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The Best Hydrating Setting Powders for Dry Skin 


Photo: ©Studio Firma / Stocksy

For the longest time, setting powder was my arch-nemesis. No matter how painstakingly I had applied moisturizer, powder always seemed to find the dry patches on my skin, clinging to flakes and settling into fine lines like nobody’s business. Not only that, after a few hours of wear, my skin would feel uncomfortably tight and dry. I’d all but given up until I discovered that there are powders out there for dry skin. And they’re actually pretty good! That’s right, you don’t have to look like a raisin if you want to set your makeup with powder. You can bake your concealer without turning a spotlight on every tiny wrinkle. Ahead, my favorite hydrating setting powders for dry skin.

BY TERRY Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder, $60

This is the powder that changed the game for me—the OG, if you will. The formula is very simple: silica (a sheer white mineral which is in almost every setting powder) and hyaluronic acid spheres. Those little spheres draw moisture from the air around you to the surface of your skin, so the powder actually hydrates while you wear it. It’s perfect for getting a matte, shine-free finish without sucking your skin dry. BY TERRY recently followed up with a tinted version (BY TERRY Hyaluronic Tinted Hydra-Powder) if you prefer a hint of color.

Koh Gen Do Brightening Moisture Powder, $62

Not crazy about loose powders? Meet your new best friend—this pressed powder from Koh Gen Do. As you can tell by the aesthetically pleasing swirls in the compact, it’s formulated with hydrating ingredients like squalane, ceramides, hyaluronic acid and lots of hydrating oils. The finish is dewy and luminous with a very subtle pearly sheen. It’s a great choice if you don’t like the look of matte skin.

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish, $45

Another pressed finishing powder, this time from Charlotte Tilbury. Like the Koh Gen Do powder, Airbrush Flawless Finish is not exactly matte—it’s like a soft-focus light, slightly less pearly than Koh Gen Do but still creating a lit-from-within effect that helps blur pores and uneven texture. Sweet almond oil and rose wax give it a buttery texture while also keeping skin comfortable after hours of wear. This powder also adds some sheer color—if you’re looking for that.

Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder, $46

Hourglass is hard to beat when it comes to luminous powders. I could have extolled the brand’s Ambient Lighting Powders here because they really kicked off the whole highlighter/finishing powder hybrid trend. But I’m going to focus on their recent foray into loose setting powder because it’s really good. Veil Translucent Setting Powder is incredibly silky and seems to glide over my dry skin without looking cakey or powdery. It has a blurring effect and a subtle, glowing sheen, making it a good choice for anyone who wants a slightly luminous finish (not matte) to their makeup. It’s also cruelty-free and talc-free, yay.

BECCA Hydra-Mist Set & Refresh Powder, $39

I’m not sure what sorcery is used for this powder, but it feels slightly cool and wet when you apply it. Confusing at first, really satisfying once you get used to it. This will be a great powder to use to touch up on hot summer days. Made with 50% water (!), it melts into skin without settling into fine lines or getting cakey. Even though the finish is more on the classic matte side, it seems to keep my skin lightly hydrated throughout the day. I’ve heard that the cooling effect diminishes over time, so I recommend screwing the cap back on tightly after each use.