Should You Use Setting Spray or Setting Powder? We Asked the Pros

December 29, 2022
Marisa Petrarca
By: Marisa Petrarca | by L'Oréal
Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray with Vitamin C and Dermablend Loose Setting Powder

Not only is there a setting product for everything — whether it’s to quickly dry nail polish, perfect eyebrows or lock in makeup — there are different types of formulas available, too. 


So when it comes to keeping your foundation crease-free, how do you choose between setting powders and setting sprays, and is there even a difference between the two? We reached out to NYC-based makeup expert Gabriel Almodovar and beauty influencer Nikki Apostolou to find out.

The Benefits of Setting Powder

According to Almodovar, setting powders are designed to absorb excess oil and moisture. “Because skin is a porous surface and produces oil, you want to set your face makeup with powder to help it last longer without melting away,” he says. You can apply setting powder at the end of your makeup routine, on top of foundation, concealer and any liquid or cream products. 

“Setting powder often leaves the skin with an airbrushed finish and can help to blend as well because it diffuses what's under it,” says Almodovar. “This is not to be confused with finishing powder, which is used after setting powder and adds even more of a blurred look to imperfections of the skin and controls shine.” 

Setting powders are a great option if you have issues with creasing, cracking or excess oil throughout the day.

Dermablend Loose Setting Powder

The Benefits of Setting Spray

As far as setting sprays go, they’re designed to be applied after your makeup routine is complete. “Setting spray is a fine mist which is applied after finishing the makeup routine,” says Apostolou. “It can have different finishes such as matte or dewy, and it elongates the amount of time the makeup will last. It can also be used to amplify highlighter or to apply a shadow damp — simply dust some product onto the brush and spritz the brush with setting spray after.”


Setting spray leaves behind a lightweight, skin-like finish that doesn’t absorb into your pores like a powder can. Almodovar notes that “even mattifying sprays don’t mattify your face the way a setting powder can,” making setting spray a better option for those who have dry skin and need a boost of hydration.

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray

Should You Use a Setting Spray or a Setting Powder?

While powders tend to work better for oily skin and setting sprays for dry skin, “if you really want to set and extend the life of your makeup, I recommend using both a loose powder and a setting spray,” Almodovar explains. 


Pack on a setting powder like the Dermablend Loose Setting Powder to smooth your skin and finish it with a setting spray of your choice, like the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray with Vitamin C and cactus water for a burst of dew and illumination. If you want to opt for a more mattifying spray option, we recommend the Dermablend Lock and Last Water-Resistant Setting Spray.

Visual Designer: Hannah Packer

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