One of the biggest problems in makeup is inclusivity. Many foundation shades fail to reach darker skin tones, and not many brands can brag about being inclusive. We makeup lovers must demand wide shade ranges and pigmentation suitable for all skin tones.
There were times when I was paler than the lightest foundation shade available. While fixing that took a bit of shopping around, for many years, black makeup enthusiasts had no option whatsoever in most stores.
Bottom Line Up Front
The makeup world is far from perfect, but thanks to Fenty, other brands have begun catering better to dark skin tones. Fenty and Laura Mercier are the guaranteed classics for setting powders that work with dark skin, but you can find great alternatives from both new and established companies.
A setting powder is usually used to set a foundation, concealer, or both. If your product is a two-in-one like my beloved Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer or a Kiko Milano alternative, they need to be set. Also, it makes the face base last longer, conceals oils better, and just party the night away for the makeup to stay put.
Setting powders are quite a drag queen product that made their way into our daily products via different makeup artists who borrowed from drag queens. Many people use a bit of setting powder, while others use a huge puff to keep everything in place and bake the entire face.
Because you need the powder to absorb the product and get its mojo on, the procedure is called baking. I highly recommend it to many makeup lovers, but it is an extra step rather than necessary. Makeup can be used in different ways!
Problems and Solutions
Finding a good setting powder for dark skin can be troublesome. Plenty of them give a white cast or even a flashback effect in photos.
While this is a minor issue if you have pale skin, it is a dealbreaker for dark complexions. Of course, there are translucent powders, but they do not always work for everyone. You need to know ahead and buy something that will match your skin tone without giving photo troubles.
Fenty was the first brand to break through with an appropriately inclusive shade range. The success achieved by the company showed how important it is to have diversity in shades rather than having a single shade for all black skin tones. Fenty continued trailblazing by adding different formulas and now has set the standard and raised awareness that a good shade range is mandatory.
Thanks to Fenty, people with dark skin tones can find a good shade match in most stores, whether a ULTA, Sephora, or Boots. The situation is far from perfect, and we still need to keep pushing further for different brands to go all the way to meet the needs of their audience.
Best Setting Powders for Dark Skin
Here is our selection of the best loose powders for dark skin, fit for all sorts of budgets, occasions, and preferences.
Makeup Revolution – Loose Baking Powder in Banana
Banana-colored baking powder is a staple product, but not one that many know. The point of the banana-colored powder is to cancel the redness in darker shades, smoothening the complexion and brightening the highlighted areas of the cheeks and other parts of the face.
Makeup Revolution is quite beloved by UK consumers. The brand has been taking the world by storm with different brands under the same umbrella. The Makeup Revolution family shows fantastic consistency and its baking powders.
You will need to get a powder puff or a brush, as this is simply a box with the baking powder to put under your eyes, highlight your cheeks, and all other areas you desire. A little goes a long way! Make sure to remove the excess powder with a fluffy brush after baking!
This loose baking powder does not lighten the skin, as many products sadly do. It also does not whiten or leave a white cast on dark complexions, so you can enjoy your selfie time in peace. I recommend using a stipple brush to get the best results from this setting powder. When it comes to a sponge, it is better to moisten it before application and then dab the powder into it.
- No need to break the bank for this great product
- Comes in more different shades: light and dark banana as well
- Keep the face fresh all-day
- Not recommended for dry skin
- Has a medium scent
FENTY Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Setting Powder
When it comes to a rich and wide range of shades for dark skin, Fenty leads the market with a massive jump ahead. Fenty showed the world how it is done and put the rest to shame. The company shows no sign of slowing down in its quest to hold the claim of color inclusivity and shades.
Fenty of skin products targets different issues that skin may encounter, whether it is dryness, color correcting, or any other issues. It has shades such as Banana to brighten the skin and other plain setting powder purposes all over the face. It also comes in two sizes: regular and mini. Having both is a great idea, so you can take a small package when you travel. The mini option is perfect for testing too.
If you want a more natural-looking finish, Fenty is also your winner. This product leaves a fresh finish rather than an airbrushed or high-fashion look, so you stay on the more natural side. The Instant Retouch is excellent for oily skin, as most setting powders are.
- Life-changing great quality
- Comes in two sizes
- Wide range of tones and needs
- Occasionally clings onto dry spots
- Watch out for the expiry date
Chanel POUDRE UNIVERSELLE LIBRE Natural Finish Loose Powder
Chanel is quite a luxury brand, and its cosmetics are no joke. The products have a high price tag and quality, so you know what you are paying for. It also comes with a wide range and an applicator to make it easier to reach oily areas. If you can afford this expensive fella, your skin will thank you and look flawless.
A standout feature of the Poudre Universelle Libre is that it has one of the darkest shades in the market. Try this powder out if you have yet to find a match elsewhere. Many black makeup artists recommend buying one shade lighter than your foundation to brighten the under-eye area, with shade 30 being particularly popular.
While there are cheaper alternatives, this baby has a great filter that keeps you from spilling too much powder at once so that no product goes to waste. It effortlessly tackles any excess shine and oil your skin will produce and will keep it at bay.
- Blurs pores
- Lasts all day (even up to 12 hours!)
- Does not dry the skin
- Expensive commitment
- Some do not enjoy the improved formula
Pat McGrath – Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Setting Powder
Pat McGrath is the queen of runway makeup and will forever be. She is the mind behind the most iconic high fashion runways and celebrities. McGrath made them all look unique with her artistic touch and vision. So no wonder she did her own line of makeup which has been a massive hit among many beauty and makeup lovers. Her artistry is unmatched, and so are her products.
When it comes to the Setting Powder, it could have a wider variety of finishes and properties. But Pat has her vision as if the world is a runway. This powder is long-lasting, bulletproof, and not your average one. It is very lightweight, blurring, and leaves you looking like you are strutting a runway rather than walking.
Pat McGrath is arguably the most influential black makeup artist of our time. When she developed her makeup brand, it catered to most dark skin tones from the very beginning. The Sublime Perfection setting powder is tailored to medium-deep and deep complexions, the latter of which many brands often neglect.
When you want the high fashion look and are OK with the hefty price, pick the Skin Fetish powder. Pat recommends her own brushes and tools, but as a lover of her formulas, it does take a while to find the right tools which can be reasonably priced. Unleashing the full potential of Pat McGrath products means getting used to her techniques, but it is smooth sailing once you do.
- Very airy feeling
- Blurs the imperfections
- Natural matte finish
- Small range
MAC – MINERALIZE SKINFINISH NATURAL
MAC has set the bar for makeup for quite a while. The company has always valued diversity, range, colors, sexuality, identity, and different causes. MAC is a brand that will probably outlast us all, and they will still outsell all their lipsticks by the end of the day. When it comes to their powders, I personally prefer the MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation.
The Mineralize Skinfinish Natural is a great alternative and works great on dark skin. This line has a good range of tones and undertones, making it easier for everyone to find the right match for darker tones.
It is a baked powder with a more pressed consistency but worth mentioning and suggesting. This is not an alternative or a dupe, but a solution to daily oiliness and looking fierce all day long! The Mineralize Skinfinish has been on the market for over 15 years and has been loved by many. The beauty of MAC is that its products are accessible and easy to fall in love with.
- All day wear
- Looks natural
- It can be used alone
- A bit on the pricey side
- Sometimes shades can be out of stock
NYX – Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Setting Powder
A heavy-weight in drug store makeup, NYX has been firing direct shots even if they have been launching fewer products and less risky shots. NYX has unveiled a stream of great products, and this setting powder is no exception.
This powder is supposed to keep you going matte for longer. Pair it up with a foundation of your picking, and you will get great results. It has a small range of setting powder colors compared to the other entries. If your shade is among those available, I highly recommend it and suggest it for any oily complexion.
The Can’t Stop Won’t Stop comes in the Banana shade to remove the redness and brighten the undereye. The shade range has plenty of dark options, making it one of the most popular drugstore setting powders for dark skin.
One of the benefits of this setting powder is that it also holds well on older skin too, making it rather versatile for many customers and makeup fans. NYX always thinks of the large base of consumers and being a drug store brand, their quality has been improving along with their ideas and releases.
- Great for sensitive skin
- Does not make the skin cakey
- A little goes a long way
- The lid design leads to a lot of wasted product
- The holes in the container do not release enough
Laura Mercier – Translucent Loose Setting Powder
The Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder made waves when baking, or loose powders were new. Every influencer showed that they were using Laura Mercier and how much they loved it.
It does feel a bit weird that it only comes in 3 shades, but despite the small shade range, it provides unique quality and is the best one on the market for older skin as it does not settle down in fine lines. It comes with no flashback or white cast on the darker shade and leaves the skin with a soft focus touch.
Like most expensive products, the Translucent Loose Setting Powder comes in two sizes: travel and regular. You can start with the mini option to see if this is your thing before ordering a big one. The finicky packaging is a letdown, considering how expensive this is. You can also buy the matching puff by Laura Mercier for 15 bucks, which is made for this exact product.
- Works wonders by blurring fine lines
- Works well with skin conditions such as eczema
- Does not cling or leave dry patches
- Flimsy packaging, so better to keep it in another place
- Contains talc, which some users do not enjoy
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Get 30% OFF on Sale Items! Exclusively at the Laura Mercier online store.
One/Size by Patrick Starrr – Ultimate Blurring Setting Powder
One of the beauty gurus who made baking iconic is one of my favorite ones. With trustworthy products and enjoyable tutorials, Patrick Starrr has proven to be a great brand owner. One/Size was his saying for many years, spreading a message that beauty fits everyone.
I highly agree with that statement. I remember how he would make different setting powders iconic, and his powder collab with MAC sold out very fast. Well, Patrick is taking over the world one puff at a time.
The Ultimate Blurring setting powder is no exception to his great brand. As a creator with dark skin, Patrick made sure his products fit darker complexions well.
His vast experience with other brands and their shortcomings inspired him to make One/Size a home for those struggling to find a match in more established brands that have yet to catch up. This setting powder gives you no flashback or white cast effect in photos, making it increasingly popular with black makeup artists.
The only criticism I have is that it is yet to be sold in Europe besides the UK, but I hope he will get to the mainland soon. It is a matte finishing powder available in two sizes and probably has the cutest compact. The shade range is somewhat narrow, but it delivers from everyone I have seen it on. It gives more of a glam finish, which is what I prefer.
- Very long-lasting in tropical or humid weather
- Easy to blend
- Compatible with sensitive skin
- It is more of a full-face powder than spot oriented
- Small shade range
Question: Is setting powder supposed to be lighter or darker than your skin?
Answer: It should match your skin shade unless you want a different effect, but you might run into a lighter or darker cast.
Question: Is translucent powder good for dark skin?
Answer: You can use it but opt for more shades closer to your skin complexion as plain translucent can give you a bit of a washed ghost effect, which is not that great.
Question: What skin tones is a banana powder for?
Answer: It is mainly made for natural to warm skin undertones and looks great on darker skin. It also fights the redness in dark skin by brightening the areas and making it look snatched.
Question: What is the difference between translucent powder and setting powder?
Answer: Translucent powder can be setting powder, but it is confusing as many brands will slap on different claims and have things joined. Translucent powder is a transparent setting powder for lighter skin tones. A setting powder is the one that will set and keep your makeup in place and fight such things as a face oil.
Question: Is setting powder used before or after the foundation?
Answer: It is usually used after the foundation to set the foundation or concealer. But some people apply it before the foundation to prevent oiliness. This is more of a hack than a recommendation, so it might not work for everyone.
Best Setting Powder for Dark Skin: Conclusion
Thankfully today, brands have a more comprehensive range of products. Makeup is more inclusive and affordable to all sorts of budgets and complexions. If you have dark skin, you are guaranteed to find a good setting powder in the hands of Laura Mercier or Fenty. Both offer minis, so you can try them without breaking the bank. There are plenty of options in the wild, so choose any of our recommendations to stay flawless!
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