For stay-all-day makeup, setting powder is essential. But since the majority of formulas are made with oily skin in mind, finding one that works for dry skin can be tough. To help narrow down the best setting powders for dry skin, I got in touch with celebrity makeup artist and founder of The Pretty Fix, Melissa Murdick (she works with Selena Gomez). Ahead, her top picks — plus a few tips on how to use them.
"If you've got dry skin, it tends to absorb your makeup in search of the moisture it needs, so I would highly recommend using a foundation primer to prevent your makeup from disappearing on you," Murdick advises. "You really need that barrier between your skin and the makeup to help keep it in place, and to allow the makeup to glide on smoother." Not only will your makeup look more seamless, but using a hydrating primer will also help your dry skin retain more moisture.
But if you're set on using a powder, make sure you're using a formula that's dry skin-friendly. Melissa stresses that HD powders in particular are to be avoided by anyone with drier skin because they are usually made of 100 percent silica. "Silica is a desiccant, meaning it is literally designed to pull out moisture," she says. "You know those little white packets that they sometimes put in food? Those are silica, so you can imagine what effect that ingredient might have on skin that is already dry," she explains.
When it comes to applying your powder, Melissa recommends using it as the final step of your makeup routine. "Use a large, fluffy brush to dust on the lightest layer of powder possible over the face," she says. "You could also powder only through the center of the face, since that is the most active area, and where makeup tends to shift the most," she notes. If you still find powders to be too drying, Melissa suggests switching to a spray formula. "You can find dewy setting sprays, which are a dream for dry skin."
To help get you started, here are four of the best setting powders for dry skin — including Melissa's go-to formula.
1. The Pro's Pick
For a tried-and-true, dry-skin-approved setting powder, the Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder is Melissa's top choice. "It doesn't feel as drying on the skin, and it has a nice finish to it," she says. The reason this non-acnegenic powder plays so nicely with dry skin is its patented hydration system: the formula is infused with amino acids and peptides that help hydrate skin and prevent the powder from settling into creases and dry patches. The compact also features a no-waste design, so you always get just the right amount of product.
Amazon users also love this setting powder. One reviewer commented, "The hydrating part of the description is right on. All other powders are too dry, but this isn't." Another reported, "One of the best features is the powder box design. You only expose your brush to the amount of powder you need. The remaining powder is not exposed to bacteria from your brush. It goes on light and doesn't cake."
2. The Best Loose Drugstore Setting Powder For Dry Skin
For a budget-friendly loose setting powder, the L'Oréal Paris Hydra Perfecte Powder developed this formula to minimize the appearance of pores and extend your makeup's wear as it adds a flawless finish to your skin. Despite its matte finish, L'Oréal says that the powder includes special moisturizers to keep skin hydrated and protected. If you have sensitive skin, it's important to note that this powder formula does include fragrance.
The setting powder also has a near-perfect 4.5-star rating on Amazon. One reviewer shared, "LOVE this product. I have dry skin. But prefer a matte finish. Other translucent powders dry me out and look crusty because they are meant for oily skin. THIS however does not!"
Another reviewer wrote, "The Hydro part really does hydrate your skin where other loose powders dry out the face skin leaving it looking tired, cracked, dry and thirsty."
3. The Best Pressed Drugstore Setting Powder For Dry Skin
Another drugstore option, the Maybelline Fit Me Set + Smooth Powder is a pressed setting powder that was developed specifically for normal to dry skin types. The lightweight formula is oil-free and fragrance-free, making it a safe choice for sensitive skin types. It promises a smooth, breathable finish that never looks cakey, and it's also a great pick because the solid formula means it doesn't run the risk of spilling in your bag.
"My skin is so dry, and this powder is perfect for setting my undereye [makeup] without creasing and caking," raved one reviewer on Amazon. Another fan reported, "I find powder settles in the creases and makes me look dry and dusty, [but] this powder is awesome. It sets my foundation, yet makes my skin look smooth — my skin doesn't feel dry either."
4. The Best Setting Powder For Dry Skin According To Amazon
If you're judging your setting powder by reviews, Dermablend Loose Setting Powder lands a spot at the top of the list for drier skin types. The loose powder is completely free of silica and it promises to keep your makeup in place for up to 16 hours. The powder is even fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, so it won't irritate skin or clog pores. In addition to a translucent option, it also comes in a lighter and darker shade for cool and warm skin tones.
Dermablend's setting powder has over 600 five-star reviews on Amazon, with many noting it works great on dry skin. "My skin tends towards the dry and sensitive [side] and this does not make it [drier] and causes no irritation," wrote one reviewer. Another commented, "Won't break you out; won't dry you out; absorbs oil; you look just as good at the end of the day as you did when just applied it."
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