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From makeup artist kits to YouTuber holy grail roundups, the original Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder (an important distinction since the brand launched a “glow” version) is a recurring favorite among beauty lovers. Its claim to fame is an unrivaled ability to lock down foundation beautifully, without leaving an age-exaggerating powdery cast or downright cakey finish (yes, even on the under eyes). This cult favorite also happens to be the best-selling loose powder, though there are Laura Mercier setting powder dupes well-worth trying. Still, there are plenty of reasons that account for its superstar status.
Not only does this set your foundation in place all day, extending the wear of your complexion products. It also offers oil control without leaving the skin looking parched and textured. The finely milled formula sets your base and gives the skin an Instagram filter-mimicking soft-focus finish. Makeup artists also love its ability to glide smoothly over the skin for a Facetune-like finish that looks great on camera and in-person. This means you can avoid the risk of a Casper-esque effect from flashback.
A universally flattering formula is another reason for its massive following. The non-drying matte finish is a game-changer for oily skin types, but also somehow, magically wears beautifully on dry and mature types too. Another bonus? The brand launched a shade for deeper skin tones in 2017 so more people can reap the benefits of this coveted powder without suffering through a white cast effect. Of course, the one downside of this quasi-miraculous product is the price tag.
Loyal fans staunchly defend its steep price, stating that its unrivaled performance warrants the monetary setback. But there are affordable dupes that, according to reviews, Reddit, and Pinterest come pretty close in formula and overall performance. Of course, as is the unfortunate issue with many affordable brands, the shade range is often compromised. Some of these dupes simply fail to offer a translucent powder that will work on deeper skin tones…so choose carefully.
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1. Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder
A cult-status favorite in its own right, this under-$10 setting powder is a close rival to its prestige counterpart. The ultra lightweight and velvety-smooth formula glides over the skin seamlessly, helping to blur lines and texture and lock makeup in place for all-day wear. Fans of the product also love to bake with this powder because it’s lightweight enough to set and mattify your makeup without leaving the skin feeling parched. Another selling point is that it also comes in six different shades, including an “extra coverage” option for those who prefer a tad bit more from their finishing powder without looking cakey.
2. NYX Mineral Matte Finishing Powder
This pore-hiding loose powder sets makeup in place beautifully and keeps shine at bay for hours, according to loyal fans of the alternative. This powder does has a slight hint of color, but goes on more or less translucent once dusted over the skin. While many fans of this affordable product call it their favorite drugstore powder of all time, the praise comes with a caveat. Many reviewers caution that while similar in texture, finish, and wear time to Laura Mercier’s powder, this one has caused flashback for some.
3. RCMA No Color Powder
This somewhat elusive finishing powder may be a slight challenge to find online, but it’s been dubbed the closest thing to Laura Mercier’s by pro makeup artists and famous YouTubers alike. Unlike Laura Mercier’s, this loose powder is truly color-less and has a whitish tint, rather than the slightly flesh-hued beige undertone. Because it’s completely void of pigment, this option is the best bet for those who truly do not want their foundation or concealer shade altered at all.
4. Maybelline Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder
Maybelline’s inclusive and high-performing Fit Me line has garnered a cult following for good reason, and their super affordable setting powder is no exception to the range. This finishing powder will add a bit more coverage and color to your base. However, reviewers and fans of this drugstore fave claim it’s a close match in texture to Laura Mercier’s powder and performs nearly identically. While not entirely translucent, another bonus to Maybelline’s loose powder is its extended shade range that offers a wide range from fair to dark.