To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Best translucent powders in 2023: Lock in makeup so it lasts all day

Meet the complexion-perfecting powders for every skin type

Pick the best translucent powder, and not only will you be shine-free, but you can rest assured that your makeup won’t melt, staying in place through the day. And when you consider that we expect our foundation to smooth pores and fine lines, eradicate shine and redness and, essentially, be the perfect face-saver, why see all that work slide off your face by lunchtime, because you didn’t set it in place with the right setting powder?

What you don’t want, however, is a product that will leave your base looking cakey, or your face chalky, with a ghost-like white cast. So, to help you out, we’ve put translucent powders from some of the biggest names in cosmetics through their paces, with some formulations so advanced you won’t even know you’re wearing them. But before we get to our pick of the best, read our guide to choosing the right product for your skin type and how best to apply translucent powder for the perfect finish.

READ NEXT: The best eyebrow gels

Best translucent powders: At a glance

How to choose the best translucent powder for you

What is a translucent powder?

Translucent powder is usually a colourless white powder, so called because it applies without any pigment. Usually applied to smooth the skin, reduce shine and absorb excess oil, it also has brightening properties, so works well beneath the eyes to minimise shadows, as well as on and around the nose and chin to blur pores.

How do you apply translucent powder?

As with any powder, the less-is-more approach is best. Dip your powder brush into the product, dust off the excess and apply as needed. Some products come with a powder-puff to work in the product, but you can opt for a slim brush for focusing on specific areas.

What’s the difference between a translucent powder and a setting powder?

Setting powders are designed to offer more coverage than a translucent powder; they’re almost like an extra layer of makeup. Translucent powders, on the other hand, work to ensure your base looks smooth and well blended. Note that white translucent powders won’t be for everyone, though. While for the most part they’re designed not to alter the colour of your foundation or liquid base since they’re see-through, there’s a danger of them looking ashy on dark or black skin. In this instance, powders that are available in a range of sheer shades are likely to be best – and we’ve included them in our roundup below.

How we test translucent powder

We trial a wide range of bestselling powders over the course of a week to see which ones deliver on their promise to keep our base makeup firmly in place. In the interest of fairness, we use each one on top of the same foundation. Avoiding the urge to top up throughout the day, we note everything from the texture and finish to its ability to blur pores, control shine and how long it takes before makeup looks less than fresh. To help you pick the perfect product, we also note the shade range and pack size of each one.

READ NEXT: The best matte foundations

The best translucent powders you can buy in 2023

1. Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder: Best overall translucent powder

Price: £41 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

With its super-fine, light-reflecting particles that effectively blur blemishes and pores, Hourglass Cosmetics’ Veil powder promises nothing less than an airbrushed finish – and it really does deliver as the smoothest, easiest-to-apply powder we tried.

We tested it over everything from liquid concealer and Chanel’s Water-Fresh Tint to bare skin, and it blends and covers so your complexion looks perfected – but still real and not at all chalky. It’s even infused with diamond powder to impart a slight shimmer without going over the top. The packaging dispenses just the right amount of product, too.

Key specs – Pack size: 10.5g; Shade range: 1

Buy now from Cult Beauty

2. RMS Beauty Un-Powder: Best mattifying translucent powder

Price: £34 | Buy now from Space NK

A quick dusting of this ultra-fine formula immediately takes away any shine and imparts a weightless, soft-focus-like finish on even the oiliest of skin. And it lasts for hours! We tried the radiance-enhancing translucent powder, but it also comes in three other shades, all of which are designed to smooth and balance the complexion.

We also found it was great at counteracting any redness, while its brightening effects come minus the white cast to which some powders are prone. It arrives in a super-compact tin, with a cute little puff that’s ideal for touching up on the go.

Key specs – Pack size: 9g; Shade range: 4

Buy now from Space NK

3. Westman Atelier Vital Pressed Skincare Powder: Best for added skincare benefits

Price: £69 | Buy now from Selfridges

If you’re looking for something ultra-light but still offers a matte finish, then a pressed compact might be a better (and more convenient for on-the-go) option. One dusting of this micro-milled powder from celebrity makeup artist Gucci Westman instantly evens out skin tone and sweeps away any shine, with its feather-light texture offering a natural, second skin-like finish.

What makes this powder extra special, however, is its ability to improve skin over time. Packed with vitamin C and probiotics, it will protect skin from daily environmental stressors, while quinoa extract helps to minimise the look of pores. Alongside the translucent powder, the range comprises three tinted powders and a pink-toned brightening option, too.

Key specs – Pack size: 5g; Shade range: 5

Buy now from Selfridges

4. Supergoop! (Re)Setting Powder SPF 30: Best SPF-infused formula

Price: £28 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

If you’re prone to oily skin and breakouts, particularly in the warmer months when we’re encouraged to reapply our sunscreen every few hours, then this part-powder, part-mineral SPF will be your new best friend. Not only does it manage to keep foundation in place (no mean feat on hot, sticky summer days), but it gently blurs and absorbs oil to deliver a non-ashy matte finish.

It works just as well over bare skin, too, gently colour-correcting and reducing shine. It’s everything you could want on a warm summer’s day, when the last thing you want to do is reapply a tacky SPF over your carefully applied makeup. The handy applicator makes it easy for topping up on the go, too.

Key specs – Pack size: 4.25g | Shade range: 1

Buy now from Cult Beauty

5. Huda Beauty Easy Bake Loose Powder: Best for long-lasting makeup

Price: £31 | Buy now from Feel Unique

If you’re looking for a powder that has staying power, Huda Beauty’s Easy Bake could well become a staple in your makeup kit. There’s the translucent Sugar Cookie hue, which we’d suggest works best for brightening fairer skin tones, as well as seven other sheer shades – so there’s sure to be one that works for you.

The range has been inspired by makeup artist Huda Kattan’s belief that “baking” (the act of applying a liquid base and a powder, waiting a few minutes, and then brushing it off) is the best way to achieve a flawless finish, but this multipurpose product worked just as well when used as a radiance-enhancing powder, ever so subtly colour-correcting and leaving a translucent veil that was both matte and luminous.

We were also impressed with how long it lasted – it kept our tester’s makeup in place for a solid 10 hours.

Key specs – Pack size: 20g; Shade range: 8

Buy now from Feel Unique

6. By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder: Best translucent powder for mature skin

Price: £42 | Buy now from Look Fantastic

If your skin is prone to dryness, you might understandably be hesitant about wearing powder. For mature skin types in particular, this can be an issue, with makeup prone to settling into fine lines and wrinkles – highlighting areas you might otherwise want to hide.

This weightless powder is infused with hyaluronic acid to deliver deep hydration while delivering a plump, silky finish and strengthening the skin’s protective barrier. We found it brilliant for mattifying shine around the nose and chin, never over-drying, leaving a ghost-like cast or impacting the colour of the foundation beneath.

Key specs – Pack size: 10g; Shade range: 1

Buy now from Look Fantastic

7. Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder: Best translucent powder for dark skins

Price: £34 | Buy now from Boots

This cult favourite has amassed tens of thousands of five-star reviews from all over the world – and for good reason. Not only does it go on completely translucent, evening out the skin’s texture in one sweep, but it has a divinely silky, natural-looking finish – and the finely milled powder is completely weightless.

We tried both the Translucent shade and Translucent Medium-Deep for darker skin tones (pictured). Both delivered seriously good coverage for 12 hours, and there was zero dreaded photo-flashback with either product. It also works well dusted onto bare skin to help tamp down unwanted shine. One for your beauty arsenal that’s worth the hype, whatever your skin tone.

Key specs – Pack size: 29g; Shade range: 3

Buy now from Boots

Read more

Best Buys