Home Can You Wear Foundation Without Setting Powder?
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You can wear foundation without setting powder if you have dry skin or use matte foundations.

It’s still possible to wear foundation without setting powder if you don’t want to use matte foundations or have oily / combination skin. This can be achieved with a good makeup routine using oil-free products that control sebum production.

I consulted with a few beauty professionals for tips and included a step-by-step routine for wearing foundation without setting powder in this post.


Matte Foundations Don’t Need Powder

Foundations that have a matte or satin finish, need little to no setting powder. This is because matte foundations are designed to reduce shine on your face. They do this by absorbing the oil on your face.

Less oil means your makeup is less prone to breaking down and can last longer on your face. Therefore, you don’t need to set it.

Note that setting a matte or satin foundation can make your skin feel cakey because setting powder mattifies the skin.

Do You Really Need Setting Powder?

Whether or not you can skip setting powder generally depends on your skin type. Dry skin types often find that their skin cakes up and become flaky no matter how finely-milled their setting powder of choice is! If you have dry skin and your makeup lasts all day anyway, skip the face powder! Just add a small amount of translucent powder under the eyes to set your hydrating under-eye concealer to keep it in place all day.

The best way to tell if you need a setting powder is to test out your base products on a lazy day at home. Keep checking in the mirror every hour to see if your foundation is melting away or if your skin looks greasy. In those cases, you should definitely use a setting powder! If you cannot find a setting powder that works, try a setting spray instead.

Pros and Cons of Wearing Foundation Without Powder

If you can’t decide to set your foundation or not, here are some benefits and disadvantages of wearing foundation without powder:


  1. You look younger without setting powder as there is no powder accentuating fine lines
  2. Skin maintains a better glow
  3. Foundation stays flexible without coagulating with powder


  1. Some foundations can be too shiny looking without being set
  2. Foundation can transfer or rub off easily without being set

How to Wear Foundation Without Powder

Here’s a great makeup routine you can try if you want to wear foundation without setting powder

Step 1 – Apply your moisturizer as normal. Use an oil-free lotion or cream and wait a couple of minutes before you apply your foundation. You want to hydrate your skin but allow your skin to absorb that moisture before you start on
your makeup application. You will be creating a good base for your foundation to blend into your skin.

Step 2 –  Use a foundation primer. If you are a particularly ‘glowy’ person, select a mattifying primer.

Step 3 –  Choose an oil-free, water based foundation. This can be a liquid or cream.

Step 4 –  Grab some blotting papers to take with you. Use these on your T zone as needed throughout the day. These will absorb oil and won’t disturb your base.

Foundation without powder is actually a great solution for dry winter skin. A good tip is to also use a crème blush and cream contour, to keep that hydrated dewy look.


Contributors To This Answer:

Andrea Claire – Hair and makeup artist at AClaireBeauty.com. Andrea has extensive advertising, beauty, and editorial portfolios which include campaigns for L’Oreal Paris, Revlon, Lancôme, Neutrogena, Unilever, P & G, and editorials in Solstice, Shape, Bazaar, ELLE, L’Officiel, Lucy’s, HUF, Beauty Archive, and more.

Laura Burns – Laura is a makeup artist living in Manhattan with over 15 years in the industry. Her career has been diverse, ranging from Editorial, Fashion, and Advertising to TV and Red Carpet.

Laura Chawke – Laura is the founder of Makeup Scholar, a site that combines a passion for beauty & makeup with rigorous research.