Hands down, one of my most frequently used beauty products in summer is SETTING POWDER! My skin leans toward combo/oily and Wisconsin summers can be sooooo humid. Do I want to look like a reflective greaseball and have my makeup slide around my face all day long? No, thank you. I’ve tried a bunch of setting powders over the years, so I want to share the absolute best of the best with ya!
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Why You Should Avoid Talc in Setting Powders
First, the main ingredient to avoid when purchasing a setting powder is TALC ❌
Talc is a mineral (magnesium silicate) that can be contaminated with asbestos fibers, so it’s ESPECIALLY important to avoid it in makeup powders (pressed or loose!) because of the inhalation risk. According to EWG, studies by the National Toxicology Panel demonstrated that even cosmetic-grade talc that claims to be free of asbestos can still be toxic and carcinogenic.
A rare exception would be if a brand conducts third-party testing to ensure there is zero asbestos contamination in the talc. But most clean beauty brands choose to exclude it altogether in their formulas.
Thankfully, there are other natural substitutes and clean powders you can use that work just as well as conventional setting powders!
Get the freebie: “Top 25 Ingredients to Avoid in Cosmetics [Free Printable Pocket Guide]”
What’s the Purpose of Setting Powders, Anyway?
Setting powders are usually translucent, sheer, or lightly tinted coverage and can be used as the last step in your makeup routine to:
- Soak up excess oil/shine and refract light
- Prevent makeup from sliding around, especially oil-based or cream products that can wear away throughout the day
- Blur and reduce the appearance of pores
- Set your makeup so it lasts longer!
They are best applied to your t-zone or areas where you tend to get oily (forehead, nose, chin, under eyes).
The Top 3 Clean Beauty Setting Powder Brands
Here are some of my personal favorite setting powders that use organic and non-toxic ingredients. Make sure you pay attention to the notes because some work better for certain skin types compared to others!
Best for oily or combination skin types
This one is pure magic, I tell you! 🪄 It quite literally blurs away shine and oil as you swipe it on. It’s my holy grail and I’ve used it for years; I either wear shade Light or the Translucent powder. It’s just pure bamboo silica and the tinted ones are pigmented naturally with fruit extracts and cocoa.
I think the translucent one can work if you have fair/light skin, otherwise, I’d say go for a tinted one (downside: they don’t have very many shades, especially for darker skin tones)! Because it can look a little ghostly or have some flashback if you don’t have fairer skin.
It’s super matte and ideal for skin types that are oily or combination. So I loveeeeee wearing this in the summer particularly or when it’s extremely humid outside because it just soaks up extra greasiness. It’s a very soft and light texture. I wouldn’t really recommend it if you have drier skin though because of the fact that it is so matte; it could be too dry/flat for you or accentuate dry skin conditions! Also, a little goes a long way, so start with a smaller amount and work your way up as needed.
Overall, I would say this one is the most matte and most powerful, but it can be TOO powerful if your skin doesn’t really need the extra mattifying help!
Best for normal, mature, or drier skin types
If you prefer a pressed powder! ☁️ This one is a pillowy soft yet buttery powder that smooths and reduces excess shine but does NOT take away your natural glow. So if you don’t want something matte but still want to set and smooth, this is for you! It looks like skin, just a little diffused and softer! I wear shade Breezy most of the year and Feathery in the summer when I have some more color. The coverage is sheer!
If your skin is combo or on the oily side, this usually needs to be reapplied after a while because the finish is more natural and not something that’s going to completely soak up oils. It’s vegan and uses bamboo stem extract to reduce shine.
I personally tend to gravitate towards this one in the colder months when I don’t need as much help with controlling dewiness! I also like that it’s pressed which makes for an easier, mess-free application.
Most universal for all skin types, especially combination
This setting powder is DEEEEEE-lightful! It comes in 3 shades and I wear Translucent for very light/light skin tones. It’s a loose powder with a touch of ethically-sourced mica in it for a subtle glowy shimmer (not sparkly at all). I like that it diffuses excess shine and oil, but is not too matte or cakey; it has a very radiant natural-looking finish!
It feels velvety yet weightless ✨ Saie uses patented aerated-cream technology in Airset making it truly unique! It also has squalane in it and feels really nourishing on your skin. I would say this is an in-between option compared to the other powders in this post; it’s not fully soft matte like 100% Pure, but provides more blurring and soaks up oil better than Kosas. I love it so much!
I think my only complaint is the packaging because you essentially have to turn it upside down and tap the jar over the lid and apply the powder from there. But formula-wise, it’s amazing.
P.S. I definitely recommend Saie’s Fluffy Brush for applying the powder; it’s an ideal size for getting in smaller areas like under your eyes.
Related post: “My Top Fave Saie Makeup Products [Clean Beauty Brand Review]”
Have you tried any of these setting powders, or have any other faves you’d add to this list? Lemme hear it in the comments!