Despite the challenges brought on by the ongoing pandemic, Lawless Beauty had a milestone year in 2021, with major product launches, new hires and distribution expansions that have brought on record growth.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #75 series on my blog.
Brand founder Annie Lawless is continuing that momentum into the new year, starting with the brand’s second skin care-oriented launch, the Forget the Filler Overnight Lip Plumping Mask, which is available now for $21.
The lip mask is the latest product extension from the Forget the Filler franchise, which debuted last January with the Plumping Lip Gloss that’s blended with an ingredient called Maxi-Lip. In clinical trials, the ingredient is said to increase the lip’s volume by 40 percent and hydration by 60 percent. Lawless explained that the product instantly became the brand’s hero product, outperforming sales projections by 1,000 percent and becoming one of the top three best-selling lip glosses at Sephora.
“Even if you put your [face] mask on and you can’t see your gloss or it rubs onto your mask, that ingredient being on your lips is the goal,” Lawless said about the product’s popularity during the pandemic. “Over time it does really improve and enhance your own lip appearance and lip volume.”
Maxi-Lip is also the key ingredient in the new overnight lip mask, with the product using 50 percent more of the ingredient than the lip gloss.
Lawless explained that running the clean beauty brand through the pandemic has made her reassess what kinds of products she wants the brand to offer and what kinds of benefits she and her customers value.
“What COVID-19 has done is it’s made me think way more about the way makeup looks, but what it’s doing for me when it’s on,” she said. “I don’t necessarily need to be wearing makeup all the time anymore. I’m not going to be seeing people most days, which I hate to admit, but that’s the truth, so if I’m going to put makeup on to feel great, is it doing something for me? Is it good for my skin? Is it going to enhance my collagen production?”
The lip gloss’ success coupled with other big product launches led to a record year for Lawless Beauty, with sales in the high triple digits at Sephora and its own website. Lawless Beauty is also one of the fastest-growing brands at Sephora and is outpacing Sephora’s makeup growth, according to Lawless Beauty.
Lawless Beauty also expanded to QVC last June, which has introduced a new set of customers to the brand. The brand outpaced sales projections on QVC in its first year by 22 percent.
“I’ve had such a great time connecting with the audience and people that have never accessed the brand or tried us, but then saw it because they’re regular QVC watchers who buy most of their beauty on QVC,” Lawless explained. “We’re able to access a different audience and a different geographic location and see what they respond to because some of the products that work really well at QVC work OK for us at Sephora and vice versa. It’s just been great to learn about a new customer.”
For Lawless, the connection with customers has always been an important factor in how she operates the brand and her own social media platform. Although she has over 200,000 Instagram followers, Lawless doesn’t consider herself a social media influencer, but rather uses her platform to give an inside look at her daily life as a mother and brand founder and show behind-the-scenes moments from Lawless Beauty.
“I know the term influencer gets thrown around all the time, but I’m definitely not an influencer in the sense that I don’t blog for my job and I don’t do brand partnerships,” she said. “[Lawless Beauty] can really do all of the technically digital savvy things where I can just post content that you can’t get. You can go to Sephora to the thumbnail and see a model applying the gloss, but I can show you how it looks on me this morning. I think that’s the nice thing about having my own separate channel versus having this big influencer brand community. I don’t have any pressure on my account and I can just post whatever, whenever. It just gives people other ways to see the products in a more real-time everyday way.”
Everything to know about PFAS in makeup, and how to tell if your routine has them.
I know exactly where I was when Urban Decay’s original Naked palette launched… In those pre-Instagram days, I don’t remember how I knew it had dropped, but with the fervor of someone who took any chance to detour into Sephora, I knew it would complete me. It was my go-to for years, but the name “Urban Decay” now takes on an unpleasant irony — because Teflon, listed under the name “PTFE,” is on the label. And that’s bad news for everyone.
As a study published by researchers at the University of Notre Dame in mid-June found, the problem extends far beyond one palette. After testing more than 200 cosmetics, including concealers, foundations, eye and eyebrow products and various lip products, scientists found that 52 percent of all the cosmetics they tested contained high levels of fluorine, which is an indicator of PFAS — per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — in the products.
According to the EPA, the group of man-made chemicals are “very persistent in the environment and in the human body, meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time.” That explains why they’re used in cosmetics, says Notre Dame study lead Graham Peaslee, despite only a fraction of the tested products listing a perfluorinated chemical on the label.
“They’re used basically to impart a water-resistance or a long-lasting effect, and that’s why we know that some of it’s intentional. If you look at regular mascara and you look at waterproof mascara, guess which ones have all the fluorine in it? It’s the waterproof ones,” Peaslee says. To that point, 47 percent of all the mascaras they tested had PFAS in them, compared to 82 percent of waterproof ones. It was a similar story with liquid lipstick (sob), where 62 percent of them had PFAS, versus 55 percent of all lip products tested.
As Peaslee notes, previous studies have found that the average lipstick wearer eats anywhere from 4 to 7 pounds of lipstick in a lifetime. That’s worrisome, because the CDC says that exposure to high levels of some PFAS can lead to an increased risk of kidney and testicular cancers, changes in liver enzymes, decreased infant birth weights, increased risk of high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, increased cholesterol, and a decreased vaccine response in children.
The risks continue, says Rainer Lohmann, director of the University of Rhode Island’s Superfund Research Center on the Sources, Transport, Exposure and Effects of PFAS (STEEP). “Numerous studies indicate a link to a weakened immune system, and adverse effects on metabolism, insulin resistance, [and] obesity,” Lohmann told InStyle via email. Which is especially bad news, considering we’re still in the midst of a global respiratory pandemic — and, as a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study found, higher exposure to some PFAS that accumulate in the lungs is associated with more severe COVID-19 cases.
Elsie M. Sunderland, a Harvard professor of environmental science and engineering in the department of environmental health, says that outside of the ingestion pathway, how well PFAS penetrate the skin isn’t well understood. Lohmann says that drinking water contaminated by PFAS or inhaling them is much worse than having Teflon particles in your eyeshadow, but per Peaslee, that doesn’t absolve manufacturers using PFAS in cosmetics. Because once a mascara with the ingredients goes into a landfill, for instance, the contents will wash out and enter the drinking water supply.
Inhalation is also a concern when it comes to aerosol sprays from brands like Living Proof, which uses a perfluorinated ingredient, OFPMA, in a majority of its products. While the brand says “OFPMA is thoroughly researched and regulators around the world confirm that it is safe to use — for you and for the environment,” Peaslee is less certain.
“Are they all toxic? Pretty much. Every one we’ve tested has been toxic, or bioaccumulative and persistent at least,” he says. “So we maintain a pretty strong line that we’ve never met a good PFAS yet.” Lohmann concurs: “Even compounds like OFPMA can cause problems once released. OFPMA will break down to smaller, very long-lived PFAS that will persist in the environment for hundreds of years.”
“There is no good reason to keep using it. Once problems are discovered later, it is almost impossible, and very costly, to remove OFPMA’s breakdown products from the environment and drinking water.” Which brings us to a point that every expert I spoke with highlighted: Wherever possible, we should be cutting out these “forever chemicals,” and as convenient as it is to not have to reapply lipstick or long-lasting foundation, PFAS aren’t essential in cosmetics — and certainly not worth the risk.
So how do you shop for cosmetics that don’t have PFAS in them when so many are flying under the radar? Peaslee says if it has “remarkable properties of being long-lasting or waterproof, those are the ones that most likely contain PFAS.” If you’re not sure, he recommends a simple test: Paint a piece of paper with a swatch of your lipstick or mascara, put a drop of water on it, and see if it’s there the next morning. If it is, there’s PFAS; if the water soaks into the paper within seconds, there’s not.
Sound complicated? Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the No PFAS in Cosmetics Act in June, although it’s unclear when the act will pass or take effect. Until then, Peaslee suggests brands place a “PFAS-free” designation on their labels — and while that’s yet to come, brands like ItCosmetics have already taken steps to remove PFAS from popular products (look for ingredients “perfluorohexane,” “perfluorodecalin,” and “pentafluoropropane” to know if you have the old formulas).
In the meantime, the brands below confirm that they’re PFAS-free, so you can shop knowing you aren’t putting your face up close and personal with a toxic chemical.
As protective face coverings are still very much a part of our day-to-day life, the eyes will continue to be the focal point of our makeup looks. Whether you prefer a sharp cat eye or a fun graphic look, CoverGirl’s Perfect Point Plus Liquid Liner is as bold as it gets. Designed with an easy-gliding felt tip for smooth, quick-drying application that lasts up to 12 hours, it comes in three shades, Black Onyx (true black), Charcoal (slate gray), and Espresso (rich brown) to pair with every look imaginable.
Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish Ultra Glow Highlighter
Not only is the one-and-only Pat McGrath gracing the February Allure cover, but she’s also been busy behind the scenes bringing her latest Divine Rose II collection to life. Although every item, including the runway-previewed Mothership VIII Eyeshadow Palette, is sure to leave you breathless, I simply can’t wait to drench my skin in the ethereally rosy-golden Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish: Ultra Glow Highlighter in Divine Rose. This gel-meets-powder illuminator practically makes your cheekbones visible from outer space — and at the very least, spices up your Zoom dates.
BioBlender by EcoTools 100% Biodegradable Makeup Sponge
After years of research and development (alongside John Nanos, who holds a Ph.D. in organic polymer chemistry), the BioBlender by EcoTools 100% Biodegradable Makeup Sponge is finally available to the masses. Made out of just five vegan ingredients and packaged in 100 percent plantable paper, this eco-friendly beauty tool degrades within four months in a home compost setup, compared to regular makeup sponges that waste away in a landfill for over — wait for it — 50 years. It’s even embedded with a “plant me” message to remind you to do your part.
Originally launched in 2013, Giorgio Armani Beauty has finally launched a revamped Sí Intense Eau de Parfum that essentially feels and looks like a warm hug. Just look at that inviting, honey-like hue. Blackcurrant nectar, Isparta rose, and patchouli ramp up to the bottle’s most intense note, vanilla, making this the perfect cozy winter (or spring) scent.
If you prefer to cocktail your brow routine with different formulas, Kevyn Aucoin’s True Feather Brow Marker Gel Duo was made for you. Infused with mung bean and red clover extract to promote fuller-looking brows, the tinted marker is equipped with an ultra-fine brush tip to create precise, realistic-looking hairs and fill in sparse areas. On the flip side, an invisible gel fluffs up your filled-in (or naked) brows and provides flexible hold. Choose from four different shades: Ash Blonde, Warm Brunette, Brunette, and Dark Brunette.
Colourpop xAnimal Crossing: New Horizons Collection
Save up your bells because you’ll want to spend all of them on Colourpop’s hyped-up Animal Crossing: New Horizons Collection. Inspired by iconic characters, such as Tom Nook, Isabelle, and the Able Sisters, this latest beauty-and-video-game crossover is stacked with pink-, green-, brown-, and purple-themed eye shadow palettes in a variety of matte, matte sparkle, metallic, and pressed glitter finishes. If you’re looking for unadulterated glitz, you can choose between Balloon Pop Super Shock Shadow (a metallic pink-silver single eye shadow) and Bellionaire Glitterally Obsessed (a gold, self-sticking glitter gel) — or frankly, pick up both.
Rounding out the launch are two baby-pink and coral powder blushes reminiscent of the cosmo flowers and wildflowers found on the island. And whether you lean towards pink, coral, or caramel tones, you’re bound to find a fruit-tree-inspired Mini Lip Tint Duo that fits your mood to a T.
$7 to 12 or $125 for the full collection (Shop Now)
Glow Recipe Blueberry Lip Pop
Glow Recipe is no stranger to reformulating its products, and the Lip Pop is the latest to undergo an upgrade of its own. Now 35 percent bigger in size (3.1 grams to 4.2 grams, to get hyper-specific) and available in a permanent blueberry-infused shade, you don’t have to worry about ordering refills as frequently. This three-in-one wonder gently exfoliates, hydrates, and adds a gorgeous berry-pink tint to your lips. Go forth, swipe, and reap the multitiered benefits.
Velour Beauty Vegan Luxe Lashes is the brand’s biggest step towards going 100 percent mink-free in 2021. Swipe on a layer of adhesive glue or the Best of Beauty-winning Lash & Go Eyeliner and plop on any of the 13 new styles, like Run The World for a gradient lengthening effect or the spike-patterned She-E-O for extra drama. Just like that, you’re the proud owner of soft, fluttery lashes.
Patrick Starrr’s latest product, the One/Size Secure the Blur Makeup Magnet Primer, creates a mattified base that’ll grip onto your foundation for all-day hold. A powerful trio of niacinamide, witch hazel, and glycerin minimizes the appearance of large pores, evens skin tone, and controls shine, so all you’re in charge of is showing off your flawless beat.
As the newest addition to the faux freckle family (which also includes Freck OG and Freck XL), Freck Noir was specifically created to complement mid-to-dark skin tones. Simply stamp on a small cluster of dots, and then, quickly tap your fingers on the not-yet-dry pigment to create subtle copies wherever you’d like on your face. If you’ve been in the market for a product that’ll change up your look with minimal effort, this is it.
Bésame Cosmetics The DisneyMary Poppins Collection
Although your makeup bag might not be magically bottomless, there’s definitely room for Bésame Cosmetics’ The Disney Mary Poppins Collection. Based on Mary’s signature floral design and actual lip and cheek colors used in the beloved films, the Practically Perfect Powder, Poppins Red Lipstick (rich red), and Mary’s Cream’s Rouge (dark pink rouge with a hint of coral) might just make you break out in song.
Formulated with a silk-like ester for a one-and-done kind of glide (no tugging involved), Lawless’s Forget The Filler Definer Liner checks off all of the boxes eco-conscious beauty lovers might have. It’s certified “Clean at Sephora,” sustainably sourced — it’s made out of FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) wood — and vegan. You’ll find your perfect my-lips-but-better shade in Burnish (mid-tone nude with a hint of red), Coco (cool-toned deep brown), Honey Rose (pinkish-mauve), or Pink Sand (universal neutral pink).
As many of us become more conscious of what we’re putting in our bodies and what we’re putting our bodies through, we’re also becoming more aware of what we’re putting on our bodies. While the performance of natural makeup used to pale in comparison to products from our favorite makeup counters, there are many natural makeup brands creating products that are richly pigmented, apply beautifully, and wear as well as their more synthetic competitors. You may already be using some of them and don’t even know they’re all-natural.
But before I get into industry favourites, let’s get one thing straight: “Natural” doesn’t automatically mean a product is better or safer for you, as the FDA has nebulous criteria on just what constitutes a natural product (“natural” isn’t regulated for cosmetics, so it can be used purely as a marketing term). “There is no real definition of ‘natural’ in the U.S. beauty industry,” says cosmetic chemist Ginger King. “As long as the bulk of your material is natural, you can say ‘natural-based.’ There is no regulation. The true naturals have seals like COSMOS Natural or Ecocert — European organizations that allow up to 5 percent synthetics.”
The FDA does not have a definition for the term “organic,” either, as it is not defined by either the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, which they use as guidelines. “‘Organic’ usually means USDA-certified food grades. There are limited numbers of products you can make to be classified as organic green,” King says.
“‘Clean beauty’ is a much better term for the consumer as the products are non-toxic and still effective,” says King. “‘Non-toxic’ means free from undesirable ingredients listed by the Environmental Working Group. This is better than claiming ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ as they are products that perform without compromising safety. People want natural because they assume natural ingredients are safe, which is not necessarily the case. They also may not be as effective as synthetic materials.”
This brings me to another point: An ingredient might be natural or organic, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no chance you’ll have an adverse or allergic reaction to it, so it’s important to be aware of what you’re using and how your body responds.
Thanks to growing consumer concern and education, we’re definitely seeing an uptick in the use of the phrase “clean beauty.” Last year, for example, Sephora announced the launch of Clean at Sephora, the company’s new category that clearly establishes which of their products are formulated without controversial ingredients. Those that meet Sephora’s ingredients guidelines are deemed “clean” and receive the retailer’s Clean at Sephora seal.
Ingredients aside, one of the benefits of using natural products is that many, if not all, ingredients are ethically sourced and cruelty-free. As consumers, it’s never been more important to prioritize what we want in our makeup, and our money talks. These days there’s a clean option to switch out every product in your makeup routine, so it’s never been easier to avoid controversial ingredients.
But I also wanted to help you sort out your options. The following products have received high marks from professional makeup artists — who have seen and used it all — so you can start cleaning up your cosmetics bag.
Ilia Beauty is focused on creating clean, pure products with organic bio-active botanicals that nourish skin as they wear. From lipstick to eye shadow and multiple base products, Ilia’s products give you a luxurious feel, look, and wear, while being some of the cleanest makeup you can use.
Puckey is a huge fan of the brand, spotlighting many of its products. “I love how smooth the Fade Into You Powder feels and how it really disappears on the skin. The Illuminators come in three shades that work for a variety of skin tones. I like that it comes in a stick form for easy application.”
100% Pure Beauty has a full collection of skin care, makeup, hair, and body products, all made with natural ingredients. The brand is serious about the way it sources its ingredients, too, using a strict methodology to determine and confirm that its products contain no synthetic ingredients. In the past, I’ve been a big fan of its Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream, and I love that its foundations are available in a wide range of shades.
Makeup artist Benjamin Puckey is a big fan of the brand’s lipsticks, telling Allure“100% Pure Cocoa Butter Matte Lipsticks come in such beautiful, bold, matte shades that you forget you’re working with a natural brand.”
He calls out the shade Sonora Red as one that “really packs a punch.”
Each Kosas product is made with active botanicals and balanced with safe synthetics, giving you luxury formulas, beautiful pigments that flatter a multitude of skin tones, and they all look as good as they feel. The beautiful face duos are available in both cream and powder formulas, each including a blush and an illuminator that complement each other and boost your face’s luminosity and glow.
The lipsticks are also not to be missed. Puckey tells Allure, “Kosas has a line of all-natural lipsticks in super chic black packaging. Rosewater (a dusky rose) and Thrillest (bright poppy red) are my favorites.”
Did you know that Bite Beauty is natural and organic? I always forget. These luxe lipsticks are made with 12 different oils, as well as while pearl, silk, red wine, and organic butters; the result is a lipstick that’s incredibly creamy and hydrating, long-wearing and even has benefits from antioxidants for a product that’s actually good for your lips.
“No one does the range of bold color options in the right creamy/waxy base the way Bite does,” makeup artist Katey Denno explains. “They also make a lot of corresponding lip liners, which, until they filled it, had been a big hole in the marketplace.”
Newer to the natural scene, Tower 28 Beauty is becoming a fast favorite among makeup artists, beauty editors, and influencers alike. The whimsical packaging, quality ingredients, and vegan and cruelty-free promise are just a few of many reasons to love this L.A.-based brand, which prides itself on making products suitable for ultra-sensitive skin types. In fact, it’s tagline is #ItsOkayToBeSensitive, which is pretty clever if you ask me.
“Their products are so good for sensitive skin!” says makeup artist Robin Black, who battles rosacea. “I love their SOS Face Spray,cream blushes, and highlighters, and their cheek and lip products are getting lots of buzz for good reason. They’re so pretty on and so easy to use.”
One of the innovators of the now popular and chic swivel compact, Lilah B. is all about creating simple, multipurpose beauty products with clean formulas. Without gluten, sulfates, or parabens, and packed with aloe and botanicals, these products take to skin beautifully, feel luxurious and nourishing, and look amazing on your face and on your vanity.
Juice Beauty takes special care to ensure that its ingredients are certified organic so that no toxins, pesticides, synthetics, or fertilizers make it into its products. Starting with a base of organic botanical juice (hence the name), without any petroleum fillers or added water, each product is packed with antioxidants and concentrated skin-care benefits.
Denno is especially a fan of the Juice Boost Illuminator + Bronzer Duo. “Finely micronized shimmer particles add the perfect amount of highlight, no matter what your skin tone. [It] can be used directly on all areas you highlight: cheeks, Cupid’s bow, bridge of the nose, inner-eye corner, lid, clavicle, shoulders, or can be mixed into foundation to give an overall more glowy look,” she suggests.
“This stuff is unlike any other green beauty highlight product in that it dries completely (and quickly).”
The Lawless tagline is “Clean AF,” and the brand means it. Its liquid lipsticks are formulated without carcinogenic, toxic, hormone- or endocrine-disrupting ingredients. If people ingest up to five pounds of cosmetic chemicals every year, Lawless is trying to make sure that its products — that you put directly on your mouth and skin — are as safe as possible.
Stemming from the founder’s own need for clean-beauty products free of toxic chemicals and metals, RMS Beauty is a line of ultra-luxurious, pared-down multitaskers that have become favorites in the industry. It’s a bit like a grown-up Glossier, with rich formulas, bright colors, and twinkling shimmers that make a welcome addition to any beauty routine, no matter how simple or complex it may be.
The line’s hero product is the Living Luminizer, a highlighter in a pot, that you tap onto the high points of your face, as you do, for a glow that is equal parts natural and ethereal. It pairs well with any product you put it on top of (or under) and wears like it’s a part of you.
Since it’s inception in 2014, Milk Makeup has become a major power player in the vegan and cruelty-free beauty category. With innovative products that are as pretty and fun to use as they are effective, it’s easy to see why so many people adore the brand. Speaking of which, makeup artist Quinn Murphy, who works with stars like Kristen Bell, Julianne Moore, and Karlie Kloss — among myriad others — tells Allure it’s one of his top-favorite natural beauty brands. If you’ve yet to try anything from Milk, the Hydro Grip Primer, Kush Mascara, and Glow Oils (pictured above) are all great products to start with.
With a tagline like #BetterBeauty, Beautycounter strives to use only the safest ingredients possible and none of the nasties. It even has what it calls “The Never List,” which includes harsh chemicals, dangerous preservatives like formaldehyde, and synthetic flavors and fragrances. The brand offers makeup, skin-care, and bath and body products, as well as an array of kits for men, babies, and traveling. Schlip is especially partial to its eye makeup products — specifically, the Velvet Eyeshadow Palette, which is a best-seller and excellent for creating a wide range of natural, everyday looks.
Founded by three sisters in Los Angeles, Rituel De Fille is known for its witchy aesthetic and magic-inspired formulas. “They have amazing products with minimal ingredients and really interesting colors,” says Black, who’s a huge fan of the brand. “Standouts are the Eye Soots, but the lip and skin products are also great… they hold up well on camera, too, so perfect for Zooming!”
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