Reader question: Is finishing and/or setting powder important?

Hello Liz, first up, thanks for providing us, your readers, so much info on make-up, fashion, etc, etc! Love love LOVE your blog! Anyway, I hope you can help answer my question.

My sister told me that I need to use finishing/setting powder after I put on my make-up so I finally bought one - Laura Mercier translucent setting powder. After a few days into using the product, I noticed that my skin became dry and flaky especially in the cheeks and forehead area. I use a fluffy powder brush to apply it (I even tap the brush to make sure that I don't get too much powder on my face). I was hoping there's an alternative product that I can use to set my make-up as I've never had this problem with my skin before. Is a finishing/setting powder a must or can I skip this part altogether?

I hope to hear from you! - Kaya

Thanks for reading my blog, Kaya! ;) Your flaking and dryness may be an allergic reaction from the product. That is, there might be an ingredient in your new powder that's causing the dryness. It's best to stop using it for now and observe! If you're still using it and the reaction has stopped nonetheless, it could be that your skin was just adjusting to the new product and is a-ok now.

So is it absolutely necessary to use a loose setting powder? Yes, if you're using wet makeup (liquid or cream foundation, BB cream, tinted moisturizer etc.) underneath! The powder helps the wet makeup solidify and settle better, the way sand was used to dry up ink in handwritten letters. This step extends the wear of your wet face makeup by a couple of hours or even more if you're using an oil-absorbent one. Who doesn't want a face that's oil-free longer?

Ideal tools for applying loose powder: kabuki brush and fluffy powder brushes

However, if you're just using a powder foundation, I think setting powder is redundant. The powder foundation should stay put for a decent number of hours through oil and sweat - if that's only what you're after. Thing is some powders have built in "special effects", like an extra glow or a more poreless, smooth look, that would still enhance the makeup underneath (wet or dry). I am inclined to consider this kind of product as a finishing powder since it helps improve the finish of the makeup you already have on.

The Guerlain Meteorites Perles in Teint Dore 03 is a finishing powder

Palgantong Theatrical Powder is a setting powder although it could also be a finishing powder since it has a super smooth, poreless finish

Personally I rarely ever use a setting powder when I'm just wearing powder foundation. But when I'm wearing liquid foundation or BB creams, I always always dust on a layer of setting powder on my t-zone at least. Sometimes, when I'm out for something important or just have extra time to do my makeup, I add a finishing powder on top of my foundation + setting powder pa. It's not important but I think it makes all the difference I need for my complexion.

Time to weigh in! Do you guys wear finishing and/or setting powder on a regular basis? What are your favorites?