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The 6 most popular powder foundations at Sephora

Has your pressed powder hardened in the compact? Fix hardpan and save your makeup by pressing Scotch tape over the hardened product and lift until fresh powder appears.
Has your pressed powder hardened in the compact? Fix hardpan and save your makeup by pressing Scotch tape over the hardened product and lift until fresh powder appears. (BestReviews)

Sephora shoppers’ favorite powder foundations — and how to make them work for your skin

Versatile, buildable and easy to apply, powder foundation is a great choice if you’re looking for a multitasker that can streamline your makeup routine. Powder foundation offers buildable coverage in a range of finishes, and it can often serve as a setting powder, too. These powder foundations from Sephora are great options to add lightweight yet naturally beautiful coverage to any skin type.

Pressed powder vs loose powder foundation

Powder foundations come in two types: pressed or loose. Pressed powder is a solid product that comes in a compact, often with a built-in mirror and an included application pad or sponge. Pressed powder foundations are much less messy than loose, but they can tend to look heavier and cakier, and they're prone to hardpan, which happens when skin oils interact with powder makeup and form an unusable hard top layer. However, the compact makes it easy to bring makeup along for touch-ups and the formula can often pull double duty as a setting powder.

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Loose powder foundations aren't as common as pressed, but they apply with more natural-looking lightweight coverage, and they're frequently formulated with mineral ingredients that tend to be better for your skin. Loose powders also tend to perform better on oily skin. Since they don't come with an applicator, they need to be applied with a foundation brush or powder brush, but pressed powders can also be applied with brushes to achieve a different look.

How to use powder foundation

Make sure to give each step of your skincare routine, especially moisturizer and primer, ample time to be absorbed into your skin before you apply powder foundation to prevent your makeup from pilling or looking streaky. Makeup primers are particularly helpful with powder foundations since they can help keep makeup smooth and free from creasing, cracking or slipping. If you have dry skin, it’s a good idea to prep your skin with a hydrating primer and seek out a powder foundation with moisturizing ingredients to keep skin from looking dried out.

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To help your powder foundation look better for longer, finish your makeup with a setting spray that’s geared towards any skin concerns you may have.

The best powder foundation at Sephora

Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder: available at Sephora

Our take: Housed in a sleek silver compact, this pressed powder foundation is oil-free and works on all skin types.

What we like: Thanks to its oil-free formula, this powder foundation works especially well for those with oily or sensitive skin. It offers sheer coverage and a matte finish without looking cakey or settling into fine lines.

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What we dislike: It may need touching up sooner than other formulas – users with oily skin sometimes experienced looking shiny again after only a few hours.

Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Blurring Powder Foundation: available at Sephora

Our take: This long-wear formula can give skin a natural-looking matte finish for 12 hours.

What we like: Its dual-sided sponge applicator can be used to achieve either full or sheer coverage, and the foundation can also be applied with a brush for more buildable coverage. The formula doesn't settle into pores or fine lines and works great as a setting powder.

What we dislike: It's not the best formula for those with dry skin, and it doesn't have many shades for dark or deep skin tones.

Lancôme Dual Finish Multi-Tasking Longwear Powder Foundation: available at Sephora

Our take: This buildable pressed powder foundation can deliver sheer to full coverage or act as a setting powder.

What we like: It's suitable for all skin types and gives skin a silky-looking, natural, shine-free finish. Available in 22 shades, it also performs well underneath cream and powder blushes and highlighters.

What we dislike: The shade range is not very diverse, and not everyone might be a fan of its floral scent.

Bare Minerals Original Loose Powder Mineral Foundation SPF 15: available at Sephora

Our take: This Allure Best of Beauty Award-winning loose powder foundation is a classic, thanks to its pure mineral ingredients and natural finish.

What we like: This foundation is easy to apply, buildable and lightweight. It offers SPF 15 protection with mineral sunscreen ingredients, is suitable for sensitive skin and is available in 22 shades.

What we dislike: It's easy to over-apply this powder, which can make it hard to blend out. Some users felt like the formula either further dried out their dry skin or made their oily skin look more oily.

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Powder Foundation: available at Sephora

Our take: Available in 50 shades, this lightweight pressed powder offers buildable coverage and a diffused matte finish.

What we like: The formula resists settling and is sweat-, humidity- and crease-resistant. Despite its full coverage, it feels lightweight and is easy to apply. It's made without parabens, phthalates or gluten.

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What we dislike: Some users had trouble building up coverage to their liking and preferred to use the formula as a setting powder only.

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Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Custom Finish Powder Foundation: available at Sephora

Our take: This high-tech, luxury formula comes with a dual-sided sponge to apply the foundation wet or dry for your preferred finish.

What we like: It's sweat-, water- and humidity-resistant, resists creasing and helps control oil. It leaves skin looking mattified yet glowy. Skin doesn't look powdery or cakey, and the light to medium coverage reduces the appearance of pores.

What we dislike: It's available in 16 shades, but they're mostly pale to medium. It may cling to dry patches, making it a better option for those with oily skin.

Laura Duerr is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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