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The Best Glowy Setting Powder

I’ve been on the hunt for the best setting powder! As far as loose setting powders go, I have been fiercely loyal to Clinique’s Gentle Light Powder since college. While I’ve changed mascara brands every time I need a new tube, switched concealers, and run through too many foundations to count, I’ve always been true to my Gentle Light Powder. So naturally I was horrified when I found out it was discontinued. Why, Clinique, WHY????

R.I.P. Clinique Gentle Light Powder

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I was in denial for awhile that I would eventually run out. Then I considered buying it on Amazon for $200 (I’m telling you, this is good stuff!). Finally, though, I had to suck it up and search out a replacement for Gentle Light Powder. Good news, I found a powder that I like just as much. The best setting powder is Stila Set & Illuminate Baked Powder Trio ($34):

I spent hours at Neiman Marcus, Sephora, and Ulta, testing every major cosmetics brand’s setting powder. My criteria? A setting powder with a slight glowy finish, but that doesn’t call attention to pores and lines and is invisible on skin. Powders or bronzers with metallic flecks in them are tricky because they can make your pores look bigger and exaggerate fine lines. The vast majority of powders I tried were so obvious on the skin, looking dry and cakey. Also I’ve come to the conclusion that colored powders are superior since translucent powders can look chalky in photographs.

I narrowed it down to several finalists that I took home for a test run, and I wore each one for at least two days in a row. I endured breakouts and sub-par coverage so you don’t have to. The finalists, in no particular order:

Laura Mercier Mineral Illuminating Powder
Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder (my second favorite of the bunch)
Boots No. 7 Perfect Light Loose Powder
Nars Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder
Too Faced Absolutely Invisible Candlelight Pressed Powder

The Contenders

The second I put the Stila on my face, I knew it was THE ONE. This product magically airbrushes your face like an Instagram filter. The effect is amazing, and, dare I say, maybe even better than Gentle Light Powder. It has staying power, and is invisible on the skin. I love it.

As you can see in the picture below, the color of the powder in the pot looks different than the Gentle Light Powder, but the effect on the skin is the same.

Stila Set & Illuminate (left) and Clinique Gentle Light Powder (right)

The Stila Set & Illuminate has sort of a weird delivery system– you twist a plastic “blade” around and it shaves off the baked powder to turn it into a loose powder. I thought this was a strange extra step, but it is actually great because it isn’t as messy for travel.

Gently dust Stila Set & Illuminate on top of your foundation and concealer with a big, fluffy brush to invisibly set your makeup. Here I am wearing the Stila powder, although you can’t really see it (which is kind of the point):

If you are looking for a loose powder, go to Sephora and buy the Stila Set & Illuminate Baked Powder Trio immediately! As long as you keep your receipt and there is at least 50% of the product left, Sephora will give you a full refund. So you have nothing to lose by trying it!


Tagged best loose powder , best setting powder , stila set & illuminate

4 Responses to “The Best Glowy Setting Powder”

  1. You undoubtedly allow it to become seem easy with all your presentation however I uncover the following matter for being truly another thing i assume I had certainly not recognize. This indicates too tricky and very huge for me. I’m having a look ahead for your upcoming distribute, I’m going to make an attempt to master the item!

  2. Lucy says:

    So excited about this! Especially since Ulta carries Stila (as I now live in the country and do not have a Sephora nearby).

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