Sue Marshall

Guest Blogger

The Top 5 Essential Setting Powders

Essential setting powders or “essential selfie powders” is a makeup setting, selfie filtering powder. It seals the deal once your base is applied and helps control shine, softens your base and helps give a smooth and soft surface for your application of the rest of your makeup ie. Eyeshadows, blush, bronzer etc.

However, there is a difference between all these powders-finishing powders, setting powders and HD (High Definition) powders and when you are being photographed as much as you will be on your wedding day, it’s super important you know the difference so you can avoid “flashback” or skin flare in your wedding photos.


  1. Setting Powder- sets your foundation and makes sure you have a matte smooth surface to apply the next step of your powdered makeup-eyeshadow, blush etc. It’s great for touch ups but heavier and can lead to a dry cakey look if applied incorrectly. These powders can be the same colour as your base or translucent. Applied generally with a powder puff then dusted back with a clean brush. Not for oily skin as it can look too cakey after application.


  1. Finishing Powder- this is an ultra-milled fine white powder that once applied becomes translucent. This is applied over your makeup right at the end to finish the look. This softens and seals the makeup. Applied with a mid-sized brush for accuracy and less ability to over powder. Oily skin approved.


  1. HD Powders-These powders are designed for High Definition work which is extremely unforgiving as it is shot up close and personal. Generally triple ultra-milled. So incredibly fine it can be reapplied many times and there is less risk of chalkiness or dryness. Applied with a mid-sized brush for accuracy and less ability to over powder. Oily skin approved.


Personal preference

Powders are extremely personal and your choice can very much depend on the look you wish to achieve or the situation you are using it for.

As an artist, I use them in different areas of the face so I can overcome the obvious dry powdered look and achieve the flawless, poreless skin effect. Remember; if you like using a cream blush then do not use a setting powder before application. Use a finishing powder after application. You can also just use a setting powder to your T-Zone and apply a finishing or HD powder to the rest of your face.

If you decide to use a setting powder then you apply too much, you can lightly spritz your face with Smashbox’s Photofinish Primer to help settle the powder down.


BRUSHES- To apply these powders like a pro try the Wayne Goss 02 brush instead of a large powder brush. Applying your powder with a precision brush helps apply less powder. Use a large brush for the final buffing. If you still feel too dry spritz some rosewater or primer over your face to help the powder settle.



  1. MEHRON ULTRAFINE SETTING POWDER- This is what the pro’s use. Not limited t the stage. It comes in several colours and absorbs moisture perfectly. Hint: Apply PHOTOFINISH PRIMER Spray over the finished makeup application will lift the powder haze, restore the color and seal the makeup.
  2. BECCA SOFT LIGHT BLURRING POWDER-This dreamy blurring powder is a favourite. Wonderful for photos and live events. It’s a loose powder that sets makeup and adds a beautiful luminosity to your skin-like a wearable beauty filter. Heavenly! Think Chrissy Teigan’s skin!
  3. MAKEUP FOREVER HD FINISHING POWDER-I use this on set regularly as it is hard to over apply and it never becomes chalky. It works on every skin tone setting the makeup perfectly and is so fine I never have to worry about flash back. Subtle results but what a work horse! No wonder it’s a cult favourite!
  4. NARS LIGHT REFLECTING SETTING POWDER-This white pressed powder allows dimension to show through while setting the makeup. A subtle radiance and soft light looks dreamy and like it’s perfectly filtered and airbrushed-my in purse favourite. A staple and much loved powder of the glitterati!
  5. MAC BLOTTING POWDER-This is a great one for brides to have handy in their purse on their big day. It’s sheer but buildable for more coverage. It’s a pressed powder that mattifies but handles your oily skin like a pro! Never chalky or pale.