Shade

Face powder comes in a wide range of shades that correspond to various skin tones and undertones. You should match your tinted face powder to your foundation shade.

Some face powders are translucent, which means that they’re colorless, so they’ll work on any skin tone. Some tinted face powders aren’t in skin tone shades. Instead, they’re white, pink, yellow, or peach for a brightening effect. Fair and light skin tones usually do well with white or pink powders, while peach and yellow typically work better for medium, olive, and darker skin tones.

SPF

Some face powders contain SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays. This is an ideal way to refresh your SPF every couple of hours as recommended without having to slather sunscreen over your face and ruin your makeup. Instead, you can just touch up with your powder. For the most effective sun protection, choose a face powder with at least an SPF of 15.

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Did you know?
Whether you use a brush, sponge, or powder puff, wash the applicator regularly to prevent the powder from looking cakey.
STAFF
BestReviews

How much does face powder cost?

Face powder prices vary based on the formula and the quality of the ingredients. In general, you can expect to spend between $2 and $95.

Inexpensive

Pressed face powder made with lower-quality ingredients typically costs between $2 and $15. Loose face powder made with lower-quality ingredients usually costs between $6 and $15.

Mid-range

Pressed face powder made with high-end ingredients typically costs between $15 and $40. Loose face powder made with high-end ingredients usually costs between $18 and $35.

Premium

Pressed face powder made with luxury ingredients typically costs between $40 and $95. Loose face powder made with luxury ingredients usually costs between $35 and $65.

"Before applying dark eyeshadow, dust a bit of loose face powder beneath each eye. It will catch any shadow that falls onto your face, so you can brush it away without ruining your foundation."
STAFF
BestReviews

Tips for using face powder

  • For a soft, natural finish, apply face powder with a large, fluffy powder brush.

  • If you want to get more coverage from your face powder, apply it with a sponge. Gently press the powder into the skin for a flawless finish.

  • Oil from your face can darken face powder. If you have oily skin, you may want to buy your powder in a shade lighter than your skin tone for the best match.

  • The center of your face, or T-zone, tends to be the oiliest part of the face, so it’s usually the only area that requires face powder. However, applying face powder to the outer parts of the face as well can prevent foundation transfer.

  • If your face powder looks too heavy or cakey, mist a setting spray over your face to melt it into your skin and take away the powdery look.
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Face powder typically has a shelf life of at least three years. Store your face powder in a dry place. Humidity can cause loose face powder to clump together, which can lead to an uneven application.

FAQ

Q. Can I wear face powder if my skin is dry?

A. Face powder may not always be necessary if you have dry skin because your skin produces little excess oil to break down makeup. However, if you feel like you need extra coverage or want some help combating shine in warmer weather, opt for a loose powder, which tends to be lightweight and less cakey than pressed formulas.

Q. Can I use face powder in place of foundation?

A. Most face powders don’t offer as much coverage as foundation. However, if you don’t have much to cover up and only want to even out your skin tone, you can use a face powder instead of a foundation. This is a particularly good option for oily skin because powder absorbs oil more effectively than liquid or cream foundations.

Q. Can I use face powder under the eyes to set concealer?

A. Because of the fine lines often found under the eyes, concealer tends to crease, so it’s a good idea to set it with face powder. However, because the skin in that area tends to be thinner and drier, avoid using a pressed powder to set your concealer. Instead, opt for a brightening loose powder to set the concealer and diminish the look of any dark circles.

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