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Setting powder is the unsung hero of the makeup industry. Setting powder, also known as baking powder or translucent powder, make all your hard work stay in place without smearing, smudging, or caking over.
So what’s the hype about the best drugstore translucent powder or setting powders, in general?
Setting powder is one of the magic items that ensure that your makeup last hours on end. If you’ve ever applied makeup only for it to get oily, smear or cakey within a few hours, you can relate.
Some of the best drugstore baking powder guarantee a near perfect look all night long. And some brand name products like the Laura Mercier, which I love and use, by the way, promise up to 12 hours of matte coverage!
For those with oily skin, loose setting powder is the best invention!
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You can get them in clear (translucent) or tinted face powder to match most skin tones. Why? The main job of setting powders is to fix your makeup giving you the appearance of a flawless, photo finish. Setting your makeup secures your foundation and concealer to reduce the appearance of “melting” or caking as time passes.
The lightly tinted setting powder enhances the makeup you already have on and to some extent, fills in fine lines. But if you’re not a makeup artist or a beauty junkie, you might not be interested in spending upwards of $25 for a small jar of this fine milled powder.
Over the years, we’ve seen some of the best drugstore baking powder outdo name brand setting powder. I’ve done the work for you and rounded up the best drugstore setting powder under $15. In no particular order, here they are:
9 Best Drugstore Setting Powders (all under $15)
Scrolled to the bottom? Here’s what you need to know. In no particular order, these are the top 9 best setting powders in 2019:
- E.L.F. COSMETICS High Definition Powder ($6.00)
- Maybelline Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder ($5.58)
- Covergirl Professional Loose Finishing Powder ($3.39)
- Revlon ColorStay Pressed Powder ($5.69)
- ColourPop Sheer Matte Pressed Powder ($7.20)
- Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder ($3.97)
- Neutrogena Shine Control Powder ($10.36)
- NYX HD Finishing Powder ($5.99)
- Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder ($5.69)
9 Best Drugstore Setting Powders (all under $15)
1. E.L.F. COSMETICS High Definition Powder
Soft, lightweight and long-lasting this powder creates a high definition finish for a fraction of the price. The E.L.F. powder sheer is particularly ideal for those with oily skin as it gives the face an even, clean look without irritating the skin or showing any signs of dampening.
This powder is excellent at hiding blemishes and wrinkles. The E.L.F High Definition Powder works in unison with other makeup like contours or highlights and can also be used alone. This is an all-rounder that is perfect for baking, setting, and as a finishing touch.
2. Maybelline Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder
If you’re looking for a setting powder with a mineral-based formula, the Maybelline Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder will give you the most bang for your bucks. This $8 translucent powder has been dubbed by some to be just as good as the $39 Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. Don’t take their word for it, try it out.
Maybelline created several shade options to complement most skin tones. Choose one of the eight shades that most closely resembles your skin tone for a sheer hint of color over your foundation or concealer.
3. Covergirl Professional Loose Finishing Powder
Style like the pros with the Covergirl Finishing powder. This finely milled powder will get you that light, airy glow in no time. It promises to extend your natural look and stops oily shine with ingredients that are good for your skin. This means no clogged pores for those with sensitive skin.
Apply after foundation with a fluffy brush, or just wear alone and watch as your skin gets the real-life version of an airbrush with just a few simple powder puffs.
While this powder takes the name as a finishing powder, it has the lasting effects of a setting powder and can be used in incredibly versatile ways. And at a special price under $5 (on Amazon), this is the gift that keeps on giving!
4. Revlon ColorStay Pressed Powder
If you’re not a big fan of loose powder, the Revlon ColorStay just might be up your alley. It has a lifespan of up to 16 hours with only one application and leaves a clean, silky sheen in its wake.
Choose between a translucent or tinted powder for an application that never looks cakey or shiny. This medium coverage pressed powder is oil free and lasts up to 16 hours.
5. ColourPop Sheer Matte Pressed Powder
Compact, cute, and an on the go miracle, the ColourPop Pressed Powder is perfect for the makeup aficionado looking for a buildable setting powder. This compact ultra-fine powder kit comes in 6 shades and even offers a mirror for easy application.
The result is a sheer matte finish that many rave about. It’s no surprise that the ColourPop pressed powder has amassed a 4+ star rating from over 300 reviews. So much so that this product has become a commonality in the beauty vlogging world.
And with ColourPop technology, this pressed powder won’t interfere with your perfectly blended makeup. Not to mention, the formula is vegan, cruelty-free and is priced under $10.
6. Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder
Make the last step in your makeup routine the easiest (and one of the cheapest) with Rimmel’s Stay Matte Pressed Powder. This is a finishing powder made for oily complexions, dry skin, and everything in between as the glossy photo finish stays flawless for up to 5 hours at a time.
Use it as a simple touch up, or watch as your pores disappear with the simple stroke of a brush or beauty blender and never have to worry about a midday shiny face again!
7. Neutrogena Shine Control Powder
With a built-in application brush, this long-lasting translucent powder is one of the best on the market today. It features a rice protein complex that eliminates excess shine while keeping you looking fresh for up to 8 hours!
As the name implies, the Neutrogena Shine Control Powder can be used on the go directly on the skin or as a setting powder to fix pre-applied makeup. The lightweight formula makes this powder an option for a photogenic matte finish.
8. NYX HD Finishing Powder
This list will be incomplete without NYX HD Finishing Powder. This translucent setting powder does the difficult task of significantly reducing the appearance of large pores and fine lines. Lightly saturate a fluffy brush and dust on your face for a finishing touch. This product also comes in shades Mint Green and Banana to target specific problem areas.
9. Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder
If you’re on the search for a product unlike any other setting powder, you just met your match. The Coty Airspun is that timeless classic described as “light as air.” This translucent face powder offers the ultimate coverage to smoothen and soften your skin tone. Pack it on as a light foundation or lightly as a setting powder for a flawless finish.
This loose powder features the most generous amount of powder (2.3 oz!) and a cult backing with almost 4,000 reviews and an impressive 4-star rating. And rated as Amazon’s Choice for setting powder.
I hope this ultimate list of the absolute best drugstore setting powders that really work helps make your shopping decision a little easier. As a follow up, here are a few frequently asked questions about setting powders and makeup application.
Is translucent powder the same as setting powder?
The names translucent powder and setting powder are sometimes used synonymously to mean the same thing. However, translucent powder refers to clear (white) fine milled powder without any color or tint.
While a setting powder simply refers to the powder applied immediately after your foundation, concealer, or highlight to “set” or “fix” your makeup in place. You can find setting powders as clear (translucent/white) or tinted to match a variety of skin tones.
Can you use setting powder to bake your face?
Absolutely! The whole idea of a setting powder is to “set” your makeup in place. The process of baking allows more time for the setting or baking powder to absorb into the skin and lock your perfect makeup exactly where you want it to stay.
As Cosmopolitan put it, baking is the process of “letting translucent powder sit on your face for five to 10 minutes, which allows the heat from your face to set your base foundation and concealer, and then dusting it off your face, leaving you with a creaseless, flawless finish” (source).
Do you have to use setting powder and setting spray?
No, you do not have to use both a setting powder and setting spray. However, I recommend using the setting spray at the final stage of the makeup application for those with super oily skin. Using a setting spray also creates a dewier finish and helps excess powder blend into the skin.
What is the best way to apply makeup?
Although many roads lead to Rome, one suggested method to apply makeup is in the following order (source):
5. Setting Powder
7. Eye shadow
14. Setting Spray
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