Setting Powder vs Finishing Powder

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In the world of cosmetics, there are lots of products that could come in powder form. They vary from each other and would have their own specific use.

However, due to a lot of powdered products, it may still be confusing to differentiate one from the other especially if they are quite similar.

One of those that could belong to that category is the setting powder and finishing powder. If you are torn between using setting powder vs finishing powder, you’ve come to the right post. 

Today, we are going to differentiate the two to help clear out which is best to use for a specific reason. For that, we first have to define what each is and then compare them and explain how to use each powder.


What Is A Setting Powder?

Applying makeup can take a while! Most of the time it takes time, especially if you want to nail that flawless look. 

After you’ve put so much into applying your makeup products on your face, it can be frustrating to notice that your makeup seems like it is sliding off after a few hours! Some colors may not be as vibrant, and the blemishes you are trying to cover might start to show.

It can be disappointing. But you don’t have to worry because there are products that could help with that as a setting powder. 

A setting powder  is a product that helps make sure that your makeup lasts longer. Setting powders do this by absorbing or soaking up the excess oils that are present on your skin. 

A setting powder is a product that helps make sure that your makeup lasts longer.

The oil on the surface of your skin can cause products to seemingly slide off your face. So if you want to help your foundation stay for longer, then you should be using a setting powder on it. 

This is especially true if you have oily skin. If not, you can also just choose to use the setting powder on the oiliest parts of your skin like the T-zone, which includes the forehead and nose area. 

With the use of setting powders, touch-ups can be avoided.

Usually setting powders are used on top of the liquid makeup to help lock them in place. That also helps prevent it from transferring to whatever it touches, like your hands or your phone.

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What Is A Finishing Powder?

Another type of powder that you might have in your stash of makeup and cosmetics is a finishing powder . This is a product that you apply as one of the last steps in your makeup routine to improve the texture of your skin.

Finishing powder is applied as one of the last steps in your makeup routine to improve the texture of your skin.

With this kind of powder, you can help make the pores or fine lines less visible. It is like a blurring product that you can use for your skin. 

When used as the final step to applying your makeup, you are more likely to create an airbrushed finish.

The final powder can also help better blend out your bronzer, contour, or blush

The texture of finishing powders is usually super fine and it is also more often translucent. It comes as a loose powder or a pressed powder. 

There are different types of finishing powder. They can have a mattifying or a luminous effect. 

Those who have oily skin are more compatible with using those with the mattifying effect. These will tone down the shine.

On the other hand, those who have dry skin are better off using the finishing powder with a luminous effect. 

If you use a finishing powder, your skin will achieve a nice and natural-looking glow. Finishing powders can be applied by using a flat-top brush and dusting it all over your face. 

Setting Powder vs Finishing Powder: The Difference

So what makes setting powder different from finishing powder? Well, the main difference is the function of the two powders. They are not interchangeable, they’re made for different things. 

Setting powder is used to keep your makeup in place. It is layered on top of your makeup multiple times to control the excess oil and prevent makeup sliding. It won’t result in a white cast even if you use it in multiple layers. 

Finishing powder blurs and blends to create a seamless look. Although in a similar form, it will not effectively set your makeup. It is meant to be simply dusted all over the face.

If you use finishing powder as a setting powder, you could end up having a white cast on your face, especially with photos. 

However, you should also avoid using it too much because it could also turn cakey. It can also settle on the wrinkles and make fine lines more visible. 

Although the products are different from each other, there is no problem in using both of them together. In fact, it is better to use them together instead of substituting one for the other. 

If you need to set your makeup and control the oil on your face, then use a setting powder. If you want to make your skin look smoother and less textured, reach for finishing powder. 

No matter what you use, make sure not to overdo it, or else it could also result in an unappealing look. 


If you are looking for a clear winner between the two powdered products, then you’ll be disappointed to see that there isn’t one. That’s because the two products are designed differently and are useful for different purposes. 

The winner for you or for another person might not be the same because it will depend on what you need or your goals.

Remember that if you need to make sure your makeup last, a setting powder is what you should use. If you want to improve the texture or appearance of your skin, then a finishing powder will help you blur the lines and blemishes. 

It is up to you to choose which product is suitable for your needs. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).