7 best setting powders for black skin
Find your perfect shade match, avoid chalkiness and combat excess shine with our top pick
No matter how many times celebrity makeup artists and beauty editors declare that dewy skin is in, some of us still can’t let go of the urge to carry setting powder with us wherever we go. It’s my failsafe make up item. With just a trusty powder and a lip balm, I can feel adequately ‘made up’ to present myself to the world.
M.A.C Studio Fix Powder in shade NW45 was my first initiation into the world of pressed powders. It still holds a soft spot in my heart, being one of the first brands I can recall that provided an accurate colour match to suit my mid-dark skin complexion. So how has the market fared since then? We’ve tested powders from an array of brands and whittled it down to the seven best formulations.
Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Pressed Powder, £30, bobbibrown.co.uk
We felt that this gave the most matte finish of all the powders tested, which for excess shine phobes like us, was perfect. The formula was very sheer and finely milled – it appeared almost translucent, working with our skin as opposed to camouflaging it.
Although it comes with a powder puff, we felt the results were better using a brush; our tester simply swept over her face in a gentle motion and achieved a perfectly set but natural finish. Due to the product’s sheer quality, and the fact you only require a small amount for optimum results, this product scored highly in terms of product longevity and value for money.
My Perfect shade: Basic Brown
Make Up Forever Ultra HD Compact Powder, £26, Debenhams
For our fellow dark skinned make up wearers – don’t be alarmed by the rosy shade of peach that this powder presents to you. Despite the bright colour, it’s actually quite translucent once applied – the powder complemented our tester’s skin tone by lightly covering her blemishes and oily spots.
It’s extremely light in consistency, so much so that you can apply generously and still avoid looking chalky. Ultra HD is also formulated with hyaluronic acid, so feels very comforting to the skin.
My Perfect shade: Peach
BareMinerals BarePro Performance Wear Powder Foundation: £27, Feel Unique
For those who aren’t particularly enthused by the process of having to apply foundation and powder separately, this formulation by BareMinerals is the perfect solution. Acting as a foundation and a finishing powder all in one, BarePro Performance Powder Foundation makes the job of makeup application a seamless one.
It’s packaged like a conventional powder in a compact case, and upon opening, it looks and feels like a traditional powder too. But you really feel the difference upon application, it glided onto our skin and instantly covered all blemishes and imperfections. The colour pigmentation is intense, but still light enough to make your skin feel breathable. It’s formulated with 90 per cent vitamins and minerals, and promises to improve the clarity of your skin, reduce pore size and control shine. So far we feel that it has lived up to all its claims.
My perfect shade: Hazelnut 25
Smashbox – Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder, £32 – smashbox.co.uk
This is a loose powder formula which comes with a handy twisted top that helps you shave off just the right amount of product (although our tester was a bit heavy handed with her first attempt). The loose powder format allows you to build as you go along, and the colour matched our tester’s medium-brown skin tone perfectly, providing a matte finish.
Our tester observed that there were loose particles left over after applying, which have a tendency to smudge the compact mirror that comes with it – this meant she had to continually clear it up every time she used the compact. Despite this minor glitch, for a lightweight powder that can be worn on its own or over your foundation, our tester felt that this is a quality product.
My perfect shade: Medium/Dark
M.A.C Mineralize Skinfinish Natural Powder: £25.50, Look Fantastic
M.A.C Mineralize Skinfinish Natural is one of the more recent additions to the brand’s portfolio. We felt it certainly had a luxurious feel compared to its predecessors, both in terms of packaging and the look and feel of the product. At first glance we felt it looked more akin to a highlighter due to the small particles of shimmer that are apparent.
But it works much in the same way conventional powders do: it mattifies the skin, absorbs excess oil and conceals blemishes. The aforementioned pearlised particles add a subtle glow and warmth to the skin, and with the inclusion of vitamin E and mineral complex, the product gives a satin like finish.
My perfect shade: Dark
LA Girl Pro Face HD Matte Pressed Powder: £6, Beauty Bay
For a budget buy we were really impressed with LA Girl PRO Face. The colour accuracy is spot on and the pigmentation is super rich, providing more than enough coverage for our tester’s blemishes. She applied in the morning to set her foundation and didn’t require a touch up for at least two-three hours.
Our tester claims it gives off quite a natural finish despite being a high-definition matte powder that offers such longevity. Crucially, there are at least four shades available for dark skin tones, ranging from Warm Caramel to Cocoa.
My perfect shade: Warm Caramel
BlackUP Anti Shine Powder: £23, blackup.co.uk
The first thing our tester noted about this powder was how brilliant the colour match was. She describes her complexion as light-medium toned black and says she has struggled to find a powder that was just right: not too chalky, not too reddish in tone. She applied Anti Shine Powder on top of a medium-coverage foundation that often left her face looking a bit dewy.
Our tester was impressed by the shine-free, matte finish results yielded. The product is formulated with spherical powders, which helps to keep shine at bay, and also contains ingredients that lends to a soft focus, so it doesn’t look overly powdery. It’s also a loose powder formula with a fine texture, which our tester felt helped her to blend-in effectively.
My perfect shade: NPL O2
The Verdict: Best setting powders for black skin
The shine-busting magical qualities of Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Pressed Powder made it the undisputed winner for us. We really feel that it can be worn on its own without even needing to wear foundation. It’s gorgeous on dark skin tones, and provides just enough colour to give a natural looking glow.
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