What Is Setting Powder and How Do You Use It?

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, achieving the perfect makeup look you’re after feels like a true victory. So, it’s more than a little disappointing when you see your reflection or take a selfie and notice that your masterpiece has faded or smudged.

Keeping your makeup looking fresh off the press for the long run requires a few extra products and steps. By using a setting powder, you can make sure that everything from foundation to eye shadow stays put all day and all night.

So, what is setting powder? And how do you use it for maximum effect? Read on for some tips and tricks on the best setting powder products and techniques for your makeup routine.

What Is Setting Powder?

Setting powder is a cosmetic product that helps to, you guessed it, “set” your makeup. That means it helps to create a kind of seal over other products such as foundation and concealer to keep it in place and fabulous for a longer amount of time.

There are lots of other benefits to using setting powder, too. If you’ve got oily skin, setting powder helps to control shininess, especially when used on the T-zone. It can also act as light coverage over bare skin if you’re skipping foundation completely.

Power in Powder

Setting powder comes in different forms and can use different ingredients. The right setting powder for you depends on the oiliness of your skin and the look you’re going for.

Loose Powder Vs. Compact Powder

Loose powder usually comes in a pot and is not pressed down. This means it’s easier to apply a far more liberal amount of the powder at one time without it sitting too heavily on the skin. Loose setting powder is usually applied with a large face brush, like Scott Barnes PRO BRUSH #67.

Scott Barnes face brush

Pressed powders are also great for helping to smooth out the skin. Compact powder is pressed and compacted into a tray. It can be applied with a brush or by using a pressed powder puff. With a powder brush, you can use small amounts and build the product. Using a puff usually results in a heavier initial application. Setting powder and loose powder come in a range of colors to suit different skin tones. Pressed powders add more coverage as opposed to loose powders.

Translucent Powder

If you’re happy with the coverage of your foundation and just want to avoid excess shine, translucent setting powder is your best bet. It sets your foundation so it lasts longer without changing the color or overpowering your careful application of foundation, blush, or highlighter.

Tints and Shades

Some tinted powders can darken over time if your skin is oily. This is why it is important to choose the right shade, choosing powders that are closer to your skin tone to overall set your face and lighter shades to add light where needed. A loose powder or pressed that is pink can help cancel out gray and blue underneath the eye, so choosing the right tint and shade for your specific concern is important.

Talc Powder

Lots of setting powders include talc as an ingredient. This works great if you have oily skin as talc absorbs the excess oil and helps to prevent shiny skin throughout the day. However, if your skin is on the dry side, talc could keep causing a patchy or dulling effect.

Powder Containing Hyaluronic Acid

If you’re on the other end of the spectrum and have dry skin, look out for hyaluronic acid as an ingredient in your setting powder. The ingredient acts to hydrate and moisturize your skin while setting your foundation.

Silica Powder

Talc is good for oily skin and shimmery powders can work wonders for dull skin—but what ingredient should you look out for if you’re in the “normal” skin category?

Setting powders that contain silica are a good middle ground for “normal” skin types. Powders with silica tend to smooth the skin texture and apply evenly and are meant to keep the makeup even while absorbing oils.

Once you’ve chosen your setting powder, the next step is understanding how best to use it and where to focus your powder placement.

Which Applicator Should You Use for Setting Powder?

You can use a puff or brush to apply setting powder. Brushes ensure that your setting powder is buildable and are ideal for light coverage. For heavier coverage, opt for a puff. Shimmery powders tend to work best when applied with a brush, whereas colored setting powders pressed onto the skin with a puff provide fuller coverage and a matte effect.

Lightly Dust

This method works particularly well for shimmery or loose powder. If you need light shine control, take a large face brush like PRO BRUSH #69, coat it with powder and tap off the excess. Lightly dust the powder along your T-zone.

Pave powder body brush

Press and Primp

If you want heavier coverage or have particularly oily skin, take a compact powder and press the powder into the skin rather than dusting. Focus on oily areas such as the nose, forehead, and chin. While you can do this with a brush, it’s most effective with a puff.

The Baking Method

Baking your makeup is a method that helps to avoid creases appearing in your makeup throughout the day. This includes under the eyes, the lines on the sides of the mouth or a crease along the forehead.

Take a loose powder and apply it liberally to the areas where you want to avoid creasing. Leave it to sit on the skin for 5-10 minutes before gently brushing off the excess with our Flawless Face Brush. The result is an airbrushed look that lasts all day and keeps the creases away!

-   Sometimes baking can be too heavy for everyday wear

-   If you have dry skin to begin with, this can make that issue worse and will exaggerate it

-  Avoid loose powders that flashback when baking

Get Makeup Tips from the Best in the Biz

Want to learn more about the best beauty products and methods to use for flawless makeup? Take it straight from one of the most sought-after makeup artists in the world. Discover tricks of the trade from Scott Barnes now!