Final Verdict

Our favorite setting powder, overall, is LYS Beauty’s highly absorbent, easy-to-blend, skin-perfecting Triple Fix Setting Powder. However, if you’re on a budget, Wet n Wild’s mattifying Photo Focus Loose Setting Powder might be your best bet. And if you’re willing to spend a little more on a high-quality formula, you can’t go wrong with Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre.

Byrdie / Leticia Almeida

How We Tested

Byrdie editors took their time researching today’s best setting powders, taking expert recommendations and user reviews into account before narrowing the list down to 35 to try out first-hand. The container, pigment, consistency, and price of each product were carefully assessed by our testers, who then applied the powders over various creams and liquids.

After several hours, they were rated from 1 to 5 for oil absorbency, look and feel, wear, and shade range. The setting powders with the highest overall ratings were ultimately selected for this roundup. All tests were performed in The Lab, our Manhattan product-testing facility.

Other Options We Tested

Tatcha The Silk Powder

This loose setting powder doesn’t waste time soaking up grease and controlling shine. However, it was almost too absorbent in that it made our tester’s skin feel dry. Unfortunately, the translucent finish looked a bit chalky and didn’t blend as well as we had hoped.

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Kylie Cosmetics Setting Powder

We appreciate the reasonable price point of this powder and were impressed by how well it absorbed oil. While the initial chalkiness blended into a smooth, airbrushed finish, it left our tester’s skin feeling uncomfortably dry.

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Kosas Cloud Set Setting & Smoothing Powder

Kosas Cloud Set does a good job absorbing excess grease. Our tester liked that it left her with a slightly dewy finish while still controlling shine. However, the pressed format makes it somewhat hard to pick up the powder with a brush, and after dusting it on, it felt a little tight on the skin.

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

What to Look for When Buying Setting Powder

Ingredients

When shopping around for a setting powder, be sure to check the ingredients list. Rice starch, cornstarch, silica, and talc often account for the bulk of the product, as they’re highly absorbent and generally non-irritating on most skin types. Bear in mind that talc can be hit or miss with oily skin, so you might want to steer clear to avoid caking and creasing. Many formulas also contain various minerals like zinc, calcium silicate, and iron oxide, which can offer complexion-enhancing benefits.

Finish

You’ll want to consider the finish as well. Like foundation and concealer, setting powders offer various finishes, including matte, radiant, natural, and even dewy. If you have particularly oily skin and are looking to control shine, look for a setting powder that delivers a mattifying effect. Other than that, it’s mostly a matter of preference.

Pressed vs. Loose

There are two main types of setting powder: pressed and loose. Pressed powders typically come in convenient mirrored compacts, making them travel-friendly and easy to stash in a purse or makeup bag. Dorman recommends finely milled loose powders, as they’re less likely to settle into fine lines. Just keep in mind that loose powders tend to be a little messier than their pressed counterparts.

What Is Byrdie Verified?

Did you notice the Byrdie Verified seal of approval at the top of this story? This seal means that our team has researched and tested every product on this list using a unique methodology that’s designed to focus on what our readers want to know—and to deliver insights that you can’t find anywhere else. Occasionally, beauty brands and PR agencies will send us samples for coverage consideration, but our thoughts and opinions are fully our own. If you visit links within our content, we may receive commissions from your purchases, but we never receive any compensation or consideration for the content of our recommendations. In short, the Byrdie Verified seal stands for product recommendations you can trust.

Why Trust Byrdie

Theresa Holland is a seasoned commerce writer and product tester specializing in cosmetics. She is keenly familiar with most brands on this list and has personally tried powders from LYS Beauty, Charlotte Tilbury, Wet n Wild, L’Oréal, Supergoop!, Hourglass, and Kosas. Since 2020, Theresa has been a regular contributor at Byrdie, where she covers makeup, haircare, skincare, and beauty tools.

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