It seems like there’s a setting product for everything — whether it’s to quickly dry our nail polish, perfect our eyebrows or lock-in our makeup. And while the product options for setting our look are very straightforward when it comes to nails and brows, when we’re talking about the rest of our makeup it’s just not as easy. How do we choose between different setting powders and setting sprays, and is there even a difference between the two? I reached out to NYC-based makeup expert Gabriel Almodovar and beauty influencer Nikki Apostolou to find out.
“Setting Powder is designed to absorb the excess oil and moisture from your face and the products you’ve applied to your face. Because skin is a porous surface and produces oil, you want to set your face makeup with powder to help it last longer without melting away,” Almodovar explains.
He compares setting spray to hairspray — but for the face. “It’s designed to keep the product from being absorbed into your porous skin. Even the mattifying sprays don’t mattify your face the way a setting powder can.”
How to Use Setting Powder and Setting Spray
“A setting powder is applied during your routine and sets foundation, concealer and basically any liquid or creamy products you’ve applied — down to a smooth, matte, skin-like texture,” Almodovar says. “It often leaves the skin with an ‘airbrushed’ finish and can help to blend as well because it diffuses what’s under it. This is not to be confused with finishing powder, which is used after setting powder and adds even more of a blurred look to imperfections of the skin (lines under the eyes, pores, etc.) and control shine.”
Apostolou adds, “Setting spray is a fine mist which is applied after finishing the makeup routine. The setting spray can have different finishes such as matte or dewy, and it elongates the amount of time the makeup will last. It can also be used to amplify highlight or to apply a shadow damp — simply dust some product onto the brush and spritz the brush after. “
So Which One Should You Use?
“If you really want to set your makeup and extend the life of your makeup, I recommend using both a loose powder and a setting spray,” Almodovar explains. His favorite setting product is Maybelline New York Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder to smooth the skin’s surface and give a sheer hint of color. “I also really like Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Loose Finishing Powder, NYX Professional Makeup Matte Finish Setting Spray and L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray.