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Setting Spray Vs. Setting Powder: Ask the Expert

Setting Spray Vs. Setting Powder: Ask the Expert

Taking care of your face involves everything from making sure your skin is healthy to trying your best to have perfect makeup. And decisions regarding your makeup and the products you use can make a big difference not only for your appearance but also for the way your face skin reacts to them.

One of the biggest debates in terms of makeup products is based on the decision to use a setting spray or setting powder. You will need to know which one is best for you according to the circumstances that you find yourself in. Because choosing between setting spray and powder is not always an aesthetic decision alone.

Setting Spray vs Setting Powder

Even if both setting spray and setting powder are full of advantages for locking up your makeup, they are not as similar as you might assume. There are differences that make them suitable for different situations.

The secret powder will absorb the oils on your skin while setting spray will not be absorbed into your skin.

The setting powder is created with your skin’s structure in mind. And one of the important aspects to consider when you want to lock up your makeup is the oily layer of your skin. Your face secrets oils that can look unaesthetic, especially after you finished applying your makeup.

Plus, the makeup products you apply on your face will also come with an oily aspect and add a certain level of moisture to your skin. The setting powder is created to absorb these unnecessary oils and moisture. By applying setting powder, your skin will have a more mat look and your makeup will last longer.

On the other hand, setting spray is designed to not get in contact with your skin, at least not directly like a powder would. Makeup experts compare setting sprays with hair spray. It will lock up your makeup and offer you a matty look.

They are to be applied differently

As you want to decide between setting powder and setting spray, you need to be aware that they will not be applied in the same phase of your makeup routine. The setting powder should be applied during your makeup routine while the setting spray needs to be applied at the end of your makeup routine.

More: Setting Spray for Oily Skin

The setting powder should be applied after you are done with your foundation or other liquid or creamy product you might have applied to your skin. In this stage, the powder will help all the other layers of makeup diffuse under it. Your skin will look more mat and less shiny. The setting spray is applied at the end to lock up your makeup and make it last longer.

Setting spray keeps all your makeup in place while the setting powder is focused on the makeup you apply on your skin. Since setting spray is meant to be applied all over your face, including your eyes (keep them closed as you spray it over them) and lips, it will protect all your makeup.

Unlike setting spray, the setting powder is applied on the surface of your skin but you can’t apply the powder on your lips or eyelashes. This is why the setting powder will not protect your mascara from going smeared or your lipstick from getting fade. If you use a setting powder make sure that you also use resistant mascara and lipstick or even waterproof ones.

More: Concealer or Foundation

What about the Setting powder & Finishing powder

Setting powder is not the same as the finishing powder. While the setting powder is used mainly to fix your foundation and remove extra oil of your skin, the finishing powder is used to hide any imperfections at the end of the makeup. You can use it to mask wrinkles or uneven tones of your skin for instance. So make sure you don’t confound the two because they are very different.

setting spray or powder for oily skin

Also, a setting spray is different than a finishing spray. Even if they do have a common goal: to keep your makeup in place. However, they are designed to do this in different ways. A setting spray will have less moisture than a finishing spray and your skin will look less oily after you apply it.

Do you need to use both setting powder and setting spray?

The debate continues when it comes to setting powder and setting spray and the good news is that you might no need to decide between these two. Some makeup experts suggest that you can use both of these products in order to define your makeup in a professional way.

It makes perfect sense as well. You can apply your setting powder after you applied your foundation and seal it all up at the end with the setting spray. But make sure to not load your face with too many makeup products.

Also, choose products that will allow your skin to breathe through your perfectly applied makeup. This is very important if you want to have healthy skin for a long time and even avoid aging side effects.

However, you really don’t need to use setting spray or setting powder for your daily makeup. You can save such fine touches for special occasions or for those days when you know your makeup will need to face extreme weather conditions.

Both setting spray and setting powder will make your makeup impeccable even if you have to face extreme wind or humidity. And they can be tear-proof as well, which will make a great difference for your overall look.

More: Best Powder Foundation

Advantages of using setting powder or setting spray

If you do get used to apply setting powder or setting spray as part of your makeup routine, there are plenty of benefits to enjoy from it.

  • They both lock up your makeup so it will last for a long time
  • Setting spray can make your makeup look fresher along the day without you taking several breaks to retouch it
  • Setting powder will reduce the levels of oils in your skin by absorbing it
  • Both setting spray and setting powder will make your face have a more mat look
  • Setting spray is great for keeping your mascara and lipstick in place
  • Setting spray can be used as a highlighter when you want to accentuate certain areas of your face
  • Both setting spray and setting powder protect your skin against bacteria and different impurities that you can get in contact with along the day. This will keep your skin healthy for a long time.

Things to consider before buying a setting spray or a setting powder

Now that you are aware of the differences between these two products as well as the advantages they bring to your skin, you might be tempted to try them. But you need to take into consideration certain factors before investing in a setting spray or a setting powder.

More: BB Cream vs Foundation

Get to know what type of skin you have.

This is essential before buying any beauty product that will get in contact with your skin. Oily skin has different needs than dry skin or mixed skin. And manufacturers made sure to provide a type of setting spray or setting powder for each of these skin types as long as you know what you need.

Check the shades that setting powder and setting spray products come in. You might be able to get these types of products in different shades, especially if you want to use the setting powder. Make sure to choose a shade that is as close as possible to your skin tone. These products are also available in universal shades that are not so limited to certain skin tones.

Make sure you choose hypoallergenic products. Allergies are fairly common when you use makeup products. But if you know that your skin is sensitive and prone to develop allergies, try to find hypoallergenic setting powder or spray.

There are plenty of natural products to choose from out there. And if you can’t find one that is hypoallergenic completely, read the list of ingredients to make sure that they don’t contain the type of chemical that you are allergic to.


While you can use both setting spray and powder to add a nice touch to your makeup, keep in mind that they are not the same type of product. They might be used for the same purpose but they are applied differently and they impact your skin at different levels as well.

You can even use them together since they are applied in different stages of your makeup process. But always make sure to use high-quality products in order to avoid allergies or certain side effects that can create certain skin conditions.

Luckily, the market offers goof setting sprays and powders at affordable prices and for different types of skin. So you should have no problem choosing the right one for your needs.

Jessica Jefferson

Tuesday 3rd of March 2020

Can I just set my makeup with a dewy setting spray? I have super dry skin and I don't like the idea of mattifying my face with powder. I just want to keep slight excess oil at bay and set my makeup, but I still want a dewy and luminous finish. I hate how my Chanel setting powder gets rid of the lovely luminous finish my Armani Luminous Silk foundation gives me.