Applying your makeup can be a little tricky when you have oily skin. Sometimes, it seems like products just slide right off your face, and other times, it feels impossible to combat shininess for longer than a few minutes. Finishing your look with a powder can make a big difference, and luckily, there are a ton of excellent options for addressing oily skin.
Setting powders actually set your makeup, helping it stay in place for hours on end. They also absorb moisture and minimize shine, which is ideal for people with oilier complexions. “Normally, people are the oiliest in their T-zone,” says Los Angeles-based makeup artist Shay Zeinali. “I recommend to put the setting powder in the T-zone and to use a damp beauty blender to dip into the powder and press the powder into the oily areas.”
Read on for the best setting powders for oily skin.
Best Overall: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
Laura Mercier’s award-winning setting powder is tough to beat. This loose, weightless powder blends effortlessly without streaking your makeup underneath. Zeinali says she always keeps this all-star in her kit, and we can see why. It absorbs oil, eliminates shine, and creates a soft-focus effect that looks stunning in photos—yep, even with the flash on.
Active Ingredients: Vitamin C powder, vitamin E powder, botanical blurring powder, skin conditioning powder | Shades: 3 | Finish: Soft matte | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Budget: Covergirl Professional Loose Powder
You don’t need to shell out a lot of money to get a pro-level finish. This wallet-friendly loose finishing powder from Covergirl sets your makeup, keeps shine under control, and leaves you with a radiant, healthy-looking complexion. Some even say it’s a Laura Mercier dupe.
Shades: 5 | Finish: Smooth | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Drugstore: NYX Professional Makeup High Definition Finishing Powder
Courtesy of NYX Professional Makeup
If you have oily skin, you’ll be glad to have NYX’s HD Finishing Powder in your arsenal. This lightweight, translucent pressed powder goes on silky smooth (but not at all slick) and leaves a fresh, matte finish on the skin.
Shades: 3 | Finish: Matte | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Splurge: La Mer The Powder
La Mer has luxury face cream down to a semi-secret science, but what about powder? As it turns out, the cult beauty brand’s setting powder is just as impressive. Formulated with the brand’s famous Miracle Broth, this luxe powder floats over your skin, absorbing oil, blurring pores, and diffusing light.
Active Ingredients: Miracle Broth | Shades: 1 | Finish: Radiant | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Loose: Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Translucent Setting Powder
Courtesy of Sephora
Hourglass Veil is an ultra-fine loose powder that goes on smooth, absorbs oil, and blurs the appearance of pores, fine lines, and more. It’s also made with light-reflecting particles, which provide a radiant finish without the shine.
Active Ingredients: Diamond powder, soft-focus light-reflecting particles | Shades: 1 | Finish: Natural | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Pressed: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Setting Powder
Pressed powders are ideal for on-the-go touch-ups and travel, as they’re less messy than their loose counterparts. We’re loving this option from the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores line. The universal translucent color works on all skin tones, applying entirely clear and delivering a long-lasting shine-free finish.
Active Ingredients: Silk, hydrolyzed collagen, antioxidants | Shades: 3 | Finish: Natural matte | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Blotting: Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Blotting Powder
Courtesy of Sephora
Rihanna does it again. Invisimatte is the sophisticated older sibling of those blotting papers folks with oily skin know and love. Thanks to a special pore-diffusing complex, it minimizes shine, mutes the look of pores, and creates a naturally matte, photo-ready finish. This product is truly invisible and never cakey, which means you can apply it as often as you’d like while you go about your day.
Active Ingredients: Pore-diffusing complex | Shades: 1 | Finish: Matte | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Talc-Free: Glossier Wowder
Glossier’s take on finishing powder is Wowder, a show-stopping blotter that sets your makeup and gives shininess the boot. Whether you want a completely matte finish or like to leave a little dewiness, this versatile powder is up for the task. Plus, the talc-free formula isn’t chalky and won’t become cakey on oily skin.
Active Ingredients: Diamond powder, kaolin clay, vitamin E | Shades: 5 | Finish: Matte | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Mineral: Range Beauty Smooth Out Translucent Powder
This loose setting powder from range beauty is perfectly lightweight and silky smooth. The translucent formula is made with ultra-fine minerals and no talc. You can count on a stunning demi-matte finish and a healthy-looking glow.
Shades: 4 | Finish: Satin matte | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Shade Range: Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Matte Powder Foundation
Estée Lauder’s Double Wear powder can be used as a foundation or to set your makeup. The weightless matte formula goes on sheer, helps control oil, and creates a flawless-looking complexion. Not only that, but it comes in an impressive 41 shades, ranging from espresso to porcelain.
Shades: 40 | Finish: Matte | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Natural: Beauty Bakerie Face Flour Baking Powder
Nodding to the baking makeup technique, Beauty Bakerie’s Face Flour sets your foundation, conceals imperfections, and smoothes out your skin. The formula contains oil-absorbing minerals, rice starch, and light-reflecting mica for a radiant, luminous effect.
Shades: 6 | Finish: Matte | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Clean: bareMinerals Mineral Veil Setting Powder
BareMinerals has been in the clean beauty game since the 1970s—well before the rest of the world caught on. The brand’s beloved Mineral Veil is perfectly translucent and weightless, making it a go-to for absorbing oil and blurring the appearance of pores. Apply it as a final step to your makeup routine for a beautiful, airbrushed look.
Shades: 4 | Finish: Natural | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Photos: Danessa Myricks Beauty Evolution Powder
Evolution Powder was developed with flash photography in mind. The super-fine breathable formula sets makeup, absorbs oil, minimizes shine, and diffuses light. Whether you’re on set or snapping selfies at home, you can count on a matte finish without compromising dimension.
Shades: 9 | Finish: Natural | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Blurring: Huda Beauty Easy Bake Powder
Courtesy of Sephora
Huda Beauty’s Easy Bake is formulated to blur the look of fine lines and pores and hold your look in place, guaranteeing melt-proof makeup all day. This is another one of Zeinali’s favorite setting powders for oily complexions. She appreciates the long-wear finish and broad range of shades for every skin tone.
Active Ingredients: Vitamin E | Shades: 9 | Finish: Matte | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Waterproof: Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Setting Powder
All Nighter is ideal for those days (or nights) when you want to apply your makeup and forget about it. While it might be easier said than done with oily skin, this waterproof setting powder is up for the job. It keeps your skin matte for up to 11 hours and stands its ground against sweat, tears, humidity, and rain.
Shades: 1 | Finish: Matte | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Where setting powders for oily skin is concerned, Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder is basically untouchable. The loose, lightweight formula blends brilliantly into your skin, setting your foundation without smudging or streaking your makeup. However, if you’re on a budget, Covergirl’s Clean Professional Loose Finishing Powder is a solid choice. It controls shine, sets your makeup, and leaves you with a pro-level finish.
What to Look For in a Setting Powder for Oily Skin
When buying setting powder, you’ll want to take a peek at the ingredients list. Cornstarch or rice starch often make up the bulk of the product. These ingredients absorb oil and help set your makeup. A lot of options also contain minerals, like zinc, magnesium, silica, calcium silicate, and iron oxide. They’re generally gentle on all skin types and can even provide complexion-boosting benefits.
Some are made with talc, which can be hit or miss with oily skin. If you run into caking and creasing when applying makeup, look for a talc-free powder. Additionally, some setting powders have light-diffusing ingredients, like mica, bismuth oxychloride, and HDI/trimethylol hexyllactone crosspolymer.
If you’re not sure what color to get, we recommend a translucent setting powder for oily skin. The sheer, colorless formula will hold your foundation in place without affecting your makeup look. Also, since you might only apply it to your T-zone, you don’t have to worry about an uneven color.
Some translucent powders come in only one universal color. Others are available in a range of shades. If it’s labeled as translucent, the powder itself will be pale in color, but it should appear colorless on all skin tones. You can also find many tinted setting powders, which typically offer a sheer finish with just a hint of color.
Pressed vs. Loose
Choosing between a loose or pressed setting powder is mostly a matter of preference, as both work well for oily complexions. Loose powders tend to be a little messier, and they typically need to be applied with a brush or beauty sponge. On the other hand, pressed powders usually come in convenient compacts, making it easy to stash one in your purse or pocket.
Can you use any setting powder for oily skin?
If you have oily skin, you’re liable to have the best luck choosing a setting powder that is appropriate for your skin type. There are numerous ways that setting powders denote they’re good for oily skin, such as mentioning “oil-absorbing” on the label. Setting powders that say they blur and minimize pores and/or help your makeup stay on alone, but do not reference being absorbent of oil at all, may not last as well on your face throughout the day.
When should I use setting powder if my skin is oily?
You’ll use setting powder if you have oily skin at the same time in your makeup routine as if you had dry, combination, or balanced skin: After your concealer. Makeup instructor Dino Dilio tells Byrdie that “setting powder can help absorb the extra oil on your skin, and it’s perfect for holding foundation in place… I generally like applying setting powder after I apply concealer to help keep it in place. This helps to brighten the under-eye and to keep the concealer in place for a longer amount of time.”
Can I use setting powder without makeup on oily skin?
Yes, you can use setting powder on top of your bare skin. It won’t have the same effect as if you use it over concealer, but if you are simply wanting the result of oil absorbance and a slight evening of skin tone, setting powder alone is a decent choice. If you choose to use it on your skin without any makeup, you’ll just need to not apply any afterward. Putting setting powder underneath other products wouldn’t yield a good look since the powder would prevent foundation or concealer from sticking to your skin.