Have you ever checked a mirror after you’ve applied your makeup and thought “something’s missing”? Your overall look didn’t quite look ‘done’? It could be that you need a finishing powder. A finishing powder not only balances the overall look, but it also sets your makeup and enables it to last longer. Here are 9 of my favorite finishing powders, including both loose and compact.

I use both loose and compact finishing powder and don’t really have a preference of one over the other, except convenience. For quick touch-ups and portability, compact is the way to go. If I’m at my vanity, it’s usually a light dusting of a loose powder. In the summer, while you don’t want your makeup to be heavy, the extra step of applying a finishing powder will also give you the benefit of warding off shininess.


Do you have any of my 9 favorite finishing powders in your collection?

1.    Urban Decay NAKED Skin Ultra Definition Loose Finishing Powder (Naked Medium Light)

2.   SENSAI Loose Powder (Transparent)

3.   Orlane Transparent Loose Powder

4.   Guerlain Météorites Pearls – I’ve used these for years and they truly are my holy grail. This powder color-corrects to add brightness, radiance, luminosity…and it gives a beautiful finish.

5.    MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder

6.    NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Setting Powder

7,    Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light

8.    CHANEL Poudre Universelle Compact Natural Finish Pressed Powder in Naturelle

9.    MAKE UP FOR EVER HD-Pressed Powder Compact (also available in loose); translucent


Overall, I prefer a transparent finish when it comes to a loose setting powder. Translucent/transparent finishes give the most natural, flawless finish. Transparent powders are often white, so they key to application is to apply and blend, blend, blend. When you think you’ve blended enough, go over the entire face again, paying particular attention to under eyes and contours of the face. For best loose powder application, I tend to prefer a powder brush, but you can also use a puff.

If you know you’re going to be having your photo taken, I’d recommend perhaps going with a loose powder in a shade similar to your own.  Orlane, SENSAI and Urban Decay are good picks–and not pictured, but excellent, is Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. I couldn’t include it in the photo because I’m out! The benefit to these types of finishing powders are the inclusion of soft-focus optics that help to give a flawless finish, while being seemingly invisible–and with no white cast.

So why use a tinted powder if transparent finishes are so good? Sometimes you want the additional coverage. If you’ve got a long day ahead of you and don’t have the ability for touch-ups, then a tinted (loose) powder layered in the same color as your foundation is an option. Another good example would be someone who loves the feel of a BB cream, but needs additional coverage.

If you like touching up during the day, most compacts are tinted, although more makeup brands are starting to release HD-compacts. I especially like the new HD Pressed Powder Compact from MAKEUPFOREVER (NARS also makes one, but I haven’t tried it). For the summer, if you need to powder because of shine control/oiliness, use a mattifying face powder. Two I’d recommend are Neutrogena Shine Control Powder and Urban Decay De-Slick Mattifying Powder. Another de-slicking option would be blotting papers.

What’s your favorite face powder? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure:  Press samples have been provided by the brand/PR for editorial consideration, product testing and review. Affiliate links have been used in the post; see Disclosure Policy for additional information.
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