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Should You Use a Brush or Powder Puff to Set Your Makeup?

The two makeup tools are similar, but offer slightly different results.
February 24, 2023

Setting your under-eyes is usually one of the last steps before completing a makeup look, and it’s the best way to ensure that the redness, dark spots or under-eye circles that may be under your concealer stay out of sight. In recent years, the old baking routine  — the one where you would apply a lot of setting powder under the eyes with a sponge, wait a few minutes for it to “bake,” then dust off the excess — has become a little less popular. Now, more people are in favor of using makeup brushes or powder puffs with setting powder.

But while the powder brushes and powder puffs are usually seen as interchangeable, you may be wondering if one is better than the other. If you’re unsure about which tool you should use, keep reading to find out if you should use a brush or powder puff to set your under-eye makeup.

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What Is Setting Powder?

Setting powder, also called loose powder, is a finely milled powder product that’s used to set and hold your makeup in place so it can last longer. It can be used all over the face, but it’s most often used under the eyes to set and smooth concealer, and the powder also absorbs oil and blurs fine lines and wrinkles. Setting powders can come in translucent or tinted varieties.

Is a Powder Puff or Brush Better for Setting the Under-Eye?

Choosing between a powder puff or brush is going to depend on the amount of coverage you want. If you want a very matte look for your under-eye area, go for a powder puff, which is a soft pad, usually made of cotton or velour, that’s used to apply powder to the skin.  

Since you’re pressing the powder into your skin, you’ll get more coverage and full oil control, which is best for people with oily and combination skin. For softer, lighter coverage, you’ll likely prefer a brush because the product is diffused on the skin more than with a puff. While a powder brush will still set your makeup, you’ll be left with a dewier, more natural look.

How to Use a Brush to Set the Under-Eye

If you’re opting for a brush to set your under-eyes, you should reach for a fluffy powder brush — but you’ll want one that’s slightly smaller than an all-over-face brush so it can fit under your eyes. 

1. After applying a concealer like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer up to 24H Full Coverage, shake some setting powder out into its container’s lid, take your powder brush and press it into the setting powder. 

2. Lightly tap your brush on the edge of the powder container to dust off the excess, then sweep the powder under your eyes before moving your brush in circular motions to buff the powder in. 

3. If you feel like you’ve applied too much powder, you can sweep the extra powder away with a clean and fluffy makeup brush.

How to Use a Powder Puff to Set the Under-Eye

While you can bake while using a powder puff, this tool is mostly used for those who want to press the powder into their skin without dusting off any excess. 

1. Press the powder puff into your setting powder, then using a gentle tapping motion, press the powder onto your under-eyes. 


2. When applying the powder on areas like the corner of your nose, you can fold the powder puff in half so it’s easier to use.

Next: 5 Ways to Reduce the Appearance of Under-Eye Bags With Makeup

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Digital Tech: Erik Dalzen, Photo Assistant: Sam Kang, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Mirna Jose, Hair Assistant: Keila Rivera, Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi, Wardrobe Assistant: Jazmine Alzado, Model: Zlata Semenko

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