Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Why trust us?

11 best setting powders for an air-brushed finish that won’t budge

With a helping hand from a Huda Beauty professional, we’ve found options for every skin type

Lauren Cunningham
Thursday 30 March 2023 13:29 BST
Loose powder is best for setting and baking, but plump for pressed when it comes to smoothing out shine
Loose powder is best for setting and baking, but plump for pressed when it comes to smoothing out shine (The Independent)
Our Top Picks

Make-up masters, we don’t have to sell you on setting powder – it is the product that keeps your full face looking fresh, after all. But, whether you’re already crafty with using concealer, can flawlessly apply foundation or are just now making your way through different types of make-up products, as always, we’re on hand to help.

We’ve even roped in some experts to get us started with this everything-you-need-to-know guide. And we couldn’t think of anyone better than Nadia Fihema, education manager at Huda Beauty – the person who trains all the best make-up artists for the brand – to tell us the tricks of the trade.

To begin, there are two types of powder you need to know about: loose and pressed. “Loose powder is great to set or bake your face at home,” Nadia explains. Adding, “a loose powder usually is lightweight and doesn’t have a pigment base, so you won’t add any additional coverage to the make-up. Instead, it helps to blur, brighten and set the areas you apply it.” Which sounds rather magical to us.

“By comparison, pressed powders are great for people who have an oilier skin type and need help to reduce shine,” she adds, stressing that they can be applied throughout the day to keep a shiny forehead and nose at bay. And “pressed powders usually have a pigment base, meaning they add more coverage, so you will probably notice that they almost act like a foundation that can be built up.”

To snatch the undereye – essentially boosting the brightness and reducing any concealer creasing – Nadia recommends using a velvet powder puff to gently press and tap the product in. And to add to the entire face, a big fluffy brush or make-up sponge that is sometimes included with the powder is all you need to get going.

How we tested

Our tester set aside a whole month to deep dive into the best setting powders and is pretty proud of this list. From the famous Fenty Beauty invisimatte instant setting and blotting powder – yes, the one Rihanna used during her Superbowl performance – to budget-friendly brands Maybelline, Soap and Glory and Catrice, there’s a whole host to choose from to suit every skin type, tone and budget.

Applying on top of their everyday base, the Max Factor miracle pure foundation (£13.99, and Dior forever skin correct concealer (£30,, each one was given an equal chance to shine, so which ones came out on top really was a test of the best.

(Lauren Cunningham)

The best setting powders for 2023 are:

  • Best overall – Huda Beauty easy bake loose baking and setting powder: £34,
  • Best budget setting powder – Catrice Cosmetics 5-in-1 setting powder: £4.26,
  • Best setting powder for oily skin – Fenty Beauty invisimatte instant setting and blotting powder: £25,
  • Best setting powder for added coverage – Maybelline fit me matte and poreless oil control setting powder: £6.99,
  • Best translucent setting powder – Soap & Glory one heck of a blot powder: £13.99,

Huda Beauty easy bake loose baking and setting powder

best setting powder for oily skin
  • Best: Overall
  • Type: Loose
  • Size: 20g
  • Shade tested: Cupcake
  • Shade range: Nine

Huda Kattan, Huda Beauty’s namesake founder, is known for her highly snatched eye make-up look, and this is the product that creates it. In a loose powder form, it’s incredibly easy to use under the eyes with a powder puff or across the T-zone with a brush, giving the result of an air-brushed finish. Fine lines, pores and under-eye bags are instantly smoothed away, and it also stamps out shine, while making make-up last so much longer. Just remember, a little goes a long way, so better to build up than overdo it and try to remove.

Back to top

Fenty Beauty pro filt’r instant retouch setting powder

best setting powder for oily skin
  • Best: Long-lasting setting powder
  • Type: Loose
  • Size: 28g
  • Shade tested : Lavender
  • Shade range: Eight

The first thing to note about the Fenty pro filt’r powder is that it’s incredibly fine, meaning only the smallest amount is needed to achieve the perfect matte make-up look. In fact, we’ve been using ours for over a month now, and it still looks like it’s hardly been touched.

Taking a tiny amount on a powder puff or brush, it instantly melts into make-up, mattifying the face without any cakey finish and stamps out shine in a subtle, natural-looking way. The lavender shade worked wonders at brightening up the under-eye area, while the other skin tone options work best at blotting the rest of the face.

Back to top

Catrice Cosmetics 5-in-1 setting powder

best setting powder for oily skin
  • Best: Budget setting powder
  • Type: Pressed
  • Size: 9kg
  • Shade tested: Transparent
  • Shade range: One

Budget beauty buffs are sure to know the brand Catrice by now. After all, with plenty of products under £5, it’s our go-to for all bargain beauty buys, and this setting powder doesn’t disappoint.

In a translucent tone, it works for any skin shade while combatting shine and excess oil in an instant. It also works to make your make-up more waterproof – although, think more slight drizzle protection over full-on shower – and has an SPF 10, but please don’t rely on this over sunscreen.

Inside is a mirror for easy application, and a simple sweep under the eyes was enough to brighten and boost the radiance. We did have to apply it a little more often than some of our other options, but for the price, we didn’t mind this too much.

  1. £4 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

KVD beauty lock-it finishing powder

best setting powder for oily skin
  • Best: Setting powder for on-the-go
  • Type: 8g
  • Shade tested: Light
  • Shade range: Five

If you’re the kind of person who pops their make-up on during their morning commute, we like your style. But finding products that can work with one hand while balancing the rest on your lap, often next to someone snoring on your shoulder, isn’t always the easiest. So this KVD pick couldn’t be more perfect for you.

With a mirrored lid, small velvet powder puff and sleek snap-shut case, it’s the perfect on-the-go companion. Being a pressed powder, it stamps our shine in seconds and feels silky smooth to touch too.

  1. £21 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Chanel poudre universelle libre

  • Best: Luxury setting powder
  • Type: Loose
  • Size: 30g
  • Shade tested: 20
  • Shade range: Eight

Chanel make-up is a must-have for luxury lovers. After all, how else can you get your hands on the House for under £50? And this setting powder is one of our favourite finds.

To start off with, it’s on the larger side of all of our options, meaning you get a lot of bang for your buck. And there’s even a Chanel logo velvet powder puff inside that only ups the boujee-ness of the product. Incredibly lightweight, a little goes a long way, and it also has a subtle floral fragrance that our tester fell in love with. Application was easy with the included puff, and a full face of make-up lasted longer, looked fresher and had an airbrush-like finish. Need we say more?

  1. £46 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Maybelline fit me matte and poreless oil control setting powder

best setting powder for oily skin
  • Best: Setting powder for added coverage
  • Type: Pressed
  • Size: 9g
  • Shade tested : Porcelain
  • Shade range : 11

For those who want to add more coverage without getting cakey, this setting powder is the one you should pick. With a highly pigmented formula, it’s lightweight yet leaves a trace of colour that conceals blemishes, redness and dark circles. Making a matte face is the aim of the game, so expect shine to disappear and the appearance of oil to be erased. Inside the square-shaped box is a mirror and make-up sponge for easy application, which our tester really appreciated.

  1. £6 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Fenty Beauty invisimatte instant setting and blotting powder

best setting powder for oily skin
  • Best: Setting powder for oily skin
  • Type: Pressed
  • Size: 8.5g
  • Shade tested : Only one shade
  • Shade range : One

This is possibly the most famous setting powder of all time. Anyone who watched Rihanna’s Superbowl performance may recognise it from her sassy touch-up moment on stage, and it certainly has star potential.

Working as an invisible pressed powder, which is rather rare, it instantly blots out shine on all areas of the face without any kind of cakey finish, giving a flawless look to the face from all angles. Included is a sponge for easy application, which our tester loved, and sodium hyaluronate has been included to do away with any drying. We’re marking it as a must-have for those looking to stamp out shine, reduce the appearance of pores and combat any excess oil.

Back to top

Glossier wowder

best setting powder for oily skin
  • Best: Lightweight setting powder
  • Type: Loose
  • Size: 7.2g
  • Shade tested: G8-G10
  • Shade range : Five

Coming in at just 7.2g, this Glossier option is the perfect pick for those who like little products that can be taken on the go. The smaller proportions actually make it easier to apply the powder to an area of the puff or brush rather than coating the whole thing, meaning less spillage and more precise painting. It instantly mattifies the face, stealing away shine yet without a cakey, crumbly finish and sets make-up in place for a full day of no faffing.

  1. £18 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Soap & Glory one heck of a blot powder

best setting powder for oily skin
  • Best: Translucent setting powder
  • Type: Pressed
  • Size: 9kg
  • Shade tested: Translucent
  • Shade range: One

Translucent powders can be trusted to work over any make-up look on any skin tone, making them one of the most versatile beauty products for any occasion. Coming with a mirrored lid and velvet powder puff, this one again was easy to apply and just great for on-the-go application.

Being from Soap and Glory, it has the brand’s tongue-in-cheek style packaging, which our tester just loved, and this was even taken to the inside with “powder” pressed into the product. The powder itself instantly mattified the face with minimal effort and delivered results without leaving a trace of residue.

  1. £13 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Elf halo glow setting powder

best setting powder for oily skin
  • Best: Setting powder for travelling
  • Type: Loose
  • Size: 6.8g
  • Shade tested: Light
  • Shades available : Three

The worst thing about a loose setting powder is if you open it at the wrong angle, it can go everywhere. So this clever contraption from Elf expertly covers up one side at all times, meaning no more pulling out too much powder onto your puff or dropping it all over the floor – genius.

Lightweight and silky, it feels a little like talcum powder (in a good way) and instantly soaks up any oil on the face for a full matte finish. It feels weightless when on, so long as you don’t apply too much, and leaves the face with an airbrushed finish. What more could we ask for?

Back to top

The verdict: Setting powders

Finding the right setting powder can be a fine art. Whether you want to brighten your face, lighten up your under-eye, set your make-up, bake your contour or stamp out shine, finding the right one will help you do all of these things with ease.

Our go-to is Huda Beauty, as the brand is famous for the snatched face look only its easy bake powder can create, and we don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the result. For people after a pressed powder, the Fenty Beauty one is famous for a reason, and if it’s good enough for Rihanna, it’s good enough for us. And if you’re after a bargain beauty buy, then Catrice has come to the rescue, coming in at under a fiver.

For more complexion boosting buys, read our best tinted moisturisers for a natural, glowy look

Voucher Codes

TUI Discount Code
£100 off all bookings over £1000 - TUI discount code
ASOS Discount Code
20% off everything with this ASOS app discount code
Travelodge Discount Code
5% off all bookings with this Travelodge discount code
The Body Shop Discount Code
20% off everything with The Body Shop discount code
The Perfume Shop Discount Code
15% of all orders with The Perfume Shop birthday discount
Cult Beauty Discount Code
Up to 20% off all orders over £40 - Cult Beauty discount code

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in