While “generally recognized as safe”
by the FDA for use in cosmetics, some people choose to avoid makeup that contains talcum powder (or talc) because of unconfirmed studies linking the ingredient to ovarian cancer. Fortunately, the best talc-free setting powders will still reduce shine, set makeup, and provide a smooth finish, only they'll contain mica, silica, or a combination of the two as their hero ingredients instead. Which powder you choose, however, will come down to your preference on the finish as well as your skin type.
With all of the
setting powders out there, it's first helpful to decide if you want a loose or pressed powder. Since all talc-free powders are mineral-based (with mica as their leading ingredient), you'll most likely find them in loose powder form. Loose powder often works the best for a setting powder because of its more finely milled texture which helps provide more buildable coverage that isn't cakey. Pressed powder compacts, on the other hand, are still able to soak up oil, but they are more portable. However, you may want to use a lighter hand applying them because they offer more concentrated coverage.
The next thing to consider is your shade preference. The majority of talc-free powders come in one translucent shade which is intended to work for all skin tones. For even more of a color match, though, go for a tinted formula. And while all of these will help mattify shine, there are options out there that are formulated to provide even more
oil control. And if it's a glow you're after, look for a powder that says it's brightening. Shop The Best Talc-Free Setting Powders In a hurry? Shop the six best talc-free setting powders on Amazon. The Overall Best: Aesthetica Translucent Setting Powder The Best Talc-Free Pressed Powder: Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Pressed Powder The Best Talc-Free Powder For Medium & Darker Skin Tones: True + Luscious Velvet Matte Pressed Powder The Best Illuminating Talc-Free Powder: W3LL PEOPLE Natural Bio Brightener Invisible Powder The Best Talc-Free Powder For Oil Control: ETUDE HOUSE Zero Sebum Drying Powder The Best Talc-Free Loose Powder With SPF: Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral SPF 30 Sunscreen Brush
To take the guesswork out of your shopping, I've dug through the ingredients lists of the best setting powders on Amazon and included a variety of fantastic talc-free options below!
1 The Overall Best Talc-Free Setting Powder
Several of its more than 6,000 Amazon reviewers report that this
Aesthetica Translucent Setting Powder wins top marks not only for being an excellent talc-free option but also for being a worthy (and affordable!) alternative to Laura Mercier's iconic Translucent Loose Setting Powder. It contains mica and silica, and while it feels virtually weightless on skin, it will still keep you looking matte without being cakey or feeling clumped on. That makes it a great powder to use for baking strategic spots of your face (like your T-zone) where you may desire longer-lasting coverage.
Though it is labeled as "translucent," users say the powder has a slight tint that isn't "shockingly white," which means there's no flashback to worry about (even on deeper skin tones). With your purchase, you'll get a soft powder puff, but if you prefer a lighter veil (especially because the powder is a little tinted), try applying the product with a fluffy powder brush instead. Note: This pick is paraben-free and per users, has no scent.
Rave review: “This powder is amazing! So smooth and the puff is even great! Doesn't fill under eye lines and make them appear worse, in fact, it conceals them very nicely! Highly recommended.” 2 The Best Talc-Free Pressed Powder Compact — Also available on Ulta, $15
You can't beat the convenience of a
pressed powder compact, and this one, by Physicians Formula, is available at an incredibly wallet-friendly price. The talc- and fragrance-free, mineral-based makeup also includes broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection. With the help of mica, this powder will leave a smooth, matte finish, and there's even a handy mini brush included (housed in a compartment underneath the pan) to make touch-ups throughout the day easier. Though it only comes in one shade ("translucent"), according to reviewers, it has a hint of beige in it, so those with very fair skin may find it too dark. Rave review: “Gives you a beautiful, almost airbrushed look without having to buy the high-priced airbrush kit. Covers very well. [...] It also doesn't make my face break out. I've been using it for some time and I love it!” 3 The Best Talc-Free Powder For Medium & Darker Skin Tones
True + Luscious Velvet Matte pressed powder is available in five different shades including a couple for medium to deeper skin tones. It’s formulated to help with oil control and offers a matte finish for a shine-free complexion. While this is a setting powder, reviewers attest that the Velvet Matte pressed powder could also stand alone as a powder foundation because of it’s sheer-to-medium coverage. Apply using a puff, makeup blender, or powder brush to achieve your desired look. Rave review: “Great setting powder! I look airbrushed ... no filter needed but people will think you used one! I prefer to use this with a brush or beauty blender vs. the applicator and use it to set a wet foundation and concealer.” 4 The Best Illuminating Talc-Free Powder — Also available on Rite Aid, $20
For an option that does more than set makeup, this
W3LL PEOPLE powder can also help brighten your complexion. There are only five ingredients (including mica and silica) in this talc-free loose powder, and two of them — freshwater pearl and organic aloe — are meant to help leave a more radiant (not to mention hydrating) finish. That lit-from-within look also makes this pick especially great for setting your under-eye concealer.
W3LL PEOPLE's powder is hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, paraben-free, and non-comedogenic, making it ideal for nearly every skin type, but those with sensitive skin will most appreciate its minimal formula. Per the brand, the universal translucent sheen will adapt to all skin tones, though one person pointed out that those with darker skin may want to use it a little more sparingly.
Rave review: "I love to use this bio brightener powder under my eyes and over blemishes. I feel like it tones blemishes down and adds a light glow. Does not crease and love the ingredients!” 5 The Best Talc-Free Powder For Oil Control
If your skin is on the oilier side, this
Zero Sebum drying powder will do exactly as its name suggests: help control excess sebum to your skin matte throughout the day. The minerals silica and mica make up 80% of the formula while other ingredients such as sugar polymer, cotton, and fermented soybean help control the extra oil on your skin. In addition to being free from talc, this powder also contains zero traces of pigment synthesis, raw animal material, or any artificial fragrance. With more than 7,700 reviews, many shoppers claim this powder as their “holy grail” of makeup products. Rave review: “Totally buy this ASAP because nobody likes it when their makeup is shiny and clumpy. This powder does an amazing job at keeping your skin fresh throughout the whole day. I just put it on in the morning and by the time I get home from work, my face still looks as fresh as it did in the morning. No more shiny T-zone for me!” 6 The Best Talc-Free Loose Powder With SPF — Also available on Dermstore, $55
When it comes to reapplying your sunscreen without disturbing your makeup, it can feel nearly impossible, so you can now consider this
Colorscience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen to be your magic wand. Inside the compact, purse-sized tube you'll find a mini fluffy brush connected to a container of talc-free, 100% mineral-based powder that's infused with broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen. To release the powder, tap the tube three to five times (cap side down) on a hard surface. Then you should see a small amount of product puffed into the air as you brush it on in circular motions. Note: The brand recommends applying it every two hours (to dry skin only) for continued protection throughout the day.
The Colorscience powder, which comes with a
seal of approval from The Skin Cancer Foundation, contains mica, is unscented, and is available in five different shades, ranging from fair to deep. Pro tip: One Amazon reviewer wrote that the brush-on applicator makes it perfect for applying to your hairline to better protect it from harmful rays. Rave review: “Have used this sunblock for years and now at almost 69 years of age, I still get compliments on my skin and overall youthful appearance. It has enough color that you don't need foundation.”
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This article was originally published on
Aug. 1, 2020