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Best Face Powders

Updated November 2018
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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.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
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.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 34 Models Considered
  • 8 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 177 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    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.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    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.

    Shopping guide for best face powders

    Last Updated November 2018

    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.

    But 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.

    That’s where BestReviews comes in. We simplify shopping by giving you all the information you need to make smart purchasing decisions. If you’re shopping for a new face powder, check out our top recommendations in the product list above. For what to look for to find the best face powder for your skin type, keep reading.

    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.

    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.

    EXPERT TIP

    Make your lashes look thick and lush by lightly dusting them with face powder before you apply your mascara.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    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.

    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.

    DID YOU KNOW?

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

    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.

    • Budget-friendly

    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.

    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.
    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.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Katherine
      Katherine
      Editor
    • Linsay
      Linsay
      Editor
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer

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