No-breakout makeup: setting powders

10 talc-free setting powders that won’t clog pores

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas
Aug 12, 2020 · 3 min read

Closeup of woman applying makeup to cheek with metallic brush against a light peach tile background
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Updated June 2021

Setting powders just might be my secret weapon. Dust it over full-coverage makeup or just my naked skin and, instantly, my pores look smaller and my skin looks smoother. Not to mention they’re an absolute necessity in my makeup routine. Setting powder keeps my foundation from rubbing off on my glasses or sweating off in the Florida heat.

That said? A poorly formulated powder can ruin a good day. Not only do many contain potentially pore-clogging ingredients that might cause breakouts, but a lot of them contain a high concentration of talc. While talc is safe to use in cosmetics, it doesn’t tend to blend easily. Instead, it sits on top of your face, where it soaks up oils from your skin and other makeup products. So talc-based setting powders can cause your makeup to separate and your products to clump.

But you don’t have to worry about bad setting powders. I took a look at some of the best setting powders from the drugstore to the department store. Here are the top 10 setting powders that are non-talc and non-comedogenic.

1. bareMinerals Mineral Veil Finishing Powder

  • 3 translucent formulas (original, hydrating, or illuminating)

  • 1 tinted shade for deeper skin tones

  • Luminous, semi-matte finish

  • My personal go-to for all makeup looks

  • $27 for .3 oz

2. Milk Makeup Blur + Set Matte Loose Setting Powder

  • 3 semi-translucent formulas ranging from light to deep

  • Light coverage with a matte finish

  • Designed to prevent ashiness and pilling

  • $29 for .87 oz

3. NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Setting Powder

  • Flashback-free drugstore powder

  • 6 shades ranging from translucent to medium-deep

  • Natural finish

  • $12 for .21 oz

4. Glossier Wowder

  • 5 light coverage shades ranging from light to rich

  • Natural finish

  • Doubles as a light-weight foundation

  • $22 for .25 oz

Makeup powder by Glossier

Image via Glossier

5. Morphe Bake & Set Setting Powder

  • 5 versatile shades for setting and color-correcting

  • Matte finish

  • Best value in this review (most product per ounce)

  • $12 for .31 oz

6. Honest Beauty Invisible Blurring Loose Powder

  • 1 translucent shade

  • Matte finish

  • Works best with oily skin types

  • $19.99 for .56 oz

7. Too Faced Dew You Fresh Glow Setting Powder

  • 3 semi-translucent shades ranging from pearl to caramel

  • Luminous, shimmery finish

  • Smells like watermelon — and includes added fragrance

  • $33 for .31 oz

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8. Pacifica Cherry Velvet Matte Translucent Setting Powder

  • 1 translucent shade

  • Matte finish

  • Smells like cherry — and includes added fragrance

  • $12 for .45 oz

9. Makeup Revolution Conceal & Fix Setting Powder

  • 10 versatile shades ranging from translucent to deep dark

  • Can be used as a light-coverage foundation or color corrector

  • Matte finish

  • $11 for .45 oz

10. L.A. Girl High-Definition Pro Powder

  • In translucent or banana

  • Semi-matte finish

  • Great drugstore setting powder for setting under-eyes

  • $7 for .17 oz

So that’s what I know, as Curology’s resident beauty geek. For what it’s worth, we’re not affiliated with any of the above brands, and we never make a commission off of products we recommend on the blog. But do feel free to sign up for a free month of Curology, if you haven’t yet! You’ll pay $4.95 (+ tax) to cover shipping/handling on your first subscription box, featuring a bottle of customized cream with a mix of 3 active ingredients for your unique skin.

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas

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