Setting Powder vs. Finishing Powder: What's the Difference? - Klever Korner

Setting Powder vs. Finishing Powder: What's the Difference?

Learn the difference between setting and finishing powders and their overall use to achieve your desired makeup look

a woman sitting at a table with a bunch of makeup brushes
By Sue Biller
Dorian Rhode
Edited by Dorian Rhode

Published December 24, 2023.

A set of makeup powder products on a purple background

Calling all makeup enthusiasts! Have you ever wondered about the magic behind setting and finishing powders? They're the secret to maintaining a flawless makeup look throughout the day.

Understanding the purpose of these products is the key to achieving your desired makeup look. Let's delve into the unique roles of setting and finishing powders as we provide advice about application techniques and tips that will take your beauty routine to the next level.

What is Setting Powder?

Setting powder helps set foundation and makeup after application, making it last longer. It absorbs oils, prevents shine, and blurs pores and imperfections. These products are typically translucent or very light, so you can use them on top of any foundation shade without altering the color.

» Learn the importance of setting your foundation with powder

What is Finishing Powder?

Similarly, finishing powder creates a flawless, filtered look to the skin without the added benefit of controlling oils and shine. You usually apply it after foundation, concealer, and contouring to refine your makeup look.

Finishing powders with certain ingredients like silica or finely milled minerals add a subtle texture to the skin, creating a soft-focus finish. Translucent products create a natural finish, while ones with a hint of shimmer add a subtle glow.

Setting Powder vs Finishing Powder: What's the Difference?

The main difference between setting and finishing powder is their purpose and application. Setting powder mattifies and makes your makeup last longer while finishing powder polishes your look. These differences aren't visible to the naked eye, so you should rely on the product's labeling.

Distinct Use in Makeup

Setting powder

Setting powder is ideal for formal occasions or photography sessions. It minimizes skin shine and prevents reflection from camera flashes, which is suitable if you aren't looking to achieve a dewy finish.

Finishing powder

Finishing powders are an excellent choice for natural daylight and indoor lighting, as they're lightweight and blend nicely on the skin.

They add a radiant touch to achieve a fresh, dewy makeup look. In this instance, a luminous powder would complement the look by smoothing over lines and covering skin imperfections.

Application Techniques

Use your setting powder across the entire face or concentrate on oil-prone areas, such as the t-zone after applying foundation. When working with these products, it's best to use a large, loose, and fluffy brush. The more flexible the bristles, the better the product will blend. You'll get a thicker application if the brush has dense ones.

If you need more coverage in the t-zone area, apply a slightly more concentrated layer of powder using a damp or dry sponge or a puff. Some compacts come with their own puffs to apply the makeup. But be sure to brush off the excess product to avoid using too much at once.

Then, once you've completed your beauty routine and you want to refine your look, choose your brush or puff, and dust a light layer of finishing powder over the entire face or areas where you want to add smoothness.

Can finishing powder be used as setting powder?

You can use finishing powder instead of setting powder to create the ultimate flawless base. But using a setting product to do the same job as a finishing one would counteract its effectiveness.

A woman using a brush to apply makeup powder on her face

» Discover the different brushes to use for makeup application

Different Skin Types

Setting powder

Setting powder is meant for oily and combination skin with enlarged pores. Without it, the foundation can move, fade, or slide around on your face throughout the day.

It gives the skin a flawless appearance, as the less shine there is on the skin, the fewer pores and imperfections will show.

Finishing powder

Finishing powder is ideal for normal to dry skin less prone to oiliness, so there's no need to set the makeup. It also means that you can use it on most skin types.

Choose a luminous finishing powder for extra radiance or a matte one to boost your foundation. Either option will give your skin a beautiful, polished look.

Note: Choose a powder that matches your skin tone as closely as possible. Going too light can emphasize fine lines and pores, making you look washed out. It's better to go slightly darker if you can't find an exact match.

Setting Powder vs Finishing Powder: Tips And Advice

  • Find great-quality makeup products at the drugstore, so you don't have to spend money on high-end luxury brands.
  • Less is always more when it comes to powder. Start lightly and build it up from there.
  • A setting spray will help remove any cakiness if you’ve gone a little heavy with the powder.
  • Apply a light dusting of setting powder before applying foundation if you have oily skin. It'll help soak up residual moisture from your skincare, creating a slightly matte canvas to apply foundation.
  • Look out for powders in compacts that come with a mirror and powder puff. These are great to pop into your purse for on-the-go touchups.

Setting Powder vs Finishing Powder: Key Takeaways

Experimenting with setting and finishing powders is key to finding what works best for your skin type and makeup goals. Using these products in moderation is essential to achieve a long-lasting look without overdoing it.

Klever Beauty Box caters to makeup enthusiasts seeking top-quality products, including expert guidance on trends and application techniques to ensure your makeup stays flawless throughout the day.