A lot of people seem to think that only people with oily skin need to use setting powder: but that’s not true!

When you have dry skin, setting powder can be immensely useful as a finishing agent for your makeup routine.

Not only do some setting powders have moisturizing agents that help to soothe and soften patches of dry skin, but they do an excellent job of making sure your makeup doesn’t run throughout the day.

In this article, we take a look at what defines the best setting powder for dry skin and give you our top 10 recommendations for which ones you should use.

What is a setting powder?

A setting powder is a loose or pressed cosmetic powder that’s applied to the face after foundation, blusher, and/or bronzer.

Although it can also be referred to as finishing or ‘translucent’ powder, it’s not the same thing as an actual ‘setting powder’ for your foundation (aka a setting spray, which is also referred to as a ‘finishing’ product).

Setting powders are generally made up of light-reflective particles that blend into the skin tone to set makeup in place, absorb oil or act as an alternative to foundation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you have oily skin? Check out our article on the best setting powders for oily skin here.

Pressed powder vs loose finishing powder

There’s a big difference between the two types of powder:

Pressed powders are available in solid form and typically come in a compact. They’re applied with a fluffy brush which can absorb excess oil on the face (i.e they’re great for oily skin).

Loose finishing powders, on the other hand, can be applied with a powder puff or a brush and are typically translucent or transparent, meaning they don’t add much color to the face.

(If you want to add color, try one of these color correcting creams.)

Pressed powders can be used to set foundation, whereas loose finishing powders can be used in place of foundation to provide sheer coverage.

Can you use setting powder if you have sensitive skin?

Can you use setting powder if you have sensitive skin?

Yes – as long as you don’t have any allergies or sensitivities to the ingredients in the product.

To be on the safe side, always do a patch test (i.e apply some powder onto your skin and leave it there for 24 hours), even if you think your skin can tolerate certain products.

You should also speak with your dermatologist before using any type of product on your skin.

How to choose a setting powder for your skin tone

Choosing a setting powder for dry skin depends on your skin tone. If your complexion is pale, you can use a translucent finishing powder to brighten up your face.

If you have a medium or dark skin tone, opt for an apricot-toned loose powder that matches the undertones of your complexion.

Sheer vs medium vs full coverage

In addition to color, you should also take into consideration the type of coverage provided by different setting powders:

For sheer coverage: opt for loose finishing powders that provide an almost unnoticeable layer of powder, perfect for setting foundation or protecting your makeup.

For medium coverage: select a translucent pressed powder that contains reflective particles to conceal the appearance of fine lines and pores, giving you a polished look.

For full coverage: choose a loose finishing powder with warm undertones if your complexion is pale or a bright finishing powder if your complexion is medium or dark.

Do setting powders contain moisturizing ingredients?

Do setting powders contain moisturizing ingredients?

Yes, some setting powders contain moisturizing ingredients that help to hydrate dry patches and prevent dry skin from flaking.

Some of these ingredients include:

  • Mica and titanium dioxide to prevent dryness and irritation.
  • Silicones such as octocrylene to create a protective barrier against the elements on the skin.
  • Aloe vera extract, glycerin or hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture and add a dewy finish.
  • Hyaluronic acid: Soothes and reduces redness in dry skin.
  • Aloe vera extract: An anti-inflammatory that soothes and calms irritated skin.
  • Glycerin: Draws moisture from the air to hydrate dry patches such as around the nose, mouth and under eyes.

Our search for the best setting powder for dry skin

In the list below, I’ve included a variety of loose and pressed powders with different finishes, ingredients and coverage levels.

The list consists of pressed and loose powders that contain formulations specifically for dry skin – some may work with all skin types, but these are definitely a good choice if your skin is dry.

Maybelline New York Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder

Maybelline New York Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder

Know who makes an amazing loose finishing powder? Maybelline.

Their specially formulated non-drying formula contains powerful hydrating ingredients, giving you FaceTune level skin IRL.

This face powder proves our original point: not all setting powders for dry skin are created equal. But if you have the right formula for your skin type (like this one), then you can apply your makeup without worrying about it caking.

Becca Hydra-Mist Set & Refresh Powder

Becca Hydra-Mist Set & Refresh Powder

A silky powder with a refreshing, cooling effect.

This mineral-based formula provides a translucent veil of moisture and helps control oiliness throughout the day. It absorbs excess sebum from the skin’s surface to maintain a matte finish while providing a smooth appearance.

It contains a combination of natural extracts including aloe vera, chamomile flower extract and burdock root which soothe the skin.

The triple-milled formula ensures maximum coverage without looking cakey, which is great news for women with dry skin.

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Mineral Matte Finishing Powder

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Mineral Matte Finishing Powder

A 100% vegan loose finishing powder that sets makeup and reduces shine.

This mineral-based formula contains kaolin clay to absorb oil, as well as vitamin E and elastin (an amino acid) which protect and nourish dry skin. It’s also great for those with sensitive skin as it is free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.

HOURGLASS Veil Translucent Setting Powder

HOURGLASS Veil Translucent Setting Powder

A sheer, translucent loose powder that sets your makeup for a long-lasting, flawless finish.

This formula is also 100% vegan and contains ingredients such as boron nitride which helps to absorb oil at the surface of the skin, as well as sea whip extract which soothes redness.

It has a silky texture that makes it easy to apply and gives a radiant finish on dry skin. For something a little heavier, try their pressed powder.

e.l.f., Halo Glow Setting Powder

e.l.f., Halo Glow Setting Powder

A loose setting powder with a soft sheen.

This formula contains kaolin clay to absorb excess oil and provide a matte appearance on the skin. It also contains vitamins A, C and E which nourish and hydrate the skin – perfect for those summer months when you need your makeup to stay in place all day long.

It doesn’t contain talc so it’s safe for those with dry skin.

Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder

Amazon.com : Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder, Translucent, Pack of 1 : Beauty & Personal Care

A translucent, oil-free setting powder that absorbs excess sebum and provides a soft matte finish on the skin.

This formula contains boron nitride which helps to absorb surface oil, as well as glycerin and moisturizing ingredients such as lanolin and petrolatum to hydrate the skin.

It’s a traditional setting powder with a great coverage level that is suitable for all skin types.

Dermablend Loose Setting Powder

Dermablend Loose Setting Powder

This setting powder comes with a convenient brush applicator which makes it easy to apply.

It contains silica powder, kaolin clay and various moisturizing ingredients such as aloe, glycerin and lanolin to hydrate the skin. It’s also fragrance-free so it won’t irritate dry or sensitive skin.

ETUDE HOUSE Zero Sebum Drying Powder

ETUDE HOUSE Zero Sebum Drying Powder

This formula is ideal for setting makeup and controlling surface oil.

It contains silica, kaolin clay and various other ingredients to minimize enlarged pores. This means it also leaves a matte finish – particularly good for those with dry skin. It comes with a puff applicator so it’s easy to apply without leaving streaks on your face.

Honest Invisible Blurring Loose Powder

Honest Invisible Blurring Loose Powder

One of the more obscure setting powders for dry skin on our list, this finishing powder from Honest Invisible is underrated.

This setting powder contains rice starch (a common ingredient in dry shampoo) which soothes redness on the skin, as well as magnesium to moisturize dry areas. It also contains kaolin clay to absorb excess oil and provide a matte appearance on the surface of the skin.

Revlon PhotoReady Candid Setting Powder

Revlon PhotoReady Candid Setting Powder

A translucent loose powder with a matte finish.

This is another traditional loose finishing powder which contains ingredients such as silica and kaolin clay to absorb excess oil on the surface of the skin. It also contains lanolin and aloe to hydrate dry areas.

The transparent formula makes it suitable for all skin tones, including dark skin.

Black Radiance True Complexion Loose Setting Powder

Black Radiance True Complexion Loose Setting Powder

A budget-friendly translucent powder which provides a matte, flawless finish on the skin.

This product contains amino acids to absorb excess oil at the surface of the skin, as well as vitamin A and various skin toning agents such as glycerin and lactic acid.

It’s a traditional loose powder with a great coverage level that is suitable for all skin types.

L’Oreal Paris Hydra Perfecte Perfecting Loose Face Powder

L'Oreal Paris Hydra Perfecte Perfecting Loose Face Powder

This formula is enriched with Hydra-Net Technology which fills in fine lines and wrinkles for a soft, smooth complexion.

It contains anti-pollution agents to protect dry skin from environmental aggressors such as pollution, UV rays and cigarette smoke. It also contains vitamin A to help improve skin tone and elasticity.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article helped you find the best setting powder for dry skin. I’m quite surprised by how many cruelty-free and vegan products were on the list! It’s a good sign that we can expect more brands to follow in these footsteps.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post, and let me know which of these setting powders for dry skin you think is the best by leaving a comment below. And if you prefer a pressed powder, let us know that as well!

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