Beauty Tips & Tricks

Finishing VS Setting VS Fixing powder

HD TV has messed up many things; it has introduced setting powders and finishing powders and fixing powders. On first glance, like many you will say but that is the same thing? Right!? All right, let me first explain what HD TV is. The difference between HD and standard TV is that HD offers a higher resolution than standard TV, which we had up until a few years ago. So in normal words this “means” microscope vision, image looking under a microscope, scared? HD TV enhances every flaw and even the ones that are not visible to the naked eye; in short you will look “uglier” in HD TV. If you have been on HD TV then you might have noticed that normal makeup looks “mask” like on the face.

Finishing powders

Now that we resolved what HD TV is, you might say, yeah but what does that have to do with finishing, setting and fixing powder? Before HD most makeup artist used colored pressed powder or setting powder. Since HD era, new makeup has been popping up every few years. You have all heard about HD foundation by now and most people buy it but have no clue what it is. Most HD foundation should behave as second skin, and in my experience most of them do but this depends from brand to brand. Now during this period makeup artists noticed that normal setting powder just looked somewhat “cakey” on HD TV and then someone said ok let’s make something new, this is where finishing powder was born.

finishing powder

Setting powders

So what is the difference between the three? Let’s start with setting powder such as Ben Nye. A setting powder does what it claimed to do it sets makeup, big surprise right. A setting powder is simple; it can set foundations and/or control oils. A setting powder can come in various colors (such as Ben Nye banana powder) and usually offers better coverage than finishing powder. A finishing powder is a powder that is softer and silkier than setting powder (due to silica being the main or only ingredient, but this doesn’t have to be the case with all finishing powders) and it is usually made for HD TV. It was made so that fine lines and wrinkles appear softer in HD (such as MUFE HD microfinish powder). The problem with finishing powders was that when it first came out the only thing that makeup artist knew was that it made your facial lines appear softer. This is why you have some celebrities with that white powder on their face aka coke face. Finishing powder was meant for TV and not for flash photography and if you are going to use it,  use it after setting powders. So now you are asking, but what is fixing powder. Fixing powders (such as Kryolan dermacolor fixing powder was intended for heavy waterproof makeup. It is intended to set camouflage foundation so that it becomes long lasting and waterproof while offering a matte finish. Fixing powders also come in various colors.

Fixing powder

Finishing, setting and fixing powders all come in compact (pressed) and loose form. Is one better than the other? In my opinion, no they are the same. The only true difference is that loose powder tends to be messier and flies everywhere while compacted powders tend to be less messy. So, now you are asking yourself what powder do I need? It really depends on what you need it for, but in my opinion if you are not a professional makeup artist, skip the finishing and fixing powder and stick to the simple setting powder. If you enjoyed this article make sure to share it with your friends on your social media sites.

One Comment

  • Kat

    Is there a way to tell whether my powder is a setting, finishing or fixing powder? Because nowadays I heard these names are used interchangeably for marketing purposes. So far I have the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores both in loose and compact powder. I am so confused on whether I have both a setting powder and a finishing powder or not… Recently I learnt about differentiating a finishing and a setting spray. I heard that you can differentiate a finishing spray and a setting spray from whether it has alcohol in the top ingredients or not. For example, Urban Decay SETTING spray is ACTUALLY a FIXING spray despite its marketed name as it has alcohol and Mac Fix + spray is a setting spray because it has NO alcohol. Also, I heard fixing comes before setting spray. Is that true as well??
    Please help :(, I really want to set, finish or whatever its called for the last few steps to make my makeup last as I am a born grease ball that is oily all day….


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