How to apply setting powder to ‘dry skin’ according to an expert

Your skin type should determine the beauty products you use. From skincare to makeup, choosing the right formulas can make or break the look, feel and health of your skin.

Those with oily skin should stick to oil-free foundations, lightweight moisturisers and mattifying primers to avoid congestion or pimples, but when it comes to dry or dehydrated skin, the more moisture and hydration, the better. Ceramide-rich moisturisers and glycerin-based serums and foundations will be your best friend. But, what about setting powders?

You might be reading this thinking dry skin and powder? Never the twain shall meet. But times have changed and formulas are more sophisticated. Setting powders are now infused with hydrating skincare ingredients so you’re able to set your base and make it last without turning your skin dusty.

According to celebrity makeup artist Valeria Ferreira, whose clients include Anya Taylor-Joy, Cara Delevingne and Lily James, “Powders are very helpful… Soft-focus finishing powders applied with a small blending brush help to create a semi-matte finish and give your base longevity.”

Anya Taylor-Joy smiling at the Oscars © Getty
Anya Taylor-Joy is just one of Valeria Ferreira’s many A-list clients

Natural looking skin should have a subtle sheen but when your skin is dry, you can struggle to get a glow when using a setting powder. The key is to look for a setting powder infused with plenty of moisturising ingredients.  

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Whether it’s hyaluronic acid, natural plant oils or squalane, these ingredients are essential to stop your setting powder from looking chalky and clinging to dry patches. They help to attract and lock in moisture on the skin rather than inhibit it and the result is set makeup which will last, minus that unsightly flaky, patchy finish. 

What is setting powder used for?

Setting powder is one of the final steps in your makeup that keeps everything in place. It can be used to reduce shine on oily skin or add luminosity to dry skin – depending on the formula.

What is the difference between translucent powder and setting powder?

A translucent powder can be either a loose or pressed setting powder. It simply means there is minimal pigment in the powder so it will suit your natural skin tone, whether you have deep or lighter skin. A setting powder can be translucent or pigmented. 

When should I apply my setting powder?

You should apply setting powder after a cream or liquid base such as, a tinted moisturiser, CC cream or foundation. You should always use a setting spray after applying your setting powder to lock it in place further.

How do I know what setting powder to use?

Always look at the colour match first and foremost. It should be exactly the same shade as your skin or a little lighter to brighten the skin (particularly useful for dark under eye circles.) Then, look at the finish of the product. A mattifying finish will suit oily skin but a radiance, satin or radiance-boosting setting powder will suit dry skin.

How we chose:

  • Ingredients: All our product selections are packed with ingredients that will hydrated the skin and add, not take away, moisture. From seed oils to hyaluronic acid.
  • Performance and personal testimony: The best setting powders for dry skin chosen above are products that I (Hello! Fashion‘s Deputy Beauty Editor Emma North) personally really rate. From pressed powder to translucent, loose formulas, I have tried all of them and these came out on top.

Hello! Fashion shares the best setting powders for dry skin:

  • By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder© By Terry

    Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder

    By Terry

    Key Ingredients

    Eight types of hyaluronic acid.

    What we love:

    • Finely-milled
    • Translucent finish
    • Featherweight feel

    What we don’t like:

    • Nothing – one of the best powders I tried

    One product that repeatedly tops the chart of ‘best setting powders for dry skin’ and is a firm favourite amongst the Hello! Fashion team is the By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder. Soft, finely-milled and infused with eight different types of hyaluronic acid, it does a fantastic job of setting your base without turning it dry and cakey.

  • Westman Atelier Vital Pressed Skincare Powder

    Vital Pressed Skincare Powder

    Westman Atelier

    Key ingredients…

    Vitamin C, probiotics, quinoa seed extract. 

    What we love:

    • Long-lasting hydration 
    • Never cakes

    What we don’t like:

    • Falls on the upper end of the price spectrum 

    Yes, it’s expensive but this pressed powder is the one to reach for if you suffer from flaky skin. Available in four different shades, it’s feather-light and packed with vitamin C and nourishing quinoa seed extract. For an invisible finish, use a powder puff to apply and avoid swiping over the skin as this can trigger more flakiness.

  • Rodial Glass Powder

    Key ingredients…

    Glass-microsphere technology.

    What we love:

    • Long-lasting hydration 
    • Imperceptible on skin

    What we don’t like:

    • Not particularly travel friendly

    An under-the-radar but utterly fantastic loose powder for dry skin, Rodial’s Glass Powder contains glass-microsphere technology which helps bring luminosity to the skin. It sets makeup beautifully for all-day wear and doesn’t cling to dry patches plus, it seems to blur away pores and imperfections.

Why you should trust me: 

Emma is Hello! Fashion’s Deputy Beauty Editor. Focusing on all things hair, makeup and skin related, there’s not a foundation she hasn’t tried nor a cleanser that hasn’t graced her bathroom. When not writing about beauty, you’ll often find her trawling the Beauty Halls of Harrods, seeking new launches and discovering the latest formula developments.

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