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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.
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!
Several of its more than 900 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: "Purchased this powder because I have very sensitive skin and most setting powders break me out, even if they do last all day. I’ve used many setting powders before and nothing comes close to being as good as this one. It has a nice sheen to it so it isn’t completely matte, doesn’t dry out the skin, photographs amazingly, and wears all day long with no touch up’s needed."
If you have a darker skin tone, you’ll find that the "medium-deep" shade of this Set For Life Loose Setting Powder will provide a barely-there finish in photos and in person. Besides its ability to blend into the skin beautifully, this talc-free loose powder (which includes mica) will help reduce shine, but thanks to its semi-matte finish, will still let your natural glow peek through.
Note: If this shade isn’t your match you can also pick up this loose powder in translucent.
Rave review: "I bought this setting powder because i was traveling to a hot and humid country in Africa (Equatorial Guinea)and when I tell you that this really set my make up. I have really bad oily skin and the heat makes it [worse]. This powder took care of that day & night. And the best part is you don’t need a lot. Just a dab."
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 from 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: "I love this powder! This is the first powder I have ever used that doesn’t require foundation underneath. Normally, I have to apply a thick layer of mousse foundation and then put powder on top to look presentable, but this stuff works great on its own. It covers scarring and blemishes just as well as any foundation I’ve ever tried, and it doesn’t have the heaviness that foundations have."
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: "This is such a nice powder for someone with dry skin! It doesn’t leave a dry, powdery finish. When I use it to finish my makeup, my skin still looks like skin, but my makeup is set. I don’t know how to explain it any better, but I don’t feel the need to use a setting spray with this powder to take down that powdery finish that I get with almost every other powder I have ever used."
If your skin is on the oilier side, this Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder will do exactly as its name suggests: help control excess sebum to your skin matte throughout the day. Beyond mica and silica, this talc-free loose powder also includes Jeju minerals and mint, which, per the K-beauty brand, is the reason it makes such a great substitute for oil-blotting papers.
The $7 powder is so finely milled that it will sweep over your skin without caking or flaking. In fact, it’s one of the top products in Seoul, Korea. And with more than 600 glowing reviews on Amazon, it’s becoming a favorite here in the States, too. Plus, users with all skin tones report that it’s truly translucent.
Rave review: "With tan skin, I expected that this might leave a whitish cast on my skin, but had no issues with this! The scent is light and fresh, and this reduces oily skin over the course of the day. My skin feels great when I use this, and I’ve slowly dropped foundation from my routine completely."
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: "I initially purchased this item at my dermatologist office and then found on Amazon. Love this mineral sunscreen., Prefer the mineral powder vice using sticky sunscreen on my face. I used on my face, neck, chest, arms and hands. I will always use this product.."
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