Our Guide To The Best Setting Spray And Powder

Setting powder pot in palm of hand with makeup brush ready to be dipped in the pot

Setting and priming the face when applying makeup is a key part of a beauty routine. Setting powder and spray have been floating around the beauty industry for a few years now, and with so many options, it’s easy to see why people get confused about which one they need. 

So, we’ve put together our handy guide to keep you up to date with the latest trends, techniques, and jargon when it comes to the best setting powders, setting sprays and primers.

What Is Setting Powder?

Setting powder is what we think of when we talk about a classic loose powder. Applied on top of your foundation and concealer, setting powder aims to reduce shine and ‘set’ your makeup in place so that it lasts as long as possible. 

Foundation tends to be very moist when applied to the skin, which means it can easily move around and be rubbed off. Setting powder is important as it acts as a barrier that protects your skin and keeps your makeup looking fresher for longer.

Setting powder can either be tinted to match your skin or completely translucent, which can be better when used with contouring makeup. We know what you’re thinking: what’s about finishing powder? Well, while setting powder makes sure your makeup lasts for the long haul, finishing powder is used to soften the texture of your face and blur any pores for a filtered HD look. Remember: finishing powder must always be applied as a final step to your makeup routine and never before your setting powder.

Pressed powder, on the other hand, comes in a compact and has a semi-solid consistency thanks to ingredients such as silicone or wax. This makes it much easier to transport or use on the go, but be aware that the particles of pressed powder are much bigger and can result in a cakey appearance if you use a little too much. We’d recommend that you use a loose setting powder at home but carry a pressed powder for light touch-ups throughout the day. 

Are setting powder and baking powder the same?

woman having lip liner applied

Baking is a makeup technique rather than a specific powder; however, there are powders on the market that are described as baking powders like banana powder. If you’re baking, you should apply translucent loose powder or loose baking powder liberally to areas such as under your eyes that you want to appear brighter once you’ve already applied your foundation or concealer. Leave the powder to ‘bake’ for at least 20 minutes to allow your skin to warm the foundation and concealer, as this will embed the powder and fix the product to your skin. While applying eyeshadows for a more intense smokey eye look, the baking powder will also catch any stray particles from your eyeshadow colour that may leave marks on other parts of your face. Once you’ve done the rest of your makeup, brush off the excess powder and enjoy a longer-lasting makeup look.

Are setting powder and setting spray the same?

A woman applies mascara with her hair in a towel

It’s best to think of setting powder and setting spray as being different sides of the same coin: they serve similar purposes yet are different. Setting powder is applied during the makeup process to enhance the appearance of your foundation, whereas setting spray is applied at the end of your makeup routine to lock in all makeup, including eye makeup and lipstick. 

How does it work? Well, setting powder is designed to absorb oil on your skin to remove any shine and prevent your makeup from moving around throughout the day. Setting spray, on the other hand, isn’t designed to interact with your skin at all. Setting spray is only used at the end of your makeup routine to keep your makeup protected from external factors that could cause it to move. 

What Is The Best Setting Powder For My Skin?

When looking for a new setting powder, understanding which setting powder is best for your skin is a great place to start.

Which setting powder is best for dry skin?

Setting powder is designed to absorb oils on your face to reduce shine, but if your skin is already dry, you could run the risk of drying it out even further. To prevent this, the best setting powder for dry skin would be a hydrating setting powder. We would recommend that if you have dry skin, it would be better to use a hydrating makeup primer under your makeup and set it all with a dewy moisturising setting spray on top. 

Since setting powder combats the effects of oily breakouts on the skin, something dry skin already lacks, you may find that it’s not a necessary part of your makeup routine. Combination skin should look to apply setting powder to only the oily areas of the face only and finish off with a setting spray for combination skin.

Which setting powder is best for oily skin?

Oily skin is exactly what setting powder is designed to combat, so any kind of setting powder should work wonders! Make sure that you check the label of the setting powder you’re considering to see if it’s a hydrating setting powder, as these are typically designed to suit dry skin.

Which setting powder is best for dark skin?

Setting powders that tout themselves as translucent can leave white layers on top of your skin. For people with darker skin tones, instead of choosing beige translucent setting powders, you’re much better off finding a tinted setting powder that matches your skin tone. Plenty of setting powders and pressed powders offer a variety of shades and tints to suit your complexion. We find that LA Colors is fantastic at providing the best setting powders and pressed powders for a variety of skin colours and tones. 

Which setting powder doesn’t give flashback?

What’s the point of your makeup being on point if there are no pictures to prove it?! Whether you’re planning on the perfect club selfie with the girls in town or want your wedding photographs to look their best, you’ll need to find a loose setting powder that won’t give you flashback or interact with your highlight too much. When planning your makeup, make sure that you test a few looks out with your phone camera first just to be safe and ask your friends to take photos on theirs to compare the result on different picture qualities. 

How To Use Setting Powder

Now we’ve explored the effects of setting powder and spray, let’s break down how to use your setting powder and spray combo.

How to apply setting powder and setting spray

  • Apply your primer, foundation, contour, and concealer.
  • Blend, blend, blend…. then just keep on blending!
  • Wait a few minutes before applying powdered makeup such as blush, bronzer, highlight, and eye makeup. 
  • While your foundation is still damp, apply the setting powder using a makeup sponge, powder puff, or powder brush. A light layer will create a dewy, natural look but keep in mind that you will be applying highlighter, contour, etc. after the setting powder.  
  • Apply the setting powder until your skin has a velvety finish with no visible excess powder – remember we’re going to use a setting spray in a tick! 
  • Start your usual makeup application with your contour, highlights, baking, eyeshadow, lip liner, etc. 
  • When your look is complete, grab your setting spray and hold it eight to ten inches away from your face. Close your eyes and spray the setting spray while making a T the and X shape with the spray to target each part of your face. 

Find The Best Setting Powder And Setting Spray at Beauty Base

Now that you’re an expert at choosing the best setting powder for your skin type and when to break out the setting spray, check out our fantastic collection of finishing & setting collections online now. In need of some more guidance on your complexion and the best skincare to use as part of your beauty regime? Check out our handy ‘What is my skin type?’ guide for everything you need to know about skincare and makeup tailored to your skin type.

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