The Difference Between Finishing Powder and Setting Powder

The Difference Between Finishing Powder and Setting Powder

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  • Finishing powders and setting powders are two types of popular makeup powders.
  • Using setting powder for oily skin will keep your makeup in place, while finishing powder enhances it.
  • Here, you’ll discover the difference between them and how to apply them like a pro.

There are so many face powders out there, but it’s hard to know what each really does for your skin. Case in point: finishing powders vs. setting powders. What’s the difference? Is it just marketing, or do they really serve different purposes when it comes to doing makeup? To help clear it up, we reached out to makeup artist and beauty blogger Ivy Boyd.

Finishing Powder vs. Setting Powder

The verdict: they’re different. According to Boyd, it’s simple a matter of function vs. form. “A setting powder does exactly that — it sets your makeup,” she says. She describes finishing powder, on the other hand, as more of a filter. “It is often translucent and is used to blur pores, soften texture, and even give an overall glow to the skin.” Basically, finishing powder is for looks, whereas setting powder helps you get more hours out of your concealer, foundation, and other face makeup.

How to Use Setting Powder

When applying setting powder, Boyd recommends using a damp beauty blender to press the loose powder under your eyes and into your T-zone for an airbrushed look. Remember: press and roll; don’t aggressively blend or rub.

How to Use Finishing Powder

Finishing powder should be lightly dusted on. “Think of it like a veil,” Boyd says. She recommends a large, fluffy powder brush for applying finishing powder, but she says you can still use a damp beauty sponge for your cheeks where pores are larger.

Ready to start shopping? Here are some of the best finishing and setting powders on the market now.

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