Your Setting, Finishing and HD Powder Breakdown | LovelySkin

20% Off Most Brands + Free $29 Gift Shop Now


What is the Difference Between Setting, Finishing and HD Powder?

Everything About Finishing, Setting and HD Powders

A great powder can help set your makeup and create a smooth, youthful appearance. However, when it comes to finding the best one for your needs, the verbiage surrounding powders can get confusing. You might see words like “finishing,” “setting,” “perfecting” and “HD” jump out at you, but which one do you need to achieve your best face? Keep reading to learn the difference between setting, finishing and HD powders, as well as some of our favorites from

Before we get started on the different types of powders, it should be noted that words like “finishing” and “setting” can sometimes be used interchangeably among different brands. We know this can be perplexing, so when in doubt, give our Customer Care team a call—they’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

What is Setting Powder?

Setting powders are probably the first thing you think of when you think of face powder. These products, available in tinted and translucent or loose and pressed varieties, are applied directly on top of foundation to help mattify and lock in your look. Setting powders are crucial for applying on top of under-eye concealer to prevent creasing, and they’re also great for tossing in your bag to minimize shine throughout the day. If you’re a liquid foundation user and find that your face feels a bit oily or damp after application, a setting powder can help you feel fresh and dry.

One of our favorites is Dermablend Loose Setting Powder. The powder is specially formulated to lock in Dermablend face and body makeup and offers a smudge-free look that lasts up to 16 hours. Available in Original, Cool Beige and Warm Saffron, it’s fragrance-free and ideal for all skin types and tones.

Keep in mind that setting powders can be a bit heavier than finishing or HD powders. To avoid a cakey look, use a fluffy brush, like the jane iredale Kabuki Brush, to disperse powder evenly.

What Does Finishing Powder Do?

Though the terms “finishing powder” and “setting powder” are often used reciprocally, they are actually two quite different products. While setting powders are placed directly on top of skin to set makeup, finishing powders are placed on top of setting powders to further perfect and soften the complexion. Many compare finishing powder results to an “air-brushed” effect. They’re great for events where you’ll be photographed a lot or for special occasions where you’re looking to achieve a flawless finish.

Try glo minerals GloMatte Finishing Powder. This lightweight, color-free formula helps to absorb excess oil, creating a truly matte, shine-free appearance. We also like jane iredale Amazing Matte Loose Finishing Powder, a long-lasting formula that’s perfect for wearing under or over any type of foundation.

If you are normal to dry and prefer a luminous finish, choose Mirabella Perfecting Powder. This powder blends seamlessly into skin to create a subtly dewy look. As a bonus, it contains antioxidants and peptides to help combat signs of aging.

What is HD Powder?

HD powders are essentially the same as finishing powders, only they’re marketed slightly differently. HD is short for high-def, or high definition. HD powders were popularized by professional makeup artists to the stars, and they’re geared toward those looking to appear flawless on film or camera. You might see the words “photo-ready finish” somewhere on your HD powder package, meaning the product is meant to be used as a finishing powder over your setting powder to blur imperfections and soften the look of skin under harsh lighting.

While they likely won’t deliver vastly different results from your regular finishing powder, HD powders are definitely trendy, and they’re a fun addition to your makeup kit. We like Youngblood Hi-Def Hydrating Mineral Perfecting Powder. This sheer finishing powder absorbs excess oil to leave makeup looking flawless for hours. It also helps lock in moisture and provides a soothing, cooling sensation upon application.

Do you have a question about setting powders? Let us know in the comments section.

Shop This Blog

  • Smudge-resistant
  • Mattifies the complexion
  • Sets makeup
Quick Shop + 3 options
4.7 out of 5 stars
Based on 68 reviews
DermaBlend Loose Setting Powder - Original DermaBlend Loose Setting Powder - Original DermaBlend Loose Setting Powder - Cool Beige DermaBlend Loose Setting Powder - Warm Saffron
Dermablend Loose Setting Powder
  • Made with natural bristles
  • Provides full coverage
  • Flawlessly blends makeup
Quick Shop +
Product Discontinued
Jane Iredale Kabuki Makeup Brush Jane Iredale Kabuki Makeup Brush
jane iredale Kabuki Brush
  • Gives a pretty, matte finish
  • Can be worn under or over foundation
  • Controls excess oil
Quick Shop +
4.7 out of 5 stars
Based on 21 reviews
Jane Iredale Amazing Matte Loose Finishing Powder, a jane iredale mineral foundation Jane Iredale Amazing Matte Loose Finishing Powder, a jane iredale mineral foundation
jane iredale Amazing Matte Loose Finishing Powder
  • Talc-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Paraben-free
Quick Shop +
$24.00 was $30.00
4.7 out of 5 stars
Based on 8 reviews
Mirabella Perfecting Powder Mirabella Perfecting Powder
Mirabella Perfecting Powder

Whether skin's under the HD spotlight or regular daylight, help it look flawlessly airbrushed and n...

Quick Shop + 2 options
5 out of 5 stars
Based on 7 reviews
YOUNGBLOOD Hi-Def Hydrating Loose Powder - Translucent YOUNGBLOOD Hi-Def Hydrating Loose Powder - Translucent YOUNGBLOOD Hi-Def Hydrating Loose Powder - Warmth
Youngblood Hi-Def Hydrating Mineral Perfecting Powder

About the Author

Stepha is a copywriter at LovelySkin. She loves poetry, baking and experimenting with new makeup.

Other Posts by Stepha


Leave a comment
Commented By
- July 12, 2017

I own the maybelline New York fit me matte and poreless powder. Can I use this to set my concealer?


Return to the top
Need Help?
Email Us
Customer Care Hours
Mon - Thur 9 - 6 p.m. CT
Friday 9 - 5 p.m. CT
Sat 9 - 3 p.m. CT
Sun / Holidays Closed