Setting powders and setting sprays are essentials in everyone’s makeup collection. What’s the point of applying foundation and concealer if it’s just going to slide around on your face and not stay put? Applying these finishing products correctly will make a world of a difference in the appearance of your makeup, as well as the longevity throughout the day. Before we get into how to apply each, let’s go over the different types of setting powders and setting sprays.

Setting powder

Maybelline powder
Image: Amazon

Setting powder is used directly on top of foundation/BB cream/tinted moisturizer to lock it in place and mattify it. Without any powder over your foundation, it will not stay put and may even look greasy. These powders can be specific to your skin tone, or translucent to match any skin tone. They tend to be a little heavier than other powders, so it’s important not to apply too much. Use a fluffy buffing brush to tap the powder on your skin in a thin layer making sure to cover each area you applied foundation. Our favorite affordable one for all over the face is this one from Maybelline because it gives the perfect finish—not too matte and not too dewy.

LM secret brightening powder
Image: Amazon

You can also use setting powder under your eyes if you apply concealer there. Usually loose powders work better for this, but pressed powders will work too! It’s all about personal preference. If you don’t set that concealer, it will become a gross, creasy mess under your eyes in no time. The powder prevents the concealer from settling into your fine lines under your eyes (even if you don’t have wrinkles yet!). This powder should be significantly lighter than the powder you used on the rest of your face to create a brighter under eye. A yellow-tinted (often called banana) powder also offers more brightness as well, so use your best judgement for your skin tone. Those dark bags under your eyes are not designer, unfortunately. Use a smaller brush and lightly tap, don’t rub, the powder under your eyes while looking up to lock the concealer in place. This one from Laura Mercier is AMAZING at brightening your under eye area.

Finishing powder

NYX finishing powder
Image: Amazon

Finishing powder goes on top of your setting powder to finish off the whole look and make you look even more flawless. It blurs your pores further than foundation, and essentially blends everything together to make sure there are no harsh lines. These powders come white but appear translucent on your face, so there is no need to match any colors to your skin. While this step in your makeup routine is totally optional, saving this powder for special occasions where you will be photographed a lot will be the best use. Every day use of finishing powders is not necessary! But when you do want to slay, use a big fluffy brush to blend it all over your skin right after applying your setting powder. MAKE SURE to blend away any excess because if you don’t, you could get flashback in photos. Flashback occurs when the flash from a camera reflects back off of the bright powder in all the wrong places, making you look like a ghost. Yikes. We love this one from NYX because it’s super affordable but still works wonders!

Setting sprays

UD setting spray
Image: Amazon

Spending time on your makeup just to have it fade away half way through the day is the absolute worst. Here come setting sprays to save the day! Not only do setting sprays make your makeup last longer, they blend all the powder on your face together and eliminate that cakey look. Spray a few pumps all over your face (with your eyes closed!) and keep your face still until it’s completely dry. Keeping still will make sure absolutely no creases from moving are locked in place. There are many different formulas of sprays that do many different things, so your skin type and what you are looking for matters. If you are looking to control oil, this one by Urban Decay is a life saver at keeping that greasy look the hell away. For a more dewey look, the Pixi Glow Mist hydrates and sets while adding a bit of a glow.

Image: COOLA

If you’re looking for something with a bit of extra sun protection, try COOLA’s SPF 30 Organic Makeup Setting Spray. The product leaves a weightless, matte finish that protects your sensitive skin while keeping makeup fresh all day. The formula includes cucumber and aloe vera extracts to soothe and refresh skin. The setting spray also reduces the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles.

Image: Amazon

A unique aerosol bottle, the Makeup Setting Spray from Japonesque offers an airbrushed finish while melting the powders on your face all together. With a light scent, a few seconds of spraying this all over your face transforms your makeup into matte perfection, but without drying out your skin. Everything you’ve ever wanted.

There are so many setting sprays to choose from, so think about your skin type and the finish you want to achieve. Once you know this, you are one step closer to perfect makeup all day every day.