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Pressed Powder vs Loose Powder: Which Setting Powder Should I Use?

Pressed Powder vs Loose Powder: Which Setting Powder Should I Use?

Wondering what the differences are between pressed powder vs loose powder? And what does setting spray do? We’ve got you covered with this handy guide as we delve into the different types of setting powders and what setting spray does, all to extend the wear-time of your makeup look. 

“Pressed and loose powders can be used as setting powders, meaning they help mattify skin for shine control throughout the day, plus they help extend the wear-time of your makeup look, keeping it in place for longer,” explains Janeena Rumsey, Glo’s Artistry Lead. “You can also finish your look with a setting spray for longevity and boosted skin nourishment.”

What Is the Difference Between Pressed and Loose Powder?

The main difference between pressed powder and loose powder is their formulas. “Pressed powder is a great option for on-the-go complexion perfection. As it is more densely packed than a loose powder, it tends to provide a bit more coverage, allowing for easy, mess-free touch-ups. Use a translucent, talc-free mineral pressed setting powder like our Perfecting Powder to set and mattify your cream or liquid foundation, to absorb any excess oil, and to blur any remaining imperfections,” says Janeena. “It extends the length of time your makeup will last without smudging or budging.” 

Loose setting powder is finely milled, super lightweight, translucent, and oftentimes tends to be more sheer than pressed powder. “Our Luminous Setting Powder features diamond powder, which helps to blur texture and provide a luminous glowing finish,” adds Janeena. “Loose powder can be used to set any makeup look in place—and can be used as part of the “baking” method in setting your foundation and concealer for all-day wear.” 

Loose setting powder is another great option for shine-control and naturally mattifies the skin to create a soft-focus, flawless finish. “If you are generally looking for a lighter or sheer effect, loose powder will be your go-to,” shares Janeena.


  1. Protecting Powder SPF 20
    Protecting Powder SPF 20


Is Pressed Powder the Same As Setting Powder?

Setting powder is an invisible step in your makeup ritual that sets the makeup in place with a translucent powder that keeps everything looking shine-free, flawless, and to enhance the staying power of your makeup look. You apply your setting powder over your makeup as a final step to lock it all in.    

With many types of face powder products available, it can get confusing as to what each powder does. “Pressed powder as a term can be used to refer to pressed setting powder or a pressed powder foundation,” explains Janeena. “A pressed powder foundation like our bestselling Pressed Base can be worn as a base with longwearing buildable coverage, and it can also be layered over any of our other foundations or concealers for a longwearing, flawless complexion.”

“Perfecting Powder on the other hand is a pressed setting powder. It is translucent, mattifying, and specifically designed to perfect the complexion, for a flawless, longwearing finish,” she adds.

Is Pressed or Loose Powder Better For Mature Skin?

“Whether pressed or loose powder is better for mature or aging skin is really all down to the look you want to achieve and your skin type,” explains Janeena. “That said, as skin ages, it tends to be drier, so needs a little radiance boost. This is where loose setting powders with blurring benefits can help. This type of setting powder imparts a lightweight, luminous glow for all day radiance as well as supporting the longevity of your makeup look. 

“If dull skin is a concern, you could also start with Loose Basea loose powder foundation with customizable coverage from sheer to full. It has a dewy finish so gives that extra hydrated look. Then layer on your loose setting powder like Luminous Setting Powder to keep it in place all day, and you’re good to go!”

How To Apply Finishing Powder

“When you’re applying a finishing powder or setting powder, my top tip is to keep it lightweight and natural looking,” says Janeena. “Start off with a minimal amount and build from there. You don’t want to place too much on to begin with as it can look overdone.”

“As the finishing powder is quite literally meant to set your look in place, the trick to applying it, is to be gentle. Lightly sweep on your powder without dragging your skin as this can affect the placement of your foundation, concealer, blush or bronzer.

“Using your preferred powder brush—mine is the Tapered Setting Powder Brush, lightly dip into your powder, tap off any excess, then gently press and sweep across your face, paying particular attention to your T-zone if you’re prone to an oily shine in this area. As a little will go far, be minimal with your setting powder for the most natural look. 

“If you want to “bake” your foundation or concealer, after applying your setting powder, let it sit for a few minutes, then using a large fluffy brush, gently sweep away any excess, to avoid it settling into fine lines.”

What Is Setting Spray and What Does It Do?

“If you really want to ensure your makeup lasts all day, and your skin feels comfortable and nourished, a setting spray is the way to go,” explains Janeena. “A setting spray is essentially a liquid mist infused with nourishing hydrating ingredients that lock your makeup look in place. Our HA-Revive Hyaluronic Mist is powered by hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and botanical extracts to replenish moisture levels of both skin and minerals, and help your makeup stay put without smudging or settling into fine lines.”

And you can spritz your setting spray throughout the day to replenish your complexion and keep any touch-ups in place.

January 18, 2023
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