Unlike a good blush or incredible lipstick, the best setting powder isn’t made to be a look—which is why it’s an easy step to skip when you’re pressed for time or money. It’s got a bad reputation of making your face look dry and cakey, which certainly doesn’t help either.
So let’s reframe it for you: Think of setting powder as a tool (and a highly underrated one at that) that can vastly extend the life of your makeup, like the way a topcoat does for your manicure. A few dabs can lock your makeup in place, keep shine to a minimum, and soak up sweat and oil—qualities that are undeniably useful when the weather’s hellishly humid or wet. It can be just as reliable during the winter too. The latest formulations include hydrating and brightening ingredients like vitamins C and E to give your skin a smooth Instagram-filtered finish, instead of one that’s rough and wind-chapped.
From Cover FX’s talc-free formula—perfect for those with sensitive skin—to Ilia’s natural loose powder, here Glamour editors tested the top tinted and translucent options in order to share which stood above the rest.
Best Setting Powder Overall: Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder
Talk to any makeup artist, and you’ll likely find this setting powder in their kit. That’s because one fine layer of this silky, hydrating formula rivals Instagram’s Subtle filter (you know, the one every influencer uses). The secret? The formula is infused with light-refracting diamond powder, which gives your skin a glisteny (but not sparkly) blurred finish. I’ve seen artists use it on a range of skin tones and never has it left a white cast. Skeptical? Read all its five-star reviews. This powder is a winner. —Lindsay Schallon, senior beauty editor
Best Drugstore Setting Powder: Maybelline Fit Me! Loose Finishing Powder
I’ve got super oily—but dehydrated—skin, so I’m constantly dealing with a complexion that somehow looks greasy and dry at the same time. This is the only drugstore powder that manages to put both issues to rest. I’ve found the trick is to press it in with a makeup puff (instead of swirling it on with a brush), which leaves behind a blurred, your-skin-but-better finish that looks flawless both in real life and photos. —L.S.
I love a flawless no-makeup makeup look, and stan by any and all products that help me get a little closer to that. The translucent color works well on my fair skin, and since I don’t use foundation, I’ve been applying it over my concealer for a little extra sparkle. It sure is pricey, but if luxe beauty is your vice, then it’s totally worth it. —Talia Abbas, commerce writer
Best Translucent Setting Powder: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
I’ve tried a lot of loose powders before, and they all either make my skin look blotchy, or go on white and make me look like a ghost. This does neither! It applies flawlessly and keeps my oily pores at bay, but not to the point that my skin produces more oil. Also, Jackie Aina loves it. In my opinion, there is no better endorsement than that. —Khaliha Hawkins, producer
Best Loose Setting Powder: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Setting Powder
I’ve used setting powder only a handful of times before, since it always seemed like an extra step I could easily do without. However, the Fenty Pro Filt’r Setting Powder went above and beyond. True to form, the brand came through with a wide range of skin tones to choose from (eight is a lot for this kind of product—some brands offer just two), so it blended well with my medium-tan skin and yellow undertone. Rihanna knows a thing or two about being camera ready, and it’s obvious with this product, because the pore-blurring, mattifying effect would be worthy of digital camera days of the early aughts, or even the brightest of Lumee Lights. —Erin Parker, commerce writer
Best Pressed Setting Powder: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Pressed Powder
For someone who just started dabbling with setting powders, I really enjoyed this one from Neutrogena. The shade range isn’t as robust as some other brands’, but it’s still a great starter product since the pressed powder makes it easy to control the amount you apply—especially for smaller coverage areas like under your eyes. Plus, for someone who has dry skin, it’s formulated with hydrating and brightening antioxidants like vitamin B5 and vitamins C and E. —T.A.
Best Setting Powder for Dry Skin: Tarte Shape Tape Setting Powder
My skin is Mojave Desert–dry, so setting powders aren’t something I typically gravitate toward (I’m more of a desperate-for-dewy kind of person), but Tarte’s Shape Tape Setting Powder has officially changed my makeup routine. It blurs any blemishes and sets my makeup without gathering in the cracks in my (and I can’t stress this enough) dry skin. Plus the little powder puff that it comes with is so soft and plush it’s worth the price of admission alone. —Shanna Shipin, commerce editor
Best Setting Powder for Acne-Prone Skin: Nars Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder
I have combination skin, so it’s tricky to find a powder that can mattify any shine I may be dealing with without it clinging to dry patches. Most mattifying powders are way too cakey, and more luminous ones make me look too slick. Then I came across this Nars powder. It’s hefty enough to soak up any lurking oil, yet so finely milled that it takes a lot to overdo it and look powdery. Although it’s described as light-reflecting, there’s no visible shimmer—it just has a natural finish that makes my skin look airbrushed, which is always the goal. —Isabella Cacciatore, beauty associate
Best Setting Powder for Oily Skin: Marc Jacobs Beauty Finish-Line Perfecting Coconut Setting Powder
This is the powder to grab in summer, when the heat is at its most unbearable, or before/after a workout. It’s so lightweight—and, real talk, so good at soaking up your sweat—that you’ll forget you’re even wearing makeup. —Anna Moeslein, senior editor
Best Setting Powder for Sensitive Skin: Cover FX Perfect Setting Powder
I swear by the Cover Fx Power Play foundation and concealer, so trying the powder was a no-brainer. Unlike the foundation and concealer, the powder doesn’t have a large range of shades, so choosing between the light and dark was very time consuming. The Translucent light shade was perfect and didn’t leave a white cast on my face. It blended in well and didn’t let the oils in my skin shine through. —K.H.
Best Vegan Setting Powder: Ilia Soft Focus Finishing Powder
We all want a loose powder that will survive the humidity of the New York City subway system, right? Well, how about a powder that can combat sweat at the NYC Pride Parade? Yes, I’m serious. After testing this, I’ve concluded that either my skin is magic or this product is (and I’m pretty sure it’s the latter). Lightweight and cute, it’s dependable for any occasion. —E.P.
Best Setting Powder for Combination Skin: Milk Makeup Blur + Set Matte Loose Setting Powder
This setting powder is seriously a dream. Not only does it eliminate oil and shine, but the lightweight formula keeps my makeup looking fresh all day. It lies perfectly over my concealer and doesn’t make my skin look dry or chalky. —E.P.
Best Lightweight Setting Powder: Lawless Seal The Deal Loose Setting Powder
I’ve gone through a lot of loose powders over the years, some good, some bad. When I learned that Lawless Beauty was launching one with no talc, I knew I had to try it out. I’ve been using this for a couple weeks, and my skin is noticeably different. The best thing is that as soon as I started to use it, all my breakouts disappeared. I use the Brightening Translucent shade to set and bake my foundation, then dust on the Golden Translucent to contour. I really don’t think I’ll ever use another powder. Lawless uses mica, which is not only healthier than talc, but is the secret to making this powder so lightweight that it doesn’t cake onto your skin. —Azadeh Valanejad, contributor
Best Antiaging Setting Powder: Onomie AHA Perfecting Setting Powder
I’ve fallen in love, and the object of my affection is this powder. The featherlight formula goes onto my skin seamlessly, leaves me looking fresh and rejuvenated, and doesn’t look even remotely mask-like. What’s more: It left my face feeling baby smooth. That’s probably thanks to all of its good-for-you ingredients, like skin-softening lactic acid and collagen-boosting peptides. Oh, and let’s not forget its inclusion of vitamin C, which helps block free radicals. Into it. —Jennifer Lance, weekend writer
Kate Middleton has a special glow. Everything from her fashion choices to her accessories and smooth, clear skin always seem on point thanks, in part, to her royal team of stylists and makeup artists. But while we don’t have beauty wizards on speed dial like the Duchess likely does, we may know one important secret of her skincare routine: rosehip oil.
An anonymous source once told US Weekly that Kate swears by a few drops of Trilogy’s rosehip oil to brighten up her face and help keep wrinkles at bay. “Kate continues to use rosehip oil in her daily skincare regimen,” the source told the outlet. “She loves the effect is has on her skin. [Her mother] Carole [Middleton] is also a fan.”
Now ready for the best part? Kate’s rumored rosehip oil brand of choice, Trilogy, happens to be cheaper than usual. While Kate herself hasn’t confirmed her use of rosehip oil, the product has long been regarded as a skincare staple by many, including Miranda Kerr. Experts say that rosehip oil is not only moisturizing, but can also be used to treat signs of aging and fade scars thanks to its anti-inflammatory fatty acids and vitamins A and C.
“Together these help undo and prevent oxidative damage and help the skin re-build collagen,” says Tsippora Shainhouse, M.D., FAAD, clinical instructor at the University of Southern California, previously told Good Housekeeping. “It can help fade skin hyperpigmentation and potentially minimize the appearance of fine lines and even stretch marks.”
Of course, like some beauty treatments, it may not work for everyone. But if you’re ready to give it a try, there’s really no better time than right now when the bottle is only $16. But hurry, Trilogy is running out of their stock quickly!
Whether you need it to cover a blemish, lift dark under-eye circles, or simply even out skin tone, finding the best concealer for you and your skin can be game-changing. In fact, now that fresh, luminous skin is wholly in (and we’re all about cutting down on time spent in front of the mirror), concealer is the one product we all really need to get right. Many make-up artists actually recommend forgoing foundation in favour of a good concealer applied in all the right places: on reddened areas, spots, hyperpigmentation, and anywhere that needs brightening.
Of course, different occasions (not to mention skin types) call for different concealers, and it can be a minefield finding the right one for the job. Those who want to cover blemishes might look for a kind-to-skin concealer which is formulated with ingredients like salicylic acid to unclog pores, while mature skins should look for a concealer with a subtle, sheer coverage that won’t settle into fine lines, but instead will bring the glow. What everybody wants – whatever their skin type – is a flexible, elastic concealer that melts seamlessly into skin, delivering smooth, even coverage.
Formulations have come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years – you will be hard-pressed to find anything that imparts a cakey effect now. But if it does, it might be down to the way you’re applying it. Many make-up artists recommend applying concealer with your fingers, since the warmth from your skin helps melt the product into skin for an imperceptible finish – although make sure you do so with clean hands. For those who prefer a brush, look to Artis – its brushes are the best for buffing product into skin.
Once you have found the best concealer for you, your skin will thank you. For all of your texture, finish and coverage requirements, here is British Vogue’s edit of the best concealers to buy now – from Tom Ford’s Emotionproof Concealer (great for weddings), to MAC’s Studio Fix Conceal & Correct Palette.
Best For Long Wear: Tom Ford Emotionproof Concealer
We all have those occasions when we know tears will roll. That’s when you need Tom Ford’s Emotionproof concealer – it will stay put through those trying moments.
Best For Long Wear: Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Concealer
Designed to diffuse light for a soft-focus appearance, Laura Mercier’s Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Concealer works wonders on dark circles, but remains more or less undetectable on the skin. Shades are divided into cool, warm and neutral undertones, making it easier than ever to find your perfect match.
Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Concealer, £24, available at CultBeauty.com.
Best For Long Wear: Yves Saint Laurent All Hours Concealer
True to its name, this liquid concealer lasts for up to 16 hours and won’t budge no matter how much humidity you are hit with.
Best For Long Wear: BareMinerals BareSkin Stay-In-Place Liquid Concealer
For something that lasts but is still lightweight, look to this BareMinerals concealer, which has numerous skincare benefits, too.
BareMinerals BareSkin Stay-In-Place Liquid Concealer, £24, available at Feelunique.com.
Best For Long Wear: IL MAKIAGE Fck I’m Flawless Concealer
For a vast spectrum of shades that is sorted by skin tone and undertone, to make finding your perfect shade easier, this longwear concealer is the ultimate for covering all manner of skin concerns, from blemishes to under-eye circles. A must-try.
IL MAKIAGE F*ck I’m Flawless Concealer, £24, available at IlMakiage.com.
Best High Street Concealer: L’Oréal Paris True Match Eye Cream In A Concealer
The ultimate hybrid product, this concealer is also an eye cream that is packed with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and brighten the delicate skin around the eyes. It’s also less than £10.
L’Oréal Paris True Match Eye Cream In A Concealer, £9.99, available at Lookfantastic.com.
Best High Street Concealer: Benefit Boi-Ing Industrial Strength Concealer
Creamy and soft, this concealer will disguise anything you’ve got – and will stay put for hours.
Best High Street Concealer: Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation And Concealer
If you like to keep the products in your make-up bag to a minimum, look no further than Clinique’s dual foundation and concealer, which offers full coverage and a flawless finish.
Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation And Concealer, £28.50, available at Selfridges.com.
Best For Full Coverage: BECCA Ultimate Coverage Longwear Concealer
Known for products that make skin glow, Becca’s longwear concealer is no exception: it utilises light pigments to blur fine lines, pores and uneven texture while imparting a satin finish, which makes skin look fresh and radiant.
BECCA Ultimate Coverage Longwear Concealer, £21, available at SpaceNK.com.
Best For Full Coverage: Marc Jacobs Beauty Accomplice Concealer & Touch-Up Stick
For those who like a full-coverage concealer that isn’t cakey, look no further than Marc Jacobs’s offering, which is formulated with snow mushroom to help hydrate as it conceals.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Accomplice Concealer & Touch-Up Stick, £24, available at HarveyNichols.com.
Best For Full Coverage: Uoma Beauty Stay Woke Luminous Brightening Concealer
A brilliant shade range for all undertones, plus fun packaging, make for a must-buy concealer that, importantly, is also small enough to fit inside any purse or clutch bag you own.
Uoma Beauty Stay Woke Luminous Brightening Concealer, £21, available at Selfridges.com.
Best For Full Coverage: Estée Lauder Double Wear Instant Fix Concealer
Double Wear foundation is a best-seller for a reason, so if you’re a fan of the classic Estée Lauder foundation, you’ll love this full-coverage finish concealer. The dual-ended wand has one side that dips into a hydrating base to prep the area, while the other gives instant brightness and coverage.
Best For Under-Eyes: Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
Nars’s award-winning concealers are truly amazing. This particular one is popular for its medium to buildable coverage, which allows for correction with a more natural and dewy finish – it works perfectly on fine lines under the eyes.
Best For Under-Eyes: Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Concealer
Using clever adaptable pigments, this fluid concealer is as good on grey, sallow skin as it is on red, raised skin. The angled doe-foot applicator allows you to apply small amounts in delicate areas (like under the eyes), or sketch a little more broadly across larger areas if needed.
Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Concealer, £22.50, available at Boots.com.
Best For Under-Eyes: Erborian BB Eye Touche Parfaite
With purslane, a powerful antioxidant that is also anti-inflammatory, this concealer is as good at being an eye cream as it is obscuring under-eye bags.
Erborian BB Eye Touche Parfaite, £34, available at SpaceNK.com.
Best For Under-Eyes: Sarah Chapman Eye Insurance SPF 30 Protecting Eye Tint
If it’s a light-reflecting glow you want under your eyes, rather than anything too full on, Sarah Chapman’s new eye tint is your guy. This light-as-air formula is primed to make you look more awake, and simultaneously firms, brightens and protects from UV damage, thanks to an SPF of 30.
Best For Mature Skin: Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Concealer
If you’re keen to treat your skin to some nourishment while disguising blemishes, look to Bobbi Brown’s hybrid serum concealer; expect a fresh, flawless finish and hydration thanks to mushroom, Indian tree root and bamboo grass extract within the formula.
Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Concealer, £30, available at Selfridges.com.
Best For Mature Skin: Kevyn Aucoin The Etherealist Super Natural Concealer
Imparting a bright finish, this concealer feels like satin and contains brightening pearls to help lift areas of darkness or uneven skin tone. It’s particularly brilliant for underneath the eyes.
Kevyn Aucoin The Etherealist Super Natural Concealer, £24, available at SpaceNK.com.
Best All-Rounder: MAC Studio Fix Conceal & Correct Palette
Can’t find the exact concealer shade for you? One of MAC’s six-part palettes will have you covered in both winter and summer as your skin tone changes – you can also layer or blend for the ultimate colour match.
MAC Studio Fix Conceal & Correct Palette, £30, available at Selfridges.com.
Best All-Rounder: Glossier Stretch Concealer
Elastic micro-waxes mean that Glossier’s Stretch Concealer never settles into fine lines, whilst the oil-packed formula gives it a dewy finish. Perfect for subtle, natural-looking coverage.
The Retoucher does exactly what it says on the tin. Perfect for concealing blemishes and imperfections, its lipo-siliconic compound provides a traceless, plaster-like cover which blends seamlessly into the skin.
Best All Rounder: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Concealer
If you’ve tried Giorgio Armani’s cult Luminous Silk foundation, you’ll know how brilliant it is at offering just the right amount of coverage and the ultimate radiant finish. The concealer is just as good, and blends seamlessly into skin.
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Concealer, £34.50, available at Selfridges.com.
Heat, humidity and sweat; three of make-up’s biggest enemies. Or so you might think. It doesn’t have to be that way, since nifty products and clever application techniques can help your make-up stay put through thick and thin – and that’s with a mask on, too. Here find five make-up artist-approved tips to harness when it’s hot.
Prep the skin
How you tend to your skin before you apply make-up is key to enhancing the longevity of base formulas. “Cleanse and then apply a good serum and moisturiser,” says make-up artist Cher Webb. “Then use a primer. It makes a huge difference and will keep your base on for longer.” Look to lightweight, antioxidant-rich moisturisers like QMS Medicosmetics Epigen Pollution Defence Day Cream, a good summer option, then ensure you apply an SPF, like Beauty Pie’s Featherlight SPF 50. As for primer, look no further than Elemis’s new Superfood Glow Priming Moisturiser, which imparts a radiant sheen over skin while also keeping subsequent base products in place.
Whether you use a spray or a powder, setting your make-up is key. “The Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray has been one of my make-up kit essentials for so many years now, as it sets and holds make-up in place for up to 16 hours,” says Webb. “It prevents make-up melting with its built-in temperature control formula, and I also spray it on top my brushes before make-up application for added longevity.” Mists are a great option during summer (we also love Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray), since they also hydrate and refresh the face – needed when temperatures are sky high – but powders are particularly good for those with oily skin. Look for finely-milled, translucent formulas, like Morphe’s Bake And Set Powder.
Consistency is key
To heat-proof your make-up look, switch creamy consistencies for powder textures instead. “In the heat, I would recommend making the most of your eye make-up, and add a matte bronzer and powder blush as these will last the duration,” advises Webb. “Cream and gel textures may move slightly over time, so go for matte products.” You’ll love getting Gucci Beauté’s Éclat Soleil Bronzing Powder out of your bag, such is its beautiful packaging and flattering matte bronze, while Chanel’s Joues Contraste Powder Blush comes in an array of flattering hues, ideal for sun-flushed skin.