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The Best Translucent Powders to Elevate Your Makeup Bag

Clare Holden
Written by Clare Holden
Soft cosmetic brush, with shining sparkling powder on the bristles.The powder is scattered on the table, on a light background with space to copy in the concept of beauty and makeup.High quality photo

If you have tried every foundation and still can’t seem to achieve that smooth, almost filter-like effect on your skin, you probably need to find a translucent powder to finish off your base to give you a dreamy soft focus glow.

Here’s the thing: powders do far more heavy lifting than they used to when it comes to your overall makeup. Much more than just a talc-based coverage, setting powders do everything nowadays — from blurring imperfections, to reducing the appearance of pores, to hiding fine lines and evening out skin texture. Some even have SPF and special cooling properties to boot!

With that in mind, we have rounded up the best translucent powders on the market. After testing out the offerings, we made sure to include options for every budget and skin type to ensure everyone can get in on this complexion enhancing magic.

15 Best Translucent Powders

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Finding the Best Translucent Powders

Translucent powder is vital in order to seal your foundation and smooth out your skin for a more polished beauty look overall. While the word “powder” may invoke visions of cakey makeup, the options available today are anything but. In fact they give your skin a soft finish and are often infused with hydrating ingredients to keep your skin supple.

A light dusting of a finishing powder does wonders for the appearance of the skin. Every skin tone and type can benefit from this extra step, and to ensure you find your perfect match, we put together everything you need to know about translucent powders.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Translucent Powders

Skin Type 

There are translucent powders available for every skin type. To find one that works for you, choose a product that has been created for your type of complexion. If you have dry skin, go for an option with hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, while those with oily skin should opt for a powder that reduces shine.


At the drugstore, brands like NYX, e.l.f, maybelline and Milani have all released high quality options with innovative ingredients and a variety of finishes. If you are looking to invest in luxury options, both Charlotte Tilbury and Fenty Beauty’s powder come in gorgeous compacts complete with a mirror and puff.


Translucent powder is the last step in your makeup routine. You can apply it using a large powder brush or puff. If you do your makeup on your commute, a pressed compact will be less messy.

Other Uses 

Translucent powder can also be used to prevent lipstick bleeding. If you are a fan of strong lip colors, placing powder along the edges of the mouth will keep your color in place.


Try and match the finish of your foundation with the finish of your setting powder. For example, if you prefer a dewy base, go for a velvet or even natural translucent powder. On the other hand, if you use a matte foundation, stay with a matte powder. This will pull your makeup look together and give it a seamless finish.

What are the Different Types of Translucent Powders?


Loose powder is the most popular type of consistency due to how easy it is to apply a light veil of coverage. It is less likely to look cakey or clog pores, as the particles are more evenly distributed over the face.


Pressed compacts are the ideal choice for quick touch-ups throughout the day or applications on the move.


Some translucent powders now contain SPF. If you are looking for an extra layer of sun protection, these are the ones to go for.


Best Overall: Laura Mercier Ultra-Blur Talc-Free Translucent Loose Setting Powder


  • Fragrance and talc-free
  • Matte finish
  • Suitable for all skin types


  • Some may prefer a dewy finish
  • Not for those looking for a pressed powder

This translucent powder from Laura Mercier is heralded as the best in the business by professional artists, beauty editors and makeup lovers everywhere. It single-handedly increased the popularity of setting powders and made them an essential step in any makeup routine.

The combination of its silky feel, hyaluronic acid infused formula and ultra-blurring skin abilities give any base a flawless finish that lasts all day. It works with every skin type, and the amino acid and silica powders deliver a soft-focus effect that smooths out your complexion.


Best Budget: e.l.f. High Definition Powder


  • Cruelty-free
  • Radiant finish
  • Can be worn on its own


  • Some shades sell out
  • Some may prefer a pressed powder

Whether you are looking to set your makeup or give your bare skin a radiant glow, this powder from e.l.f can be used as the finishing touch to your foundation or worn on its own for a natural finish.

The finely-milled powder blurs fine lines, blemishes and pigmentation to give your skin a smoother and more even appearance. It also minimizes pores for an airbrush-like filtered effect.


Best Drugstore: Milani Conceal + Perfect Blur Out Powder, Translucent


  • Weightless feel
  • Oil absorbing
  • Works with all skin tones


  • Not for those looking for a shimmer finish
  • Basic packaging

The satin finish of this translucent powder from our favorite drugstore brand Milani works with every type of complexion to keep your makeup looking fresh all day. If you find your skin starts to look tired or dull as the day goes on, a light dusting of this powder will leave your base instantly looking revitalized.

The talc-free formula means it won’t dry out your skin or leave any ashy residue. The silky particles feel lightweight and breathable on the skin, making for extremely comfortable wear.


Best Splurge: Hourglass Veil™ Translucent Setting Powder – Talc Free


  • Natural finish
  • Luxurious feel
  • Cruelty-free


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Finish may not be matte enough for some people

This gorgeous setting powder from luxury beauty brand Hourglass is a dream to apply and elevates the look of any base it is applied to. Suitable for all skin types, the ultra-refined powder contains light-reflecting particles to not only set makeup, but also ensure your skin looks luminous all day.

This powder works especially well for those with fine lines, wrinkles or any uneven texture as its high-grade formula doesn’t settle or fall — but instead smooths out the surface of the skin.


Best Mattifying: Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Pressed Face Powder Makeup & Setting Powder, Translucent


  • Comes in 22 shades
  • Matte finish
  • Reduces the appearance of pores


  • Might not work for very dry skin
  • Not available in a loose powder

If you face a daily grind trying to keep your T-zone shine-free, then this mattifying pressed powder is the product to reach for to ensure your skin stays matte even hours after applying. In addition to being available in a translucent shade, it also comes in 22 different colors — enabling you to find your perfect tone match.

The non-comedogenic formula won’t clog pores, and the pressed powder compact makes for a mess-free application that’s perfect for on-the-go touch ups.


Best For Oily Skin: ETUDE Zero Sebum Drying Powder


  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Oil controlling
  • Comes with puff


  • Not as widely available
  • Not everyone may like the scent

K beauty is always one step ahead of the game when it comes to innovation, and this translucent powder quickly became a hit due to its incredible oil-absorbing abilities and gentle formula.

Keep your shine at bay and your makeup looking matte all day with this sebum-reducing mineral powder that’s free from common irritants such as talc, mineral oil, animal raw materials, pigment synthesis and artificial fragrance.


Best for Dry Skin: Givenchy Prisme Libre Finishing & Setting Powder


  • Weightless feel
  • Paraben-free
  • Luxury packaging


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Some shades sell out

This luxury setting powder from Givenchy combines four separate powders to ensure every element of your skin’s appearance is improved. Dullness and uneven tone are revitalized and rebalanced, while the complexion is softly blurred — resulting in more illuminated and radiant skin.

The transparent finish extends the life of your makeup look while also giving your skin a velvety matte finish. This powder is also so finely milled, you won’t even notice you are wearing it.


Best Pressed: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder


  • Available in 2 sizes
  • Mess-free application
  • Natural finish


  • Some may prefer a loose powder
  • Slightly more expensive

If you find loose powder too messy to use and are looking to seal in your makeup in a neat and easy way, then this gold pressed powder compact from Charlotte Tilbury is the one to reach for. It even comes in a mini size, perfect for taking with you everywhere.

The formula has been infused with light-reflecting pearls which give the skin a natural glow, while the combo of rose wax and almond oil ensures your skin is hydrated and moisturized all day.


Best for Sensitive Skin: ILIA Soft Focus Finishing Powder


  • Talc-free
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Softens the skin


  • Not as widely available
  • Some may prefer a shimmer finish

This gentle finishing powder from clean beauty pioneers Ilia is formulated with rosemary leaf to soothe irritation and reduce redness. It also contains aloe to soften the skin and leave it looking more supple, as well as bamboo to naturally keep your shine under control.

This powder is great for events, as the soft-focus finish doesn’t cause any flashback and the five times milled particles give the skin an airy feel that won’t clog your pores. We also love that it comes in recyclable packaging.


Best for Fair Skin: NYX Professional Makeup Studio Photogenic Finishing Powder, Translucent


  • Suitable for all skin tones
  • Last a long time
  • Bestselling product


  • Sometimes sells out
  • Basic packaging

A little bit goes a long way with this 100% pure mineral silica powder. In fact, at just over $10, it is an incredible value. This is a product you will have in your makeup bag for a substantial amount of time.

The sheer translucent powder has a matte finish with a subtle glow, making it perfect for those who prefer a softer look to their base. It can also be worn on bare skin to naturally elevate your complexion.


Best for Dark Skin: Danessa Myricks Beauty Evolution Setting & Blurring Loose Powder


  • Flashback-free
  • Long-lasting
  • Mess-free


  • Doesn’t include puff
  • Some shades sell out

If you find translucent powder always seems to leave an ashy residue on your skin, then you will love the deeper tones of this setting powder from renowned makeup artist Danessa Myricks.

This powder refines and reduces the appearance of pores to give your skin an overall softer look which also minimizes the signs of aging. The pot has a mesh window which delivers just the right amount of product for a cleaner application.


Best for Medium Skin: wet n wild Photo Focus Loose Setting Powder – Translucent


  • Great value
  • Cruelty-free
  • Perfect for baking


  • Basic packaging
  • Might not worker for darker skin

This affordable finishing powder from wet n wild is a makeup bag staple. If you are looking for a product to use daily to extend the wear of your makeup and keep you shine-free for hours, then a light dusting of this powder is just the finishing touch you need to add into your makeup routine.

In addition to mattifying the skin and blurring pores and fine lines, it also feels lightweight — blending in seamlessly with your base.


Best for Blotting: Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Invisimatte Instant Setting + Blotting Powder


  • Suitable for all skin tones
  • Refill option available
  • All day shine control


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Some may prefer a loose powder

Ever wonder how Rihanna keeps her skin looking perfect 24/7? This setting and blotting powder from her brand Fenty Beauty is her secret to staying both shine free and looking soft focused all day, everyday.

This handy little compact is a game-changer when it comes to extending the wear of your makeup and improving the overall appearance of your skin.


Best for Radiance: e.l.f. Halo Glow Setting Powder


  • Great price
  • Cruelty-free
  • Contains sapphire particles


  • Not for those looking for a matte finish
  • Some may prefer a pressed powder

If you want to lock in your makeup but aren’t keen on a matte finish, then this synthetic sapphire-infused setting powder from e.l.f is just the option you need to extend the wear of your foundation while also providing your skin with a soft glow that’s more luminous than shimmery.

This silky lightweight powder blurs fine lines and smooths out the texture of skin so well, it is sure to become one of your beauty essentials.


Best with SPF: Supergoop! 100% Mineral (Re)setting Powder SPF 35


  • Sun protection
  • Comes with built-in brush
  • Works for sensitive skin


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Might not work so well with oily skin

If you are looking to add an extra layer of SPF to your skin while also keeping your makeup mattified, then this setting powder from Supergoop is the one to go for. The built-in brush also makes it a great option for quick touch-ups, especially on days when you may have forgotten to apply sunscreen.

This powder also has skin nourishing benefits, as it has been formulated with ceramides and olive glycerides to lock in moisture and keep your skin hydrated all day.

People Also Ask

  • Q: What does a translucent powder do?

    A:Translucent powder works to both smooth out the appearance of skin and lock in your makeup.

  • Q: What is the best way to apply translucent powder?

    A:You can use either a larger powder brush to lightly dust over the face or a puff for a more targeted product placement.

  • Q: Can you wear just translucent powder?

    A:Yes. Even if you are not a fan of foundation, translucent powder on its own, applied over bare skin, is a clever and easy way to improve your natural base and control shine.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

Clare Holden

By Clare Holden

Beauty and style writer Clare has been a fan of makeup and fashion ever since she was a child. While studying for her degree in Journalism and Communications, Clare worked part-time on cosmetic counters. After graduating she went back and trained as a makeup artist after falling in love with beauty and skincare. She now splits her time between writing about all things makeup and running her own womenswear brand White Night.
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