Best Powders for Women of Color

Want to join in on the highlighting & contour trend without looking like Casper the Ghost?! We've got you covered!

My Instagram post on setting powders reposted from @themakeupmind, generated such great feedback and comments that I have decided to compile a list of the best loose setting powders for women of color, especially ones that work well on dark skin.

Powders in this post refers to loose setting powders that are often used for highlighting and contouring, especially for the makeup technique known as baking.

Baking is a makeup technique that involves letting a setting powder sit on the face for an extended period, usually on top of a concealer. It has been always been used by performance artists and pro MUAs but has risen to popularity thanks to the growth of makeup videos and clips on social media.

As with a lot of other techniques and products, women with dark skin can have a trickier time finding a powder that blends well with the skin.

A mismatched powder on dark skin looks ashy, has terrible flashback and makes the face look lighter than the neck. Yikes!


Ben Nye Luxury Banana Powder is without a doubt the most popular and hyped loose setting powder among women of color but there are several other options that women with dark skin can try.

Although the Banana powder works for some women with dark skin, there has been some criticism from MUAs and  beauty gurus about it's widespread popularity among women of colour.

The Ben Nye brand has other shades that might be better suited for dark skin women which we will explore in the list below:

1. Ben Nye Luxury Powder - Topaz

Ben Nye Powder Topaz

Created specifically for stage makeup, Ben Nye Luxury Powder provides full coverage. As with all powders, this needs to be blended properly when used due to its chalky consistency. Baking too long with this product on dark skin is also a no-no. The Ben Nye brand has a variety of colours suitable for dark skin including Caramel, Cocoa, Olive Sand, Ebony, Sienna and more.

2. Sacha Cosmetics - ButterCup Setting Powder 

Sacha buttercup setting powder

The creamy texture of this powder makes it suitable for everyday wear  and easy to blend in properly. With little flashback, many WOC swear by this powder as their holy grail as it is quite concentrated so very little of it still gives off an airbrushed look. For those concerned about cruelty-free status, this is a 100% cruelty free & black owned cosmetics company.

3. Laura Mercier- Translucent Loose Setting Powder

Laura Mercier Powder

Created to work on all skin tones, the Laura Mercier loose powder is very finely milled and silky powder with little flashback. An increasingly popular product, this product is fantastic for everyday use. Baking for too long is also a no-no with this product. This powder also  tends to look so much better when applied with a beauty blender than with a brush. Right tools + Right shade = Magic!

4.  Black Opal-Deluxe Finishing Powder

Powders for dark skin

Too frugal to spend  $20 or more for your setting powder? Then this beauty supply option is perfect for you! Usually priced around $8, it is an incredible product for the price.  Soft & silky on the skin, it is also fit for everyday use.


5.   Bobbi Brown - Sheer Finish Loose Powder (Golden Orange)

Bobbi Brown Golden Orange

Definitely more on the pricey side, this is finely milled & only a small amount of it is needed per use. There have been some complaints about the packaging of the product itself as it can spill very easily.

6. DermaBlend-Loose Finishing Powder

Setting powders for dark skin

This powder and cosmetics line is not as popular among WOC as some of the options mentioned but this product has received lots of great reviews from women of color.  This powder is probably best for those that already use DermaBlend products as it seems to blend very well with existing DermaBlend products.


Use or like powder not listed here? Comment below and let us know what powder you use.



I want to shop for the Laura Mercier translucent but my confusion is; It has medium to dark color and just translucent. You weren’t specific on which color to get for brown skin so I don’t look ashy or too dark. Any advice?


Great post. Here’s another option for WOC that will not leave skin looking ashy.

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