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The holy grail of powders, Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder is hands down the most popular setting powder among celebrity makeup artists and beauty gurus. In general, translucent powder is ideal for setting concealer or foundation because it works for any skin tone, gives the skin a natural skin finish, and masks fine lines. I only recently started using this powder because every time I wanted to purchase it at my favorite makeup store, Naime’s, it was out of stock – evidence of it’s high demand! And I wasn’t going to purchase it at full price when I get a nice discount there – ya heard?! Another reason why I didn’t feel the urgency to buy it is because I was very happy with the RCMA No Color Powder. I’ve used it on most of my clients from light to medium-dark skin tone, and it has worked beautifully to set their makeup. But ever since I started using the Laura Mercier’s translucent powder, I wasn’t sure which one I preferred until I tested each product on my face at the same time. Before I share my favorite, let’s discuss each product separately, shall we?
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
An extremely lightweight, silky, sheer setting powder that leaves skin with a flawless finish…contains the finest French “cashmere” talc and a unique light reflecting ingredient that that creates a “soft focus” appearance for fine lines and imperfections.
Laura Mercier’s translucent powder comes in two sizes: 1) standard size 1 oz for $37, and 2) travel size 0.33 oz for $27 (only this size comes with a powder puff). The powder is so finely milled that it disappears on the skin, and a huge plus is that it doesn’t alter the color of your concealer or foundation. The result is a smooth, lightweight texture that doesn’t have a cakey or chalky appearance. Also, the powder is non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn’t contain ingredients known to cause acne.
I can definitely understand the hype. Your skin looks and feels so smooth, and it doesn’t make your skin look dusty or dry. I would say that anyone with oily skin definitely needs to try this product. It makes your makeup last longer and does a beautiful job at oil-control. I haven’t tried it on darker skin tones, but I did some research and found that people with darker complexions have been very happy with the results. Also, this powder is great for flash photography because it doesn’t leave a white cast on your skin (also known as flashback). If you have dry skin, you can still use this product, but I don’t recommend that you use it for “baking” or “cooking” your concealer because it will definitely make your under-eye appear even more dry. It seems a bit pricey, but I’m pretty sure the standard size will last you for at least a year making it well worth the high price tag. TIP: I recommend that you not entirely remove the inner tape because you don’t need that many holes exposed to get a good amount of product. A little goes a long way, so use sparingly.
RCMA No Color Powder
Can be used for all powder purposes. Since it has no filler or pigment it will not alter the color of foundation bases.
I started using the RCMA No Color Powder on myself and my clients over a year ago. It’s not a commercial brand, so it hasn’t gotten the love it deserves until literally last week when a very popular YouTuber, Kathleen Lights, dubbed it her favorite setting powder (and she has dry skin!). Check out her video here.
It comes in 2 sizes: 3 oz for $10, and 10 oz $20 – a fraction of the price for Laura Mercier’s translucent powder for three times the amount! Although the color of the powder is white, it’s actually colorless with zero pigment. And like the translucent powder, there is no flashback and it doesn’t alter the color of your foundation or concealer. Also, you only need a very little to get the job done!
As you can see the packaging is not luxurious at all, it resembles a salt and pepper shaker. I don’t mind using no-fuss makeup products without any frills, however, they do need to improve the design. Often times too much product comes out even when you gently shake it. Making a mess is pretty much unavoidable so a great tip is to transfer the powder into a smaller, easy to use container with a lid similar to the Laura Mercier container. Another option is to cover the holes with tape and leave a few holes uncovered – easy breezy!
Is RCMA a Dupe?
So, are you wondering why you would even need Laura Mercier’s translucent powder??
Their similarities are:
- smooth, natural skin finish
- neither add texture to your skin
- work for all skin types
- no white cast or flashback
The only differences I found – one minor and one more defining – is that the translucent powder is more finely milled and does a better job at oil control. The latter difference is the reason why I think the translucent powder is a superior product, especially for those with oily or combination skin. I found that my skin was more shiny on the side with the RCMA powder within a couple hours of wear. And, that conversely, the translucent powder made my skin look more luminous rather than oily. With that said, if you’re trying to decide between the two and you’re budget conscious, I would try the RCMA powder first and see if it works for you. It’s a great product, and I think that as far as how it looks on the skin, I can see no difference in person or in flash photography.
Check out my video with a demo:
How hilarious is the thumbnail?!! YouTube is playing me and not giving me many options to work with. Let’s just say this screen grab is the best one, and yet still so embarrassing!!
Hope that helps my darlings! I’ll also post a photo on my Instagram with the RCMA powder on one side and the Laura Mercier on the other so you can compare for yourself, so pretty please give me a follow if you haven’t already @sarahnajafi. You’ll also find tons of styling and beauty posts. And don’t forget to leave any questions or comments below. xo Sarah
Thank you for the wonderful review. I am bit nervous using the rcma no color powder on my clients mainly because I m not sure if it ll leave a white cast. I usually used Laura Mercier for baking technique but rcma makes my skin look shiny on the camera.
Thank you Sheen! It doesn’t leave a white cast, and I’ve used it on almost all skin tones. Just know that a little goes a long way! If you apply too much and don’t brush off the excess it will sit on the skin and look white. Hope that helps!
Thankyou for this! Such a good, objective and informative post. Having never tried a loose powder, I am going to take your advice and start with the RCMA and see how I like it.
Thank you so much Olivia! I hope you like it…Let me know what you think. Xo
What a brilliant review! Thank you, still torn between the two though!
Thank you Emma!! Haha I hear ya…what kind of skin do you have?
Thank you so much! Did you buy one yet??
Thanks Sarah! What a brilliant, in-depth comparison. I actually just bought my first bottle of RCMA powder and it came in today, so I have yet to test it out. I was going back and forth between it and the Laura Mercier- hopefully I made the right choice for me! Thanks again for the review!!
Thank you SO much, Amber! Let me know what you think! xoxo
Hi Sarah! Thank you very much for such a great review. I;m looking for a loose powder exactly for “cooking” and “baking”, to set my concealer and leave that area slighly lighter than the rest of the face. I was about to buy Laura Mercier powder but heard that it actually does dry the undereye. Could you please recommend a replacement for that? What do you think about NARS or MAC translucent powders?
Hi Elizabeth! Thank you so much! Before responding to your question, I need to know if you have dry under eyes? And what do you want to achieve by baking? Thx!
I do have quite dry undereye area. With the powder I would like to both set my concealer, preventing it from creasing, and maybe leave it slightly lighter than the rest of the face? Because I do have foundation powder which I use to set the rest of the face, but I feel it will look too dark under my eyes. Thank you!
I just bought my laura mercier translucent powder havent try it yet but by just reading your reviews it makes me wanna take it back and just purchase RCMA powder instead since im dryskin .but my question is where can I purchase the RCMA powder ?
Hi Sarai! The Laura Mercier translucent powder is great. Both powders can be drying if used to bake on dry skin. So I don’t recommend using either to bake if your skin is dry. You can still use it to set cream or liquid products. A little goes a long way with both powders. A great way to set both is actually by using a wet beauty blender. That’s my favorite way to set my concealer! I have the link above where you can purchase it…you can also click here: http://rstyle.me/~8Ju4s Hope that helps! Xo
Is the Rcma powder necessarily less drying? My skin is dry, and when I apply my foundation and concealer it looks perfect, no dryness or dullness. I have to set my makeup because I wear it all day, and so I use my Laura mercier powder and immediately my skin looks dull, lifeless, and dry patches all around my face are very accentuated… Even with setting spray afterwards, I find that the powder doesn’t settle (and I’ve found setting sprays to break my foundation up much sooner in the day than not using them).
Hmmm I’ve never had that problem personally or on my clients. But I avoid using these powders on very dry skin, and if I do, I use a very small amount. Your skin may just be too dry to use a translucent powder. I find that mineralized powders work better for dry skin. Are you using the powder to bake your concealer? Because I would definitely avoid that technique for your skin type.
Love the post! Do you have a list of ingredients- would love to also know if this is paraben-free! X
Thanks doll! Unfortunately, the Laura Mercier powder is not paraben free. And I’m waiting on RCMA to respond to me, so I’ll keep you posted! xo
What are your thoughts in comparison to these 2 on the RCMA Translucent versus the no color?
Hi Shiela! I’ve never tried it, but now I know what to review next.;) It will take some time for me to get it and test it out, but I’ll definitely message you once it’s up!
Great review! I have combination skin (ridiculously oily T-zone and dry patches on cheeks and jaw) and I am always on the lookout for products to set foundation and reduce shine. I have been using the Laura Mercier powder for probably a year now, and although it does set my makeup and reduce shine initially, my skin is visibly oily within a few hours. Blotting papers, napkins, and toilet seat covers (I know it sounds gross but they are very thin and do a fantastic job of absorbing oil. Plus they are usually available in a pinch!) are my best friends! I saw the RCMA powder mentioned in another video and was in the process of ordering it when I came upon your post. I don’t think the RCMA powder would be a good option for me because of my skin type; thanks for helping me make and informed decision. I’ll stick with my go-to Laura Mercier!
P.S. Your highlight is gorgeous! What do you use?
Thanks babes! One thing to consider is that everyone is different, you may find that you like the RCMA more. Do you use skincare specifically for your skin type? I’m pretty sure that I used the e.l.f. Baked Blush in Pinktastic as a highlighter, one of my faves!
Yes I’ve purchased RCMA first when I started adding the baking technique to my makeup routine about a year ago and fell in lovee with it. I don’t think I can do my makeup without it now. Then I saw my sister using the Laura Mercier translucent powder and even though I loved the RCMA powder I felt like I needed to try it because it made my sister’s makeup look so good. I splurged and bought it and in comparing the two, I would say the RCMA does a better job at controlling oil on me for some reason. I also feel like the Laura Mercier does give my skin more of this soft focus glow which is a plus but for some reason I get oily faster. Maybe it’s because I know the Laura Mercier is so expensive so I use less of it than the RCMA powder? I don’t know. But because they both work so well and are so similar, I would have to go with the RCMA because of it’s amazing price. Anywhere I can save cash, I will. 🙂
Thank you so much for the information! I have the RCMA powder and have been wanting to try to Laura Mercier one. I see sometimes online that there’s a Laura Mercier translucent powder number 01, 02, and 03. Do you happen to know what the difference is between the three? I think I’m going to try the Laura Mercier one because sometimes I get oily. Thanks again for this! You have really helped and provided amazing information!
Hi Mariam! Thank you so much, that means to much to me. There is only one “shade” for the translucent powder. The powder that comes in 3 shade options is the foundation powder. Hope that helps! xx
Thank you so much, Vanessa! That’s awesome, I’m happy to hear that it works so well for your skin type. It’s interesting, I’m finding that some people with oily skin respond better to the RCMA while others (like me) are less oily with the LM powder. Even so, the difference for me is not that significant. My next review is in the RCMA translucent powder, stay tuned! Xo
thanks for the review! I am torn between the RCMA and Laura powder, I have really oily skin and the Laura Transclucent did a great job with keeping me matte longer and is great for baking, but its expensive. I want to try RCMA but I’m just not sure if it will help control my oily skin?
I hear ya! It’s tough because I’ve found that on some people the RCMA does better in terms of oil control than the Laura Mercier TP and visa versa. If I were you I would give the RCMA No Color Powder or the RCMA Translucent Poweder a try – it’s actually very comparable to the Laura Mercier TP. Hope that helps!
Awesome! Was thinking about RCMA powder but…. taking a picture with the flash on if you use it for baking, does it show up? I bought and used NYX translucent loose powder for baking under eye and while it looked great, I took a flash picture of myself and I was horrified at the white smears all over my face! Haha. Just curious on this… way better price than laura mercier!
Hi Alicia! Sorry for the delay…Thank you so much! Yes, the price is a steal and there is no flashback with the RCMA powder. So you’re good! xoS
Thanks fo share this post
Hi, there! I have oily skin all over my face–not just my t-zone, but I also get dry patches from dried up pimples. I have the Invisible Setting Powder from Laura Mercier, and it clings to my dry patches. Would either of these cling to my dry patches? If so, do you have any recommendations on setting powders that DON’T cling to dry patches but are still good for oily skin?
Hi Marina! That’s difficult because most powders will enhance the look of dry skin on breakouts. I’d start with skincare…use an exfoliating face wash to get rid of the dead skin cells and follow with a great moisturizer. If you need suggestions for moisturizers, lmk! Otherwise I think you should be fine with either of these powders. If not, try using a mineralized powder for just your dry areas and the translucent powder for the rest of your face. Hope that helps! xo
I need your help! I have combination skin so sometimes areas are dry and throughout the day I get shiny. I’ve been using Becca’s primer, two faced foundation, and Laura Mercier’s translucent setting powder. I still get shiny and I feel like it does not last long. Also it transfers on clothes or my phone. I went into Sephora and told them I don’t like that I’m transferring and they recommended Urban Decay’s All Nighter setting spray. I’m still transferring, still shiny, and still frustrated! Please help!
Hi Adrienne! Sorry for the late response…I feel you, it can be very frustrating. What skincare do you use? And which Too Faced foundation and Becca primer are you using exactly?
I recently bought the LM TP but I am debating on keeping it or returning and trying out the rcma powder I have never tried either one.. I have normal – combo skin my under eye sometimes can be a bit drying.. what would you recomend?/:
Or what would you recomend.. my under eye tends to crease and I just want a smooth under eye with no white out cast that can easily take pics.. have you ever tried the cover fx translucent powder?
Hi Yulisa! A few questions: What have you used before to set your undereye? What concealer do you use? And do you use eye cream before applying concealer?
Great post! Thank you for the review and comparison. Could you tell me where the RCMA powder made in?
Hello from iran, my skin is dry and whenever I use concealer under my eye it creases immediately, does rcma powder can help? Or what else you think I can do for my dry skin to have a nice and smooth skin when applying make up, I use make up forever nourishing primer, and estee lauder maximum cover L.A girl concealer what else you suggest
Let me do some research Fereshte joon!
Hi again! For dry under eyes, it’s best to use cream concealers. I would try Bobbi Brown or Kevyn Aucoin . Hope that helps!
Love this post❤️ thinking to buy laura at the first time, but after read your comment and you said that laura contain paraben, now I want to buy the RCMA, the problem is, my skin is sometimes very dry in my cheeks, sometims just dry, and in my nose area is always oily but not too much. what should I buy? just want to set my concealer to preventing creasing. is RCMA fine? since I really avoid using products that contain paraben. Thanks!!
Yes! Only set the areas that are oily with RCMA, not on the dry areas of your face. Hope that helps! xx
Wow such a great review Sarah. It was so helpful <3
Thank you .
You’re so welcome! xx
Oh and i have also a question pls.
Can i use the laura mercier on every spot on my face that is oily to provide the shine ? For example all over my forehead ??
Hai Sarah.. great review and so helpful. But I still have question how to apply the RCMA powder.. after I apply the powder, should I wait like 5 minutes before I continue to the next step? Thanks for your advice
Hi Fairiska! Apologies for the delay! What do you do after you set your face and under eye? Generally, you can move on to your next step immediately after!