How to Find the Best Setting Powder for Dark Skin

In the realm of makeup, inclusivity has been a longstanding issue, particularly concerning foundation shades that often fail to encompass the diverse range of darker skin tones. The dearth of options for those with deeper complexions has been a prevalent problem, and the demand for comprehensive shade ranges and pigmentation suitable for all skin tones is an imperative step towards rectifying this disparity.

Bottom Line Up Front

While the makeup industry is making strides towards improvement, there remains much work to be done. Brands like Fenty Beauty and Laura Mercier have emerged as exemplars in providing setting powders that effectively cater to dark skin tones. However, a plethora of alternatives from both new and established companies are available, offering a range of choices for consumers.

Setting Powder

The role of a setting powder is primarily to establish a foundation or concealer. This is especially relevant for products that serve a dual purpose, such as the Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer or comparable offerings from Kiko Milano. These products require setting to enhance durability, manage oil, and ensure makeup longevity throughout the day or night.

Setting powders, originally popularized by drag queens, have become a staple in many makeup routines. This transition from stage to everyday life was facilitated by makeup artists who integrated these techniques. While some opt for a light dusting of setting powder, others undertake “baking,” a technique involving heavy application followed by a period of setting. Although baking is recommended by many makeup enthusiasts, it remains an optional step in makeup application.

Problems and Solutions

For those with darker skin tones, finding an appropriate setting powder can be arduous. Numerous options result in a white cast or flashback effect in photographs. While this may pose minimal concerns for lighter complexions, it is an absolute dealbreaker for individuals with deeper skin tones. While translucent powders do exist, they may not universally cater to all. It is crucial to anticipate this factor and invest in products that seamlessly match one’s skin tone, thereby evading photographic setbacks.

Fenty Beauty notably revolutionized the landscape by introducing an inclusively comprehensive shade range. The brand’s success underscored the significance of embracing diversity in shades rather than attempting a “one size fits all” approach for dark skin tones. Notably, Fenty Beauty not only expanded shade options but also diversified formulations, setting a benchmark and emphasizing that an extensive shade range is a prerequisite.

Thanks to Fenty Beauty’s groundbreaking efforts, individuals with dark skin tones can now anticipate finding suitable shade matches in a variety of stores, including ULTA, Sephora, and Boots. Although progress is evident, the journey towards perfection is far from complete. Continuous advocacy is essential to encourage various brands to go beyond conventional boundaries and meet the unique requirements of their diverse audience.

Best Setting Powders for Dark Skin

The following compilation presents a selection of exceptional loose powders tailored to dark skin tones. This assortment caters to diverse budgets, occasions, and preferences, ensuring individuals with deeper complexions find optimal solutions for their makeup needs.

Makeup Revolution – Loose Baking Powder in Banana

Banana-colored baking powder is an underrated essential. This unique powder serves to counteract redness in darker skin tones, providing a smoother complexion while illuminating highlighted areas like the cheeks. Makeup Revolution holds a special place in the hearts of UK consumers. The brand’s diverse portfolio has taken the beauty world by storm, showcasing remarkable consistency in its various lines, including baking powders. Application requires a powder puff or brush to place the baking powder under the eyes, highlight cheeks, and other desired areas. A little goes a long way; excess powder should be removed with a fluffy brush after baking. This loose baking powder doesn’t alter skin tone or leave a white cast on dark complexions, ensuring confident selfies. For optimal results, using a stipple brush or moistened sponge is recommended.


  • Budget-friendly without compromising quality
  • Available in multiple shades, including light and dark banana
  • Maintains a fresh face throughout the day


  • Not suitable for dry skin
  • Has a medium scent

FENTY Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Setting Powder

Fenty’s extensive and diverse shade range for dark skin tones has set a new industry standard. The brand’s commitment to color inclusivity and diversity has positioned it at the forefront of the market, with no signs of slowing down. Fenty’s Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Setting Powder caters to various skin concerns, from dryness to color correction. It offers shades like Banana for brightening and general setting purposes. The product is available in regular and mini sizes, ideal for travel or experimentation. Fenty delivers a natural finish that suits those seeking a more subtle look. Its mattifying effect makes it suitable for oily skin types.


  • Exceptional quality that can be life-changing
  • Comes in regular and mini sizes
  • Offers a wide range of tones and options


  • May emphasize dry patches on occasion
  • Be mindful of the product’s expiration date

Chanel POUDRE UNIVERSELLE LIBRE Natural Finish Loose Powder

Chanel is synonymous with luxury, and its cosmetics are no exception. Although these products come with a premium price tag, the quality and performance are undeniable, making the investment worthwhile. The Poudre Universelle Libre offers a wide range of shades and includes an applicator for added convenience, particularly for addressing oily areas. For those who can afford it, this powder promises flawless skin that radiates with gratitude. One remarkable aspect of this powder is its inclusivity, boasting one of the darkest shades available in the market. Shade 30, in particular, is a favorite among black makeup artists for its ability to brighten the under-eye area when chosen slightly lighter than your foundation shade. The powder’s design prevents excessive spillage, ensuring that no product goes to waste. Its efficacy in combating excess shine and oil production is unparalleled.


  • Minimizes the appearance of pores
  • Long-lasting (up to 12 hours)
  • Doesn’t dehydrate the skin


  • Considerable financial commitment
  • Some users may not prefer the improved formula

Pat McGrath – Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Setting Powder

Pat McGrath, a trailblazing icon in the realm of runway makeup, continues to captivate with her artistic prowess. Recognized for her transformative work on high-fashion runways and celebrities, she ventured into creating her makeup line, which has garnered immense popularity among beauty enthusiasts. McGrath’s creative vision is reflected in her products’ innovation and quality, a true testament to her unmatched artistry. The Sublime Perfection Setting Powder, an embodiment of McGrath’s artistry, delivers a distinctive experience. Although it could feature a wider range of finishes, its lightweight and long-lasting nature align with McGrath’s high-fashion sensibility. The powder achieves an ethereal, runway-worthy appearance, resembling a stride down the catwalk rather than a mere stroll. Pat McGrath, one of the most influential black makeup artists of our era, designed her brand with inclusivity in mind, catering to a broad spectrum of dark skin tones from the outset. The Sublime Perfection powder is tailored to medium-deep and deep complexions, addressing an often-neglected segment of the market. For those who desire a high-fashion aesthetic and are willing to invest, the Skin Fetish powder is an attractive option. While McGrath recommends her own brushes and tools, the product’s full potential can be harnessed with reasonably priced alternatives. Becoming acclimated to her techniques can be a learning curve, but the results are undoubtedly worth it.


  • Offers an airy sensation upon application
  • Blurs imperfections effectively
  • Provides a natural matte finish


  • Considerable price point
  • Limited shade range


MAC’s reputation in the makeup industry is unparalleled, rooted in its commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and exceptional quality. Known for valuing a range of skin tones, colors, and identities, MAC’s makeup offerings have stood the test of time. While the MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation is a personal preference, the Mineralize Skinfinish Natural presents an excellent alternative, particularly for dark skin. This line offers a broad spectrum of tones and undertones, ensuring a suitable match for individuals with deeper complexions. The Mineralize Skinfinish Natural, characterized by its baked texture with a slightly pressed consistency, boasts a remarkable track record spanning over 15 years. Loved by many, it effectively addresses daily oiliness, contributing to a fierce and enduring makeup look. One of MAC’s strengths lies in the accessibility and appeal of its products, making it a beloved and enduring brand.


  • Provides all-day wearability
  • Delivers a natural appearance
  • Can be used on its own


  • Higher price point
  • Possible stock shortages for certain shades

NYX – Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Setting Powder

NYX, a prominent player in drugstore makeup, consistently delivers quality products at accessible prices. Renowned for its innovation and a diverse product range, NYX remains a favorite among makeup enthusiasts. The Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Setting Powder is a prime example of NYX’s prowess in creating exceptional products. Designed to maintain a matte finish for extended periods, this powder pairs effectively with a variety of foundations. While its shade range is relatively limited, the Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Setting Powder in Banana addresses redness and brightens the under-eye area. Its popularity among dark-skinned individuals is a testament to NYX’s commitment to inclusivity. An appealing aspect of this setting powder is its compatibility with older skin, adding to its versatility for a wide array of consumers. NYX consistently caters to a broad consumer base, with product quality and creativity steadily improving.


  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Avoids cakey appearance
  • A small amount goes a long way


  • Packaging design may lead to product wastage
  • Dispensing holes may not release enough product

Laura Mercier – Translucent Loose Setting Powder

The Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder disrupted the makeup landscape upon the advent of baking and loose powders. With influencers raving about its efficacy and adoration, this product swiftly gained popularity. Although boasting only three shades, the Translucent Loose Setting Powder offers exceptional quality and stands as the benchmark for older skin due to its non-settling formula. The absence of flashback or white cast on darker shades ensures a soft focus effect.

Laura Mercier offers two sizes, regular and travel, allowing consumers to explore the product before committing to a larger size. While the product’s premium quality is undeniable, its packaging is a minor letdown considering its price point. For an optimal experience, Laura Mercier’s dedicated puff can be purchased for use with this powder.


  • Effectively blurs fine lines
  • Suitable for individuals with conditions like eczema
  • Doesn’t cling or emphasize dry patches


  • Packaging may be fragile, necessitating additional care
  • Contains talc, which may not appeal to all users

One/Size by Patrick Starrr – Ultimate Blurring Setting Powder

One of the most influential beauty gurus, Patrick Starrr, has solidified his position in the makeup industry with his credibility and engaging tutorials. His brand, One/Size, encapsulates the message that beauty is all-encompassing. The Ultimate Blurring Setting Powder exemplifies his commitment to catering to underrepresented skin tones, ensuring a flawless experience for individuals with darker complexions. Patrick Starrr’s profound understanding of makeup shortcomings and needs within diverse communities inspired the creation of One/Size, addressing the gaps left by established brands. This setting powder, offered in two sizes and shades, effectively eliminates flashback and white cast effects in photos, making it a favorite among black makeup artists. The Ultimate Blurring Setting Powder’s versatility extends to older skin as well, indicating its broad appeal. Although its availability is limited to certain regions, its matte finish and glamorous touch make it a noteworthy addition to any makeup routine.


  • Long-lasting even in humid conditions
  • Easily blendable
  • Compatible with sensitive skin


  • More suited for full-face application than targeted use
  • Limited shade range

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