What’s the difference between Setting & Finishing powders?

Hello beauties,

Last week my friend asked my opinion on what powder she should buy. I asked ‘Do you want a setting or a finishing powder?’. She just looked at me like I was crazy. ‘I don’t know, I want a powder. What are the differences?’.

Honestly, a few months ago, maybe I was like her and didn’t know the differences. And today, I’m still not an expert but writing on this beauty blog made me more curious about how the products work and all their differences.

Hopefully today we are going to solve this big problem for everyone: Setting Powders vs Finishing Powders.



Setting Powders

The first thing we are going to talk about is setting, specifically setting powders. Probably the most popular, that everyone knows is the Laura Mercier Translucid Setting Powder. This is probably one of the classics, the more used product when it comes to setting.

A Setting powder has as purpose to lock your foundation in place and remove all the excess oils that came from the foundation and even our own oils. These powders make makeup stay where it is!

The downside with these is that they tend to be heavy, and therefore not natural.

I like to use a big fluffy brush and go everywhere in my face because we want to set all makeup and not just part of the face. If I’m feeling my skin oilier, I go heavier and use a beauty blender or a powder puff. It’s important to never rub the powder, just press, so the powder stays attached to the skin and the oils can’t break the powder barrier.

I have a lot of creases and dry under eyes, so I can’t bake the under eyes or my creases will stay more visible. I use a small fluffy brush and the result is incredible!

For now, I’m using Kat Von D Setting Powder. It has a very similar formula than Laura Mercier’s (but it’s cheaper). The universal shade allows it to appear translucent on almost every skin tone. The formula sets down makeup and keeps oils under control.



Finishing Powders

Now let’s talk about finishing powders. ‘What’s the difference?’. You shouldn’t use a finishing powder instead of a setting powder. They are completely different products with different purposes.

The finishing powder, as the name says, is the final step after we have all the makeup set.

In the beginning, I was a little afraid to use a powder on top of a powder, but we have to remember that they are different products.

Finishing powders are made of ingredients that are finely milled and have the purpose of smoothing the skin (pores, wrinkles, texture). They are not good in absorb oils and they work better on a setting skin.

The problem with these powders is that you need to blend it really well or you can end up with weird white marks in photos – ‘flashback’.

I use the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Microfinishing Loose Powder. This is also a cult classic and a great product because is super finely milled (no flashback) and it’s translucent (working literally on every skin tone). It’s the best to smooth the skin and blur skin even more due to its velvety texture.


I like to apply it with a fluffy brush but instead of pressing the powder as we should do with the setting powder, for finishing powder we should be gentle and softly sweep a little of the product. Remember that with finishing powders a little goes a long way.

Normally I just use finishing powders when I want my skin extra polish or when I have a special event. They are great if you know you will be photographed.


Conclusion, setting powders are best for daily use, but if you want the additional blurring effect, a finishing powder could be your best friend.






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