We always used to think they were one and the same. Don’t feel bad for not knowing LOL! You’re not alone. Actually, it is normal for most of us not to know because most products out there don’t explain the use on the labels and the people selling these products behind the counter don’t even know the difference either.
So what is the difference between the two?
Setting powders are used to set your foundation. When you use a liquid or cream foundation, you would need a setting powder to set it so that it lasts longer and also to mattify any shiny areas on your face. It can be tinted to match your skin, but most setting powders are translucent.
Finishing powders, on the other hand, are used AFTER you apply setting powder. Most of these powders are HD. Finishing powders were made for HD TV and photographs. It was made so that fine lines and wrinkles appear softer or almost invisible in HD. These powders are finer, softer, and silkier in consistency, and they are to be used sparingly. Most finishing powders are white. You wouldn’t really see this though, unless you are photographed and then the ingredients on the powder bounces the light back from the camera flash. If you try and set your foundation with a finishing powder instead of a setting powder, your face will turn white (unless of course, you use a finishing powder that is translucent or has an invisible finish, which is hard to find). When the finishing powder first came out, the only thing most makeup artists knew about it is that it softens lines and wrinkles so they went CRAY applying this heavily without blending properly... so some poor celebs looked coke-faced in pictures. (Some photos below)
In conclusion, know when to use a finishing powder, and if you are going to use one, use it minimally. If you’d like to go heavy on it, find one that has an invisible finish. You’re welcome <3