With an effortless sweep of a brush or puff, pressed powders have the power to elevate your makeup routine. Their main mission is to smoothen your complexion, diminish shine, and set your makeup, providing a polished look that can withstand the tests of time and activity.
Applying these wonders isn’t complicated. With a brush or sponge, pick up some powder, then gently pat and blend it onto the skin, especially focusing on oily or shiny areas. Remember, it’s always better to start with less and add more if needed. If you’ve applied too much, simply use a clean brush or sponge to soften the look.
The market offers an array of pressed powders, from simple compacts to multi-shade palettes. Whether you prefer a matte or a luminous finish, a sheer or a pigmented effect, there’s a powder designed to cater to your preference. A well-chosen formula can balance your skin tone, diminish signs of tiredness, and enhance your natural beauty.
Finding the perfect one can be a challenging task, given the vast range of products. That’s why we’ve rigorously tested numerous pressed powders based on their coverage, longevity, finish, and blendability.
Our detailed analysis led us to a select group of products that consistently deliver impressive results. These top-performing powders have demonstrated their ability to provide remarkable coverage and finish while blending harmoniously with various skin types and tones.
Keep scrolling to discover the upper echelons of pressed powders that will redefine your beauty routine, regardless of your skin type or preference.
Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Finish comes in four shades that will work for most fair to deep skin tones.
It’s designed to blur lines and imperfections for a soft focus-finish, and features nourishing ingredients (rose wax, almond oil) to prevent excess shine and brighten the look of your complexion. The product also contains pearlescent pigments that diffuse light as it hits your face.
The powder is a great option for anyone who wants a natural-looking finish without sacrificing coverage. With its blendable texture, it goes on smooth and stays put all day long without settling into fine lines or accentuating dry patches.
This formula evens out your skin tone without looking heavy or cakey—just like you’re wearing nothing at all!
When you’re looking for a pressed powder that can keep up with you, NARS is the way to go.
The brand’s Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder is lightweight and easy to blend, which means it’s perfect for touch-ups or use on the go. It also optimizes light reflection on your skin, fading fine lines and wrinkles while giving you a luminous finish.
The four shades are translucent, so they won’t leave you with a heavy, cakey look if you apply too much product. The formula is dermatologist tested and won’t clog pores, so no matter what type of skin you have, this product will work for you!
“I really loved this pressed powder because it has a shimmer to it, and when you use a powder puff or brush, you can barely see it in the brush due to how light and translucent it is,” explained one tester.
3. Tarte Cosmetics Shape Tape™ Pressed Powder
Tarte’s Shape Tape Pressed Powder is a foundation that can be used alone or over foundation for extra coverage.
It helps cover redness, hyperpigmentation, and blemishes. The clay helps balance skin, and the peptides help soften the appearance of fine lines and pores. This product is ideal for oily and combination skin and has the most extensive range of shades available.
The product comes with a dry sponge, which makes it easy to apply to the skin. It also blends well with other products as well as liquid foundations.
According to reviews, “It covers wonderfully and is lightweight at the same time. Perfectly matte with no shine or oily look to it at all.”
There’s no better way to get that natural look than with MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish Natural
This product provides sheer coverage, which is perfect for contouring or adding dimension to your face. It gives you a dimensional yet natural finish, so you can get away with using it on its own or underneath your foundation.
The best thing about this product is its ability to work on a wide variety of skin tones. That means that even if you’re a little darker or lighter than the average person, this powder will still work for you! Plus, it doesn’t cause acne, so you know it’s safe for your sensitive skin.
The next generation of powder foundation is here—and it’s Fenty Beauty’s Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Powder Foundation.
This lightweight, long-wear formula delivers light to full coverage and a soft matte finish that won’t cake up or settle into fine lines. It blends seamlessly into your skin and never looks heavy or unnatural. And it’s available in 50 shades for all skin tones!
The secret to the product’s success is the way it layers and builds coverage without ever looking cakey, heavy, or unnatural. You can use one layer for a sheer finish that minimizes shine and keeps your skin looking natural, or build it up for more coverage where you need it most (like around the nose).
According to reviews, “For me, it’s the perfect mix of two products. It’s transparent, has a natural look, and stays for hours.”
This powder is the perfect setting tool for your makeup routine. It’s quick to apply, light on your skin, and gives you a natural finish.
Westman Atelier’s Vital Pressed Skincare Blurring Setting Powder is packed with protective and skin-refining actives, which provide an immediate diffused look. The quinoa seed extract minimizes the look of pores and retexturizes the look of your skin, while vitamin C neutralizes free radicals and visibly evens tone.
Then there are the probiotics—they enhance your skin’s natural defense mechanisms so that you can get through anything life throws at you.
This powder is so lightweight that it feels like wearing nothing at all—it’s perfect for days when you don’t feel like wearing makeup or just want to freshen up after a long night out. You can use it to set foundation or concealer, or just to make sure your T-zone doesn’t look greasy in photos (we’ve all been there).
Armani Beauty’s Luminous Silk Glow Setting Powder is a great way to give your makeup look a little extra oomph.
It’s translucent, so it melts into your skin and provides a radiant finish—but not too much of one! This allows you to layer the product on top of other powders for extra coverage when you need it.
The powder transforms into a skin-matching veil of sheer coverage that won’t cake or settle into fine lines. And because it’s lightweight enough to layer, you can apply as much or as little as you need!
On the pricier side? Yes. But worth every penny!
This is the perfect product for the beauty-obsessed girl on the go.
Laura Mercier’s Translucent Pressed Setting Powder is a compact, convenient way to touch up your makeup throughout the day. It’s available in two shades designed to work on virtually all skin tones, so you can be sure that you’ll find one that works for you.
The powder has a matte finish and sheer coverage—perfect if you’re looking for something that will help blur the appearance of pores or imperfections while still leaving your skin looking natural. It sets makeup for up to 12 hours wear without weight or texture, wears comfortably, and helps control shine.
It comes with a velour puff applicator and can be used in the morning and at night to set your foundation for long-lasting wear.
Meet the newest addition to your makeup bag: IT Cosmetics’ Pressed Pore Minimizing Setting Powder.
This pressed powder is designed to blur the appearance of pores and imperfections while giving your skin a natural matte finish for younger-looking skin. It’s perfect for wearing under makeup or on bare skin—and because it comes in three shades, there’s no doubt that you’ll find one that matches your skin tone perfectly!
You can apply this throughout the day for on-the-go touch-ups or use it as blotting powder when things get shiny. The formula is formulated with skin-loving silk, hydrolyzed collagen, and antioxidants, so you know it’s doing good things for your skin — not just covering it up!
This pressed powder from ONE/SIZE is definitely one of our new favorites. It’s a true, creamy color that really delivers customized coverage.
You can use it to blot excess oil, set foundation, and touch up your complexion throughout the day—but it also adds a soft matte blur to your skin. The base is incredibly buttery, and the pigments are true-color.
The packaging is simple and sleek, which makes it easy to throw in your purse or makeup kit for on-the-go touch-ups.
“This is the best coverage I’ve ever had in a pressed powder. The color match is excellent. The application is smooth and easy,” explained one tester.
What to Look for in Pressed Powder
Formula and Finish
Pressed powders come in different formulas to cater to various skin types. Those with oily skin may prefer mattifying powders that control shine and provide a smoother look, while those with dry skin may opt for hydrating powders that provide a natural, dewy finish. The best pressed powders blur imperfections without caking, delivering a flawless finish.
A broad shade range is a must when considering a pressed powder. Look for brands that offer an inclusive range of shades that cater to all skin tones. It’s essential to match your skin tone perfectly to avoid a chalky or unnatural finish. When possible, test the powder on your jawline to see if it blends seamlessly.
Packaging and Portability
Good pressed powder isn’t just about the product—it’s also about its packaging. Look for powders that come in sturdy, well-designed compacts that are easy to carry around for touch-ups. Bonus points for those that include a mirror and an application sponge or puff.
Pressed powders that contain skin-nourishing ingredients are a big plus. Look for those enriched with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help improve your skin’s health over time. Some even have SPF to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Avoid powders with harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances that can irritate sensitive skin.
Longevity and Wear
Finally, consider how long the pressed powder lasts on your skin. High-quality powders should provide several hours of wear before needing a touch-up. The best options resist sweat and humidity, keeping you looking fresh all day. Remember, your skin’s oil production can affect the longevity of your makeup, so choose a product that suits your skin type.
What is pressed powder?
Pressed powder is a type of makeup product used to help set foundation, control oil and shine, and even out skin tone. It comes in a compact form, making it convenient for on-the-go touch-ups throughout the day. Pressed powder can be available in various shades to match different skin tones, and there are also translucent options that don’t add any color to the skin.
What is pressed powder used for?
The primary use of pressed powder is to set your makeup and create a smooth, matte finish. It helps to lock your foundation in place and absorb excess oil, preventing your makeup from sliding or wearing off throughout the day. Additionally, it can be used for quick touch-ups to combat shine or oiliness.
Is pressed powder the same thing as setting powder?
Setting powder and pressed powder essentially serve the same purpose—to set your makeup and control oil and shine. The main difference is in their form: setting powder typically comes in a loose, finely milled form, while pressed powder is compact. Some people find that loose setting powders provide a more lightweight, natural finish and are ideal for “baking” (a technique used to set makeup for a long-lasting and crease-free finish), while others prefer the portability and ease of application of a pressed powder.
How do you apply pressed powder?
To apply pressed powder, you’ll typically use a powder brush or puff. If you’re using a brush, lightly swirl it in the powder, tap off any excess, and then sweep it across your face, focusing on areas that tend to get oily, such as the T-zone (the forehead, nose, and chin). If you’re using a puff, you can press and roll the powder onto the skin for more coverage. Always start with a small amount and build up if necessary—you can always add more, but it’s harder to remove excess powder without disturbing the rest of your makeup.