Beauty Debate: Should You Use Setting Powder or Setting Spray?

May 13, 2020
By: Marisa Petrarca | by L'Oréal
setting powder vs. setting spray
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. How do we choose between different 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 Case for Setting Powder

According to Almodovar, setting powders are designed to absorb excess oil and moisture from your face. “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.

Because of this, setting powder is applied during your makeup routine to set foundation, concealer and any liquid or creamy products you’ve applied. “Setting powder often leaves the skin with an ‘airbrushed’ finish and can help to blend as well because it diffuses what's under it. 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 (lines under the eyes, pores, etc.,) and controls shine.” Setting powders are a great option if you have issues with creasing, cracking or excess oil throughout the day. 

The Case for Setting Spray

As far as setting sprays go, they’re designed to be applied after your whole makeup routine is complete. “Setting spray is a fine mist which is applied after finishing the makeup routine. The setting spray 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 after,” says Apostolou.


Setting spray leaves behind a lightweight, skin-like finish but can’t be absorbed 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 it a better option for those who have dry skin and are in need a boost of hydration.

urban decay all nighter ultra matte, dermablend loose setting powder

So, Which One Should You Use?

While powders tend to work better for oily skin and setting sprays for dry skin, “if you really want to set your makeup 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 Ultra Matte.

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