Finishing powders are the secret to skin that looks Facetuned in real life. HD powders have a magic-like blurring effect that gives the skin a flawless look. If you’ve been struggling with texture and visible pores peeking through your foundation, then an HD powder might be exactly what you need. Finishing powders are rarely worn every day – instead, they are usually picked up before special events, or in preparation for photoshoots.
In this post, I have listed all of the best finishing powders for you to choose from. I also explain what finishing powders are, and how they differ from other makeup products like setting powders and sprays. I’ll help you choose the right finishing powder for you based on the different skin types, and will explain how to use HD powders to get skin that looks airbrushed.
Best HD/ Finishing Powders to Try: Contents
• 17 Best Finishing Powders for an Airbrushed Look
• What Is Finishing Powder?
• Finishing Powder vs. Setting Powder vs. Makeup Setting Spray
• The Different Types of Finishing Powders
• How to Use Finishing Powder
First things first, these are 17 of the best finishing powders you can get on the market now.
1. Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder
This HD powder is a two-in-one product that gives that gorgeous photo-focus finish to the skin while also setting makeup and increasing its longevity. If you have oily skin, then this is one of the best finishing powders for you. It contains kaolin clay to absorb excess oils, so it keeps the skin looking matte all day long. You can buy it from Sephora.
2. Too Faced Peach Blur Translucent Smoothing Finishing Powder
Don’t let the peachy shade fool you – this is actually one of the best finishing powders you can find. It contains optical correcting spheres to refract light and color correct, to give the skin a smooth, lightly matte finish. A delicate touch is all it takes to get the most out of this peach-scented powder. It is available for sale at Sephora.
3. Charlotte Tilbury Air Brush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder
This nourishing powder formula diffuses light for an airbrushed skin finish that is super light on the skin. It is made with nanoparticles and a moisturizing touch of almond oil, which is perfect for drier skin types. It comes in a convenient and beautiful pressed compact. Pick it up from Nordstrom.
4. Yves Saint Laurent Lumiere Divine Highlighting Finishing Powder Palette
If the word combination “subtle glow” fills you with inspiration, then definitely consider trying this finishing powder. This is one of the best finishing powders for those who want a dewy, diffused look to their skin. It has a golden undertone, so use it sparingly for a perfect complexion. You can purchase it at Sephora.
5. Bareminerals bareSkin PERFECTING VEIL Finishing Powder
This finishing powder has the lightest touch and a matte finish. It gives the skin a flawless finish, and can even double as a light setting powder. It’s best for combination and oily skin types. It even includes some antioxidant ingredients to give the skin added protection. It is sold at Sephora.
6. Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder
Light and demi-matte, this finishing powder is an excellent choice for all skin types. It blurs imperfections, and can also lightly set your makeup. This finishing powder has a bit of coverage, so it can even be used on its own. You can buy it online from Nordstrom.
7. NYX Professional Makeup HD Finishing Powder
This is one of the best HD powders, and it’s totally affordable. It softens the appearance of fine lines and larger pores, while giving the skin a matte finish that is ideal for normal and oily skin types. It comes pressed into a compact, with three shades to choose from, so you can also use it for color correction. Pick it up at Ulta.
8. Stellar Cosmic Face Haze Finishing Powder
This is another option for two-in-one setting and finishing powders. It lightly sets makeup, but gives the skin a radiant and perfected finish that is hard to rival. It look absolutely gorgeous in photos, and works beautifully for all skin types. You can buy it at Sephora.
9. Mineral Essence Finishing Powder – Magic Finish
This mineral finishing powder is a great natural choice for that perfected skin finish. It is loaded with anti-aging ingredients, so it is fabulous to use over makeup or alone. It gives the skin a radiant yet matte look that works for most skin types. It is available for sale online at Dermstore.
10. Ilia Soft Focus Finishing Powder
This is one of the few talc-free options on our list of the best finishing powders, so it photographs beautifully. It comes in the form of a loose powder. This natural powder is made with corn starch to give the skin a matte, diffused look. It is enriched with hydrating botanical extracts to prevent dryness, and is ideal for all skin types. If you’d like to try it, find it at Sephora.
11. Algenist Color Correcting Finishing Powder
Opt for a lit-from-within glow with this finishing powder! Don’t let the intense color scare you – this pressed powder is mostly translucent, providing the skin with a touch of color correction along with that much coveted blurred effect. It has an algae complex to also make the skin healthier. It’s a fabulous choice for dry and normal skin types. It is sold directly through Sephora.
12. It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Anti-Aging Finishing Powder
You can always trust It Cosmetics to knock it out of the park with their complexion products, and this finishing powder is no different. It hides wrinkles and pores alike, and fortifies the skin with a collection of anti-aging ingredients. It is light and super well-milled, so it works for all skin types. You can find it at Ulta.
13. Tom Ford Translucent Finishing Powder
This finishing powder has been described as buttery smooth and completely skin-perfecting. It goes on the skin oh-so-softly, and gives a demi-matte finish. It works for all skin types, and can even double as a setting powder for those with dry skin. The packaging is totally gorgeous, as a bonus. It is sold through Sephora.
14. Jane Iredale Amazing Matte Loose Finishing Powder
This is one of the best finishing powders for natural makeup lovers with all kinds of skin types. It is made with mattifying rice powder and mica, to perfect the skin and keep it looking soft and natural. It is available for purchase at Nordstrom.
15. Maybelline Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder
With this HD powder, you can look flawless without breaking the bank. It’s a finely milled loose powder that perfects the skin while also lightly mattifying it, so it is best for normal, combination, and oily skin types. Pick it up at Ulta.
16. By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder
This is the best finishing powder to try if you live in a humid climate and find yourself constantly dealing with cakey foundation. In this formula, silica’s blurring effects are enhanced by skin-plumping and hydrating hyaluronic acid. It airbrushes the skin while helping to keep it supple and healthy. You can buy it online through Dermstore.
17. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder
I’ve saved the best for last. After all, it’s not fair to list all the best finishing powders without mentioning the original illuminating one! These gently glowy powders from Hourglass give that airbrushed look with a hint of luminosity that is dewey, natural, and gorgeous. They are especially great for normal and dry skin. They are available at Sephora.
Also known as an HD powder, a finishing powder is a makeup powder that is meant to give the skin a blurred effect. These powders can come pressed into a compact or sitting loose in a shake jar.
HD powders are usually made up of powder or minerals that have light-refracting properties. Thanks to those minerals the powders create a photo-focus effect where texture issues like larger pores and fine lines appear minimized or totally disappear.
Finishing powders and HD powders can do the following:
• They blur the skin to minimize the look of larger pores.
• They reflect light in order to make the skin appear more youthful and less wrinkled.
• Finishing powders can minimize the look of texture in the skin.
• Some finishing powders will help lightly mattify the skin, while others can give it a more luminous finish.
• They work as light setting powders for those whose skin is too dry for traditional setting powders.
The primary purpose of finishing powders and HD powders is to perfect the look of the skin, as a nearly-final step in the makeup routine. They can be applied alone or over a setting powder.
Unlike finishing powders, setting powders have a completely different primary purpose. The job of a setting powder is to lock foundation into place and increase makeup’s longevity.
It is possible for a finishing powder to somewhat set makeup, and it is also possible for a setting powder to have a blurring effect on the skin, but those are usually incidental, as the two products are formulated with different purposes in mind.
Finishing sprays and setting sprays are a totally different ball game. These sprays, when applied to the skin, help meld layers of foundation with powder in order to give the skin a more hydrated finish and to help increase makeup’s longevity. They can be used on top of both setting powders and finishing powders, although they’re no replacements.
Based on their texture and properties, there are different kinds of finishing powders, which are:
Matte and Demi-Matte Finishing Powders
The most common type of finishing powders gives the skin a natural looking finish. They lightly mattify the skin, although usually not as much as a traditional setting powder.
These are best for those who want a totally natural yet perfected look to their skin. If your skin leans towards oilier, look for a formula advertised as mattifying. If your skin is normal to dry, opt for a demi-matte option.
Luminizing Finishing Powders
Some people want a finishing powder to give their skin a hint of a glow. These luminizing finishing powders are sometimes mistaken for highlighters, although their glow is considerably more subtle. This is why they can be applied all over the face.
They give the skin a smooth and dewy finish that is the very definition of ‘lit from within’. These glowy finishing powders are usually best for those with dry and normal skin.
Color Correcting Finishing Powders
If you want your finishing powder to also improve the coloring of your skin, then choose a color correcting one. They can come in solid tones like yellow or green to decrease redness, or lavender to reduce sallowness.
Sometimes you’ll see these finishing powders made up of a few different colors, put together like a mosaic. The colors never show up on the skin once applied – instead they help to correct the color that is already in the skin, and give a neutral, smooth canvass.
• Setting powders can be applied over bare skin, but normally they would go on after your normal makeup application – this can include all complexion steps including foundation, setting powder, contour, highlight, and blush.
If you need the makeup to last a long time, make sure to set your foundation with a dedicated setting powder. Make sure to buff away any excess powder by using a clean powder brush and circular motions all over your face.
• Dip or swirl a fluffy brush into your finishing powder of choice. Make sure to tap off the excess product, as this is a case where more is definitely not better.
• With a gentle motion, sweep the powder unto your face in long downward strokes. If your finishing powder is also doubling as a setting powder, use a tapping motion to apply it instead.
• Only if necessary, load your brush up with more product in order to cover the whole face.
• Examine your face in the mirror – if it’s flawless, you’re good to go. If not, buff your skin away to perfection with a clean, dense powder brush and small, circular motions.
• For maximum longevity, set the whole thing with a makeup setting spray.
Photos via @soneika_bblog, @vivaluxuryblog