3 Setting Powders That Banish Extra Shine



For years my biggest skincare concern (apart from breakouts) was figuring out how to keep my face looking matte throughout the day, and I developed all kinds of tricks for taming that middle-of-the-day shine that can take over the t-zone. I eventually replaced my weird blue Clean & Clear blotting sheets with Tatcha’s blotting papers (thanks Siobhan!), and while I’m more balanced now thanks to introducing oils into my routine and getting a little older, the reality is that I live in a very humid climate. I could go through an unreasonable number of those precious abaca leaf blotting papers in one summer day if I didn’t do a few things otherwise to keep my makeup from sliding off.

Setting powders are my first line of defense, and it’s a relatively new thing for me because up until the last few years I used powder foundations almost exclusively. My skin has started to change in my 30s and has become more prone to dehydration, which makes fine lines more obvious. Powder foundations can accentuate this, too. That’s one reason I’ve gravitated toward cream foundations in the last few years. But while those keep my skin looking more hydrated, the summer humidity makes wearing them challenging.

These three setting powders have proved fantastic at keeping makeup in place, mattifying just enough to keep midday shine in check without totally concealing the luminous finish of my foundation.

W3LL PEOPLE Bio Brightener Invisible Powder This is a new discovery and probably my favorite of the bunch. That’s because it keeps makeup in place while casting a soft-focus glow wherever it’s dusted. It smells like fresh chamomile and green tea, and it contains aloe powder so it is calming and hydrating while keeping shine to a minimum. I never feel dried-out by this powder, just luminous and happy with my skin.

RMS “Un” Powder This has been in my collection the longest, and it’s a tried and true setting powder that works wonders for keeping my coconut oil based RMS makeup from melting off my face in the humidity. It’s the powder I grab without fail when I need my makeup to really stick for the long haul. A little bit of this ultra fine powder goes a long way. It absorbs all the oil, so I go for less than I think I’ll need. The finish is weightless, and it’s now available in tinted versions.

Au Naturale Finishing Powder This is the only setting powder I have that is tinted, and I was curious as to how it would work since there is only one tint, which is light and on the peachy side. The color really just blends right in with my natural skin tone. Not only that, it seems to add slightly more opacity and coverage when I’ve sheered out my foundation or worn less than normal. The finish is quite velvety and lovely, and it helps makeup look fresh for the whole day.

If these setting powders need refreshing during the day, I can normally achieve that by patting my face with a tissue. No additional application needed in my experience.

Do you use a setting powder? What’s your favorite?



14 Responses to “3 Setting Powders That Banish Extra Shine”
  1. Annette says:

    I’ve used the RMS and liked it but I switched to the Bio Brightener and it’s a keeper for all the reasons you mentioned. It’s silky, a little goes a looong way and I don’t get oily later in the day.

  2. Rebecca Bailey says:

    My Haut bio-foundation does the trick for most of my face (over HDD cream, and it’s not particularly humid where I live), but I like a teensy bit of RMS unpowder on my forehead. So true that you need way less than you’d think. I love the super simple ingredient list, and am currently using the tinted though the untinted is great too. I use so little I’m not sure tint or not makes much difference, but I expect the darker your skin the more likely the tint will benefit you.

    I have been intrigued by the W3LL People, but nervous about the scent and the mica.

  3. Genya says:

    RMS Beauty Un powder is fantastic! It’s one of the few products that really prevent shine for the whole day. My skin used to get so greasy and I applied it quite often as it helped so much to control shine. Now though I am using quite a lot of balancing oils and serums and my skin does not get oily at all, so no need for mattifying powders. But if you need one, RMS Beauty is definitely a good option!

  4. Natalie says:

    @Sussanah and other who have/are going to comment…what brush or kind of brush do you use to put on the setting powder? Also, not a green brand at all but there is a NYX HD Studio Finishing powder that is a fraction of the price of the RMS one and the ingredients are the same, just silica.. http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=xlsImpprod5050061 ..but I’m wondering if there are different ways of processing silica and if the RMS is a higher quality or different form/particle size than the NYX one or is silica just silica? Does anyone know? I’ve also heard silica can be toxic and very bad for your lungs but I think that’s if you breathe it in and the particle size of silica.

  5. Amber says:

    I’ve been using plain silica spheres from Coastal Scents…just a tiny dab under my eyes, so that my mascara doesn’t bleed. But I’d really like to try the W3LL, too. Some of their products are in my daily rotation, so I bet it would also be a favorite.

  6. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Natalie, I think you’ll find those issues addressed in my old post (read comments too) http://nomoredirtylooks.com/2013/01/product-review-rms-beauty-unpowder/

    I use a very soft, light brush and a light touch to apply. Experiment first to make sure you don’t overdo it.

  7. Amber says:

    I use a vegan eye buki brush that I got from Everyday Minerals several years ago. It doesn’t look like they make it anymore. It’s about 5/8″ diameter, which is perfect for under/around eyes.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Has anyone tried both W3LL People’s Realist and the Bio Brightener? I’m wondering how the two compare. I have the Realist and think it wasn’t the best choice for my skin. I have to be really careful when applying it or I find it drying and actually kinda gritty. I’ve also used Christopher Drummond’s Finishing Powder in white before. It worked well for me as a setting powder and shine reducer.

  9. Annette says:

    @Jennifer I have used the Realist and the Bio Brightener. I agree with your assessment of the Realist and I think you will like the Bio Brightener.

    @Natalie I use a big fluffy brush to apply my powder. Like Rebecca, I use a tiny bit and a very light hand.

  10. linda says:

    @Jennifer I believe the Realist recently got reformulated to be finer milled but I haven’t given it a try. I agree with what you said about the original formula though…I’ve tried it in the past and found it gritty and not as ‘smooth’ as the RMS un-powder. I also found it sometimes found its way into my eyes and irritated my contacts. The RMS is my go-to product…so baby fine and smooth. I haven’t tried the tinted version yet but the original works perfectly for me.

  11. Yumi says:

    I’d be lost without my RMS Un Powder! Or at least I would be incredibly shiny haha

  12. Nancy says:

    I foudn the RMS unpowder to work beautifully in terms of finishing, but it is so fine that it moves around too much and gets on my contacts. I had to give it away. Still on the hunt for a very finely milled pressed powder for setting.

  13. Nancy says:

    I found the RMS unpowder to work beautifully in terms of finishing, but it is so fine that it moves around too much and gets on my contacts. I had to give it away. Still on the hunt for a very finely milled pressed powder for setting.

  14. Ophelia says:

    Love this article. My favorite so far is the Jane Iredale Golden Glow loose powder which I use to set my foundation. I have used RMS tinted Un powder but find it dries my skin as well as my foundation even though I do have combination/dry skin.

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