What is Setting Powder and What is it Used For?

Published Categorized as Makeup Tips

Arguably one of the major purposes of using any type of makeup on your skin is to look good and, inevitably, feel more confident. To help with that, there are a myriad of products available for the best effects. However, makeup – especially ones you use as your base – can sometimes become a burden after a long day of working in the heat. They can end up making you look not as presentable as you’d like. That is when you need that something extra to prevent your makeup from melting off after many hours of work or play.

Hi beautiful! Just to let you know, we earn a modest commission off of purchases made through Amazon affiliate links on this page. Don't worry, it's of no extra cost to you. We love the products we recommend in this post, and we hope you do, too!

Table of Contents

Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder 2.3 oz. Translucent Tone Loose Face Powder, for Setting Makeup or as Foundation, Lightweight, Long Lasting,Pack of 1

In this post, we will take a closer look at setting powders. We’ll walk you through what they are and give you some tips for using it. We also picked our favorites that you can try!

What is Setting Powder?

Not to mistake with powder foundation, setting powder is used to help set your foundation. “Set” means it keeps it in place, making it sit on your skin well, for long periods of time.

While powder foundation is used to even out the look of your skin, setting powders are used to prevent foundation from easily rubbing off.

These are available in two commonly used forms — a dry, and a compressed powder. They are also available in a colorless form, or you can get it in a slightly tinted form, as well. These tinted kinds can be used on many different tones of skins for better blending.

For the best effect, you’ll need to know how to apply them to make your look better.

What is the Best Setting Powder?

Here are our top picks:

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Our Pick

Laura Mercier Setting Powder

Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder, Translucent Medium Deep

This product is very easy and smooth to apply on your foundation to remove the excess oil from the skin.

It blends very easily with the makeup and provides quite an even tone to darker skin types.

Because it is loose, though, it is not really good to use before you go out because it will make a mess.

Product Highlights

  • Blends nicely with foundation
  • Colorless and easy to apply
  • Great setting capability
  • Not meant for being used on the go
Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder, Translucent Medium Deep


Best for Dry Skin

Beauty Bakerie Setting Powder

Beauty Bakerie Setting Powder (Yellow)

This great pick from Beauty Bakerie will remove that oily look from your skin and provide a nice, natural glow to your face.

It will also set your makeup perfectly so you can enjoy a smudge-free day.

Product Highlights

  • Will provide a good glow
  • Provides an oil-free look
  • Smudge-free all day long
  • A bit messy
Beauty Bakerie Setting Powder (Yellow)

Best for Oily Skin

Too Faced Peach Perfect Setting Powder

TOO FACED Peach Perfect Mattifying Setting Powder – Peaches and Cream Collection

This product from Too Faced, one of the best beloved brands in the makeup world, will absorb the excess oil from the skin and remove that shiny look.

It is easy to apply and will evenly distribute on the skin.

Product Highlights

  • Removes the shiny look
  • Easy to apply
  • Smooth and lightweight
  • Will not last the whole day
TOO FACED Peach Perfect Mattifying Setting Powder – Peaches and Cream Collection

Best Drugstore Option

Revlon Colorstay Setting Powder

Revlon ColorStay Pressed Powder, Longwearing Oil Free, Fragrance Free, Noncomedogenic, 290 Natural Ochre, 0.30 oz

This is a pressed type from Revlon. It is smooth, lightweight, and very easy to apply to the skin.

Because of its packaging and type, it is perfect to be used wherever you may go.

Product Highlights

  • Perfect for many skin types
  • Lightweight and smooth
  • Not ideal for all color tones
Revlon ColorStay Pressed Powder, Longwearing Oil Free, Fragrance Free, Noncomedogenic, 290 Natural Ochre, 0.30 oz

Best Luxury Option

La Mer Setting Powder

LA MER The Powder 8 g.

This beautiful product from La Mer nice setting capability and helps your makeup last the whole day.

It is smooth and lightweight and applies easily and evenly to the skin.

Product Highlights

  • Nice setting capability
  • Very easy to apply
  • Smooth and lightweight
  • Not perfectly matte
LA MER The Powder 8 g.

Why Use a Setting Powder?

Many times, after your foundation is applied, you will have that sticky feeling on your skin. This makeup product may prevent that. It will also help remove that shiny look from your skin after you have applied your makeup, and it will leave a matte look.

Since it is available in the colorless form, it will also not interfere with the color of your makeup or skin tone. It will also help make your makeup last much longer and look flawless for much longer than without it.

Is it Necessary?

With the use of setting powders as part of your daily makeup routine, you will get quite a few benefits. One of these benefits is that it will prevent your makeup from sliding around on your skin and leaving open spots.

For dry skin types, it is not really necessary to use this on top of your makeup. However, it will always make your makeup look better, and it will provide you with a long-lasting even finish through a long day.

How Do I Choose a Setting Powder?

Maybelline Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder, Light Medium, 0.7 oz.What to Look For

The first thing you need to look for is the right tone. The wrong one will have quite a negative effect on your skin and will cause any blemishes you wanna cover up with makeup to be more prominent.

You should go for a color slightly lighter than your foundation and concealer if you are using them. When you are using a setting powder over a cream or liquid foundation, it may become a bit darker, so lighter is good.

RELATED: Cream to powder foundation

What Makes a Good Setting Powder?

It should be able to absorb excess oil from the skin to prevent that shiny look. In addition, it must also help prevent your makeup from looking cakey and creased after a long day of work.

Your choice should also leave a smoother and a matte look to the skin on your face to help you look good all day long. Together with the right brush, a good setting powder should set your makeup so it will last much longer.

Setting Powder FAQs

Do You Use Setting Powder Before or After Foundation?

For the best effects, it is better to apply it on top of the foundation to help set it properly. This will help the foundation last much longer on your skin and may depend on your foundation type.

However, some experts will apply the setting powder to the skin before they apply the foundation on top of it. This reverse method also has great benefits, but you will have to know what you are doing for it to work effectively.

Setting Powder Before or After Contour?

This will all depend on whether you are using a pressed or a loose setting powder as part of your routine.

Pressed setting powder can easily be used before you use contouring to give you the best effect.

If you are using the loose type, you should apply it on top of the contouring to help it blend. It will also help set the contouring and will help the rest of your makeup last longer. It will work well with a highlighter, as well.

What Can Replace Setting Powder?

If you do not have a setting powder handy or you unexpectedly ran out, you can easily use baby powder on top of your makeup to help it set or remove that shiny look from your skin.

This is especially good for those people who have a problem with oily skin and have a lot of shine. You can also use rosewater to remove excess oil from your skin, or you can use a BB cream as a foundation.

Most BB creams will provide a matte finish to your makeup if you use it as the foundation on your skin. Good face primers can also be used as a foundation to provide you with the same effect as a setting powder.

Setting Powder vs Setting Spray

The difference might not be stark to others, but let’s shed some light.

Setting powders are mostly used to absorb excess oil from the skin to prevent that shiny look after applying the makeup. Setting spray, on the other hand, will help all the makeup that is applied to the face stay in place.

In addition, setting powders also helps to set the foundation, so it will blend much better and help your makeup last longer.

On the other hand, setting sprays will provide you with a much softer texture that is less visible to make everything on your face look smoother.

Can I Use Finishing Powder as a Setting Powder?

Finishing powder is normally used to blur fine lines, as well as pores, and it is used after the application of setting powder. A setting powder is what the name suggests it is — it is used to set the makeup on your skin after it is applied.

Finishing powder is better used as a way to soften the overall texture of the makeup and provide an extra glow. Setting powders are used to remove the excess oil from the skin and provide you with a matte finish.

It is true that it may help set your makeup to an extent, but it will not have the same effect.

Set Your Makeup: A Recap

As you’ve read, a setting powder can be an essential part of your makeup collection.

For the best look, it’s a great to apply this with your makeup.

We may have a top choice, but it does not mean the others are not as good. Look for yourself and decide which one suits you the best!

Do you have any tips for using setting products?

By Ellis James

We design luxuriously glamorous bags, organizers and life essentials for you. At Ellis James Designs, it’s all about YOU. Your bag, Your way. Our exclusive designs are timeless, indulgent and most importantly inspired by you. What will be your first Ellis James Design?


  1. Have you tried the Makeup For Ever setting powder? It’s very fine so it doesn’t leave pigment on your skin at all!

  2. I haven’t used setting powders for a long time as I’m so pale it’s hard to find a good translucent one! But when I do find one it does help my makeup stay on so much longer (and looks more polished)

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Nancy! Setting powders indeed make a rather huge difference, we agree!

  4. I’m guilty for never using setting powder, but after this I’m definitely thinking that I should give it a go!

  5. Oooh! I stated using setting powders last year and it made a HUGE difference with my makeup. It is so important when you don’t want to have the super shiny look either. I love it for the summer. Thanks for sharing!

    Nancy ✨

Comments are closed.