Best setting powders to keep oily t-zones under control

Tried and tested–the best setting powders to keep your make-up in place

Included in this guide:

best setting powders
(Image credit: Future)

Finding the best setting powder is life-changing for those with oily skin. Taking unwanted shine off and keeping your base looking flawless seems impossible when your skin produces too much sebum but these setting powders will do just that.

Once you’ve found the best foundation for your skin type and you’ve figured out how to keep greasiness under control with skincare for oily skin, you’ll inevitably want to keep your makeup look in one place for longer than 5 minutes before it slides down your face! Enter the trusty setting powder.

If setting powders conjure up memories of chalky, cakey formulas from the past, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by modern offerings. Face powders have come a long way and have undergone a transformation from dusty and drying to hydrating, smoothing and skin-enhancing. 

With most now being infused with skincare properties like hyaluronic acid and blurring pigments, not only will these powders keep unwanted oiliness at bay, they will also care for your skin and leave you looking flawless. They're an excellent addition to your makeup kit

The best setting powders, as chosen by our experts

Ysl all hours powder

(Image credit: YSL)

1. YSL All Hours Powder

Best for oily skin

RRP : £39/$48
Shades : 12 (1 universal)
Reasons to buy
+Long-lasting mattifying effect+Buildable coverage+Blurring effect
Reasons to avoid

When your skin is oily, it can be a struggle to keep your base flawless without touching up and although the best skincare routine for your age will help, a light dusting of this powder over oily areas will keep your skin matte and shine-free all day.

This powder gives longevity real meaning and stays well throughout the day and evening. It feels lovely and light on the skin, doesn’t cake or settle into fine lines and the packaging feels incredibly luxurious. If you’re excessively oily, you may need one touch up but generally, its huge claims of perfect 24-hour wear, do hold up (though, who wears makeup for 24 hours?)

Without a doubt, this setting powder will defy even the shiniest of foreheads. 

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder

(Image credit: Charlotte Tilbury)

2. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder

Best for minimising pores

RRP: £35/$25
Shades : 4
Reasons to buy
+The blurring effect covers pores+Natural finish+A little goes a long way+Makes skin appear luminous
Reasons to avoid
-Not as long lasting-Pricey-Limited shades

When you only need a small amount of powder and you’re looking for imperceptible coverage this Tilbury powder is unbeatable. The blurring effect it has on the skin makes pores disappear but still allows the skin to be seen. 

The light-reflecting particles give a certain luminosity to the skin, not leaving it looking flat or dull like other setting powders. The only drawback? The limited shade range, which does, arguably, adjust to suit the majority of skin tones. 

Though this powder's shade range is small, the formula is fantastic which is why we think it's one of the best setting powders. If you find your skin becoming only a little oily through the center of the face and you need a setting powder to get you through the day, opt for this one. The brilliantly natural finish will leave you questioning why you didn’t try it before. 

Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder

(Image credit: Laura Mercier )

3. Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder

Best for a natural look

RRP: £32/$23
Shades: 4 (1 universal)
Reasons to buy
+Natural finish+Doesn't cake+Finely milled formula 
Reasons to avoid
-Limited shades

This finely milled loose powder comes in 4 shades (one being universal) so although the shade range is small, there should be something to suit every skin tone. The lightweight formula is so fine that one dusting over areas of excess shine and you’ll see instantly mattified skin that looks natural, not flat. 

It’s not often a setting powder achieves cult status but this particular one has proven itself to be one of the best. Its light-diffusing properties make it a popular choice for brides and it is often found in make-up artists’ kits. 

If you need an undetectable setting powder that goes the distance, keeps you shine-free without caking or settling into fine lines this is your go-to. 

ByTerry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder

(Image credit: ByTerry)

4. By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder

Best for mature skin

RRP: £42/$50
Shades : 1 (also comes in a tinted version with 8 shades)
Reasons to buy
+Hydrating+Finely milled formula+Natural finish
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey-Limited shades

If thinking of setting powders gives you flashbacks to drying, chalky memories of past formulas, think again. This hyaluronic acid-infused powder gives setting powders a new name. 

Feeling hydrating and comforting on the skin, this mattifying powder will take down shine but leave the skin looking beautifully radiant. The perfect companion for mature skin as it doesn't emphasize lines, make the skin look dusty or completely flatten the realness of your natural skin. 

It's best used with a small, precise fluffy brush and applied sparingly to get that au naturel finish. 

Gucci Poudre De Beauté Matte Compact Powder

(Image credit: Gucci)

5. Gucci Poudre De Beauté Matte Compact Powder

Best for radiance

RRP: £46/$64
Shades: 12
Reasons to buy
+Radiant finish+Beautiful packaging+Lightweight formula+Lovely fragrance
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey-May not be suitable for sensitive skin-Contains shimmer

Exuding vintage luxury with its chunky, gold-trimmed casing, this Gucci setting powder is undoubtedly the most beautiful of our selection. But, this product shouldn't just take pride of place on a dressing table, its clever, lightweight formula is perfect for setting your base and keeping excess shine at bay. 

Soft-focus pigments and an ever-so-slight shimmer mean your skin still looks healthy rather than flat and the added floral fragrance is a nice touch (though, sensitive skin types will want to avoid!)

It's a pricey product but because the packaging is exquisite, we consider this an investment piece!

Bare Minerals Original Mineral Veil Pressed Setting Powder

(Image credit: Bare Minerals )

6. Bare Minerals Original Mineral Veil Pressed Setting Powder

Best for clean beauty fans

RRP: £26/$29
Shades: 5 (1 universal)
Reasons to buy
+Talc-free formula+Under £30+Big compact mirror+Vegan friendly 
Reasons to avoid
-Limited shades-Could be drying

While we recommend this as the best setting powder for clean beauty fans, it's also one of the best for vegans too. But the talc-free, vegan formula of this product makes a lovely addition to any make-up bag in need of setting powder. Pressed with a huge mirror in the compact it's easy to mattify troublesome areas on the go. 

The price isn't particularly budget-friendly but for under £30, it does feel luxurious and weighty. 

It does a great job of taking shine out of the skin but overdo it and you could end up with some degree of caking. Our advice is to use a light hand and only apply it where you really need it to avoid the skin looking flat. 

Vichy dermablend powder

(Image credit: Vichy)

7. Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder

Best for ultra-matte skin

RRP: £18/$25
Shades : 1 universal
Reasons to buy
+Very mattifying+Water-resistant +Hypoallergenic
Reasons to avoid
-Limited shades-Can look ashy on deep skin tones

Swapping to skincare for oily skin can improve the longevity of your make-up but a decent setting powder is going to be your best shot at keeping a flawless base for longer and this one from Vichy is a game-changer. 

Not only is it incredibly mattifying with a water-resistant finish, but it's also hypoallergenic and suitable for even sensitive skin types. Just use with caution as it's easy to overdo it with this powder and it can end up looking a little bit ashy on deeper skin tones. 

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder

(Image credit: IT Cosmetics)

8. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder

Best for acne-prone skin

RRP: £26/$16
Shades : 1 universal
Reasons to buy
+Price+Natural finish+Mattifying formula+Blurs pores
Reasons to avoid
-Limited shades-A little drying

Oily or acne-prone skin will love this formula. It's certainly mattifying but, it goes on quite sheer to allow for a natural finish. The translucent color is great on every skin color and won't go chalky but you may find you need to touch up areas like the T-Zone which are prone to producing more oil. 

The airbrushing formula does a great job of blurring enlarged pores and you're sure to notice a difference in the overall appearance of your skin but it's more suited to oily skin types as it can be a little too mattifying for dry skin.  

Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder

(Image credit: Hourglass)

9. Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder

Best for dry skin

RRP: £45/$40
Shades: 1 universal
Reasons to buy
+Natural finish+Buildable+Hydrating
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey-Limited shades-Not hugely mattifying

Though some make-up artists suggest that those with dry skin should stay away from powder altogether, there are times when you need your make-up to have extra staying power. This is where Hourglass' latest launch comes in. It's the perfect setting powder for dry skin where oiliness and shine aren't a huge concern.

The blurring, finely-milled formula is great for setting foundation and concealer without leaving the skin dull and flat. It leaves a satin, silky feel to the skin which looks and feels natural, rather than dusty from chalkier formulas. 

Its huge drawback is the shade range. One shade that claims to be universal doesn't seem good enough for such a known brand. If you have a deeper skin tone, be wary and test it before purchasing to ensure it doesn't go ashy on you. 

Estée Lauder Perfecting Loose Powder

(Image credit: Estée Lauder)

10. Estée Lauder Perfecting Loose Powder

Best for using on its own

RRP: £32/$44
Shades: 3 (1 universal)
Reasons to buy
+Mattifying+Great on its own+Finely milled formula
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey-Drying-Doesn't sit well on top of foundation

If you don't wear a lot of make-up and avoid using foundations or tinted moisturizers but you want to avoid looking like an oil-slick, try this setting powder. 

It's got brilliant staying power, an unrivaled ability to control shine, and is fantastic for use on its own. Of course, a larger shade range would be preferred but the translucent shade does seem suitable on most skin tones. 

As suggested, it's a setting powder to be used alone as it doesn't tend to sit very well on creamy base products. It can leave them looking cakey and settling into lines so if you're a foundation wearer, beware, but for minimalists, it can work incredibly well.

We suggest a light touch too, the finely milled formula tends to float away so to avoid wasting product on your dressing table (or carpet!) try swirling your brush in the cap rather than the pot.  

Setting powder application tips

Once you have bought one of the best setting powders, getting it to look flawless on the skin is all in the application and using the right tool for the job. 

  • Apply sparingly: Go minimal and only apply powder to the areas you need it. These are typically the T-Zone areas like the nose, forehead, and chin. This technique will set your makeup into place, stop it from creasing and keep it flawless all day without aging you. 
  • Use a medium-sized brush: You want to avoid caking your face in powder with a sponge as this can make skin look excessively dry and emphasize any lines. Beyoncé’s makeup artist, Sir John, swears by using setting powders sparingly and applying with a brush. “Powder can be dry and crease, which is really counterproductive and automatically ages you so, use a medium-sized fluffy brush and a loose powder to set any concealer or foundation you apply,” he says. This will ensure a thin, evenly distributed layer of product and allow for a more natural finish on the skin. We recommend investing in the best makeup brushes you can afford for the best finish.
  • Start slow and build up: Even simple, easy makeup looks can be ruined with heavy-handed powder application so, start slow and build up if needed. Having said that, one of the best ways to avoid applying too much powder is to look at what base you're using. If you have oily skin, use the best foundation for oily skin rather than a dewy, radiance-enhancing alternative. This will give your base some longevity from the off! 
Emma North
Emma North

Emma North is the Beauty Writer at Future Publishing working across print and digital titles including woman&home, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own, Chat and GoodtoKnow. 

Before pursuing a career in beauty journalism, Emma worked as international cabin crew for over 4 years. Travelling around the globe and working night flights across several time zones at once, she is the perfect person to judge whether makeup and skincare claims actually hold up. If you want to know which foundations last 18+ hours or how to keep your lipstick looking flawless in 40º weather, she’s your go-to girl. 

Emma’s flying career came to an end when she realised that beauty journalism was her true passion and she undertook internships across publications including Vogue, Elle, The Telegraph and Glamour. She was then taken under the wing of Funmi Fetto, Contributing Beauty Editor at Vogue where Emma assisted with Funmi’s debut beauty book, Palette. 

Her big passion is finding truly beneficial skincare but, when she’s not testing out the latest products, you’ll find her trying to muscle her way into London’s best restaurants or relaxing at home in Devon with her dogs.