Setting Spray Vs Powder: WTF Should You Use To Set Your Makeup?

Makeup Guides


Have you ever wondered whether you should be using a setting spray or setting powder? While both have the same end goal of locking your lewk in place, setting powder also comes with an array of other makeup powers. For both powders and sprays, there are also tons of formulas on the market; from pressed to loose powders and mattifying to dewy setting sprays, so it can be super confusing when trying to decide what formula to use and how. But DW, we’re bringing you the DL on how to choose depending on your vibe and the needs of your skin type. Whether you like it matte or dewy AF, read and screenshot before setting your next glam in place.

The DL On Setting Powder

If you’ve ever been confused about the powder game, we got you. Setting powder is either translucent (without color) or it has pigments in that blend with your unique skin tone. A setting powder is applied after any cream or liquid products, like foundation and concealer, and helps to stop your base from moving on your skin. Depending on the setting powder and your placement of it, it can also help brighten, mattify, or sculpt.

There are so many formulas out there, from pressed and loose powders, to glow and mattifying powders. Ultimately,  it’s all about the finish you want.

Loose Powders 

huda beauty baby bake

Loose powder is one of those products that when you start using it, you’ll never look back. It’s truly one of those products that go above and BEYOND. Here’s how to use the multi-tasking hero:

To set your makeup: A quick dusting of a finely-milled powder will blur and soften the appearance of pores and texture while giving your makeup a little more staying power in the process, especially on hot and humid days when your makeup’s prone to melting. Simply dip a large fluffy brush into the powder (don’t forget to tap off the excess) and lightly dust a veil of powder across your face.

To mattify your makeup: If you have oily skin, loose powder will not only help prevent makeup from shifting, but it will also help to mattify shine. Dip a large fluffy brush in our Huda Beauty Easy Bake Loose Setting Powder, $35, and apply a light dusting all over your face for makeup that doesn’t budge. Alternatively, if you want to keep the high points of your face looking dewy, only apply powder to your T-zone or other areas that tend to get oily.

To sculpt and snatch: We can’t talk about loose powders without a shoutout to THE secret to long-lasting flawless makeup – baking. Baking is a powder application technique that helps brighten, set, and snatch different areas of your face for a sculpted finish. To bake, dip a damp makeup sponge into your powder and apply a thick layer of setting powder (using a dabbing motion) on any areas you want to brighten and set. We like to bake the undereye area, around our frown lines, the center of our forehead, and underneath our cheekbone contour. Let it set for three to ten minutes (whatever you have time for), and dust away any excess powder using a fluffy brush. Check out our baking guide for more deets.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by HUDA KATTAN (@hudabeauty)

A word of caution for dry skin: loose powders can feel drying, so if you want a matte finish, ensure you hydrate your skin pre-makeup application and only apply a light dusting of powder.

Pressed Powders

GloWish powder brush

Pressed powders are the high-coverage, mess-free alternatives to loose powders  they’re so much easier to control, especially if you’re new to powder.

They often have a wide shade range to choose from and can be easily picked up with a flat puff or makeup sponge for precise application. Dip your brush into the formula, and sweep or press the powder into your skin, and build for your ideal coverage. Our go-to is the GloWish Luminous Pressed Powder, $33, as it gives you the most stunning yet healthy skin finish. We also love the BLK/OPL Oil Absorbing Powder, $12. 

P.S. We often use a combination of powders. We love to use our Easy Bake Loose Setting Powder, $35, to bake under the eyes and eliminate creasing and makeup smudging, then we dust the GloWish Luminous Pressed Powder across the rest of our face to get that glow, natural finish.

The DL On Setting Spray

When misted on your skin, setting sprays seal every layer of your makeup, from your foundation, mascara, and even setting powders. There are so many formulas to shop, whether you want a natural complexion, natural sheen, or a matte finish, there’s a setting spray tailored for your skin’s needs.

For example, if you’re chasing a subtle glow, use the Rare Beauty Always An Optimist 4-in-1 Prime & Set Mist, $24, which is enriched with a botanical blend of lotus, gardenia and white waterlily to prep or set your makeup while simultaneously hydrating and plumping your skin. Alternatively, for a matte finish, use our Huda Beauty Resting Boss Face Waterproof Setting Spray, $33. We’re also firm believers in reapplying SPF during the day, so we always mist the Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen, $44, on top of our makeup during the day for enhanced protection.

How to apply: Use as the last step in your routine and hold the spray at least 14 inches from your face before misting. Close your eyes and spritz the center and sides of your face, forehead, chin, and neck. Once it dries down, you’re ready to go.

So Which One Should I Use? 

via Giphy

Boo, it’s completely up to you! Setting products do so much more than just locking your products for all-day wear, and with the formula out there, it’s best to take a minute to create a mental checklist of what you’re after based on a) finish b) skin type c) wear time, and tailor your routine accordingly. You could even double up and use them together – you could bake to snatch and sculpt your face and finish with a dewy setting spray to lock your lewk in place. Go crazy! We honestly use both when we do full glam!

If we had to choose one though, the versatility of a good loose powder is unparalleled in our eyes!

What do you use to set your glam? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. Although some brands allow affiliate links, we never take payment to review products, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.