6 Best Drugstore Setting Powders for Dry Skin

Dry skin is a problem for many makeup types, especially those that rely on moisture in your skin to stay on. Here are our reviews for the best drug store setting powders for dry skin so you can focus on looking your best.

Don’t forget to follow dermatologists’ recommendations for dealing with dry skin. Following these steps can make it much easier to apply your makeup. You may also want to research the causes of dry skin, including the reasons behind patches rather than overall dry skin.

Best Setting Powders for Dry Skin: Our Top 6 Picks

In a hurry? Here are our favorite setting powders for dry skin:

1. Best Overall: Ben Nye Classic Translucent Face Powder

  • Better at reducing the appearance of fine lines than most of its competitors
  • Contains no scent, which is surprisingly rare in this product category
  • The large bottle contains enough powder to last you a long time
  • It’s better at lasting under heat than most other setting powders are
  • This product is surprisingly affordable when considering its other qualities

Not to be confused with a certain popular kids’ science show, Ben Nye’s neutral, colorless powder is an outstanding option for almost anyone. Its bottle is unusually large for this category at 3 ounces of makeup, but it’s still high-quality and suitable for virtually any situation. That makes this an easy recommendation.

This product also comes in some faintly colored variants, including the trendy Banana version. However, we don’t like those as much. Many variants of this product are designed more for stage lighting than normal situations, so they don’t end up looking as good as the neutral, translucent powder.

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2. Most Popular: Sacha Buttercup Setting Powder

  • Milled much finer than most other setting powders, creating a smoother appearance
  • Ideal for photography in various lighting conditions
  • Doesn’t cake onto areas of dry skin the way other powders often do
  • Hypoallergenic and suitable for all types of skin

Something isn’t good just because it’s popular, but when makeup sells particularly well, and people keep coming back for more, you know there’s got to be something about it worth investigating. This product stands out thanks to its unusually fine powder, which creates a noticeably different feel and appearance when you apply it.

This powder is also useful for a variety of different situations, including highlighting or contouring. That can be particularly important when dry skin reflects light differently and throws off your intended appearance. This isn’t our best overall product because it’s more than twice as expensive per ounce as the Ben Nye option.

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3. Best Long-Term Powder: Dermablend Loose Setting Powder

  • Designed to last for up to 16 hours, which is better than many of its competitors
  • Comes in translucent, warm, and cool shades for better control of your coloring
  • Resists smudges and transfers
  • Ideal for users with sensitive skin, allergies, or a preference for fragrance-free powders

Sometimes durability is more important than the other qualities of a setting powder. With the ability to last up to twice the length of a typical workday, this powder is ideal for situations where you need the extended time and won’t have as many opportunities to touch things up.

We recommend getting this powder even if you prefer something else for regular daily use. You may not have much warning on days when you’ll want to apply a longer-lasting powder, so consider keeping this as a backup in your makeup cabinet for special occasions.

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4. Best Multipurpose Powder: Aesthetica Translucent Setting Powder

  • Uses a vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free mixture so you can apply it without worry
  • It works as both a setting powder and a finishing powder for keeping your makeup in place
  • It comes with a high-quality puff for touch-ups throughout the day
  • Designed to stick without turning into a cake

Most setting powders can pull at least a little duty as a finishing powder, especially if you tap them over lipstick to create a matte appearance. However, Aesthetica’s translucent setting powder is particularly useful in both the setting and finishing powder roles, making it more versatile than most of its competitors.

The one thing to keep in mind is that you’ll go through this makeup a lot faster if you use it for finishing, so think carefully before you start taking advantage of those qualities. That said, this powder doesn’t have any talc in it, which is a common ingredient many other brands use to fill space and reduce their production costs. In that sense, this is one of the best products around.

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5. Best Budget Option: L’Oreal Paris Hydra Perfecte

  • More affordable than many other setting powders for the amount you get
  • Available in translucent, light, and medium shades to suit different skin tones
  • Contains moisturizers that help nourish the skin
  • Also good for placing over other types of makeup

Setting powder doesn’t have to be expensive to work, though, by cost per ounce, our best overall option is more affordable than nearly anything else. L’Oreal Hydra Perfecte powder, on the other hand, is a smaller-sized powder for budget-conscious buyers. It works well on both dry and oily skin, too, which helps you share it with someone else.

L’Oreal also has the benefit of being one of the most widely-available brands. After all, finding the best drugstore setting powder for dry skin only gets you so far if you can’t find it in your local drugstore. Some companies are willing to order products on request, but that’s not guaranteed. Reliable access to a product is valuable in its own right.

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6. Best Alternative: Mehron Makeup Setting Powder

  • Absorbs moisture from foundation and sweat
  • Available in a neutral color to help keep makeup looking vibrant
  • Particularly effective on colored greasepaint and cream makeups
  • Works well on sensitive skin

Mehron isn’t one of the most well-known brands, but they still produce a variety of high-quality products. This affordable setting powder is a great alternative to the other options on this list, particularly for special situations like wearing full-body paint. The lack of skin irritation is another point in its favor, making this setting powder a strong contender as a backup choice.

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Setting Powders for Dry Skin: Buyer’s Guide

Here are some essential things to keep in mind when shopping.

What Are The Advantages Of Setting Powders?

Setting powders are essentially a special type of glue designed to hold your foundation throughout the day. They also help reduce shine, which is an essential part of looking great under different lighting conditions. This is especially true if you have to go outside.

You don’t have to use setting powder when you’re using foundation, but it does help if you’re going to be wearing your makeup for a long time and won’t have as many opportunities to touch it up.

Setting powders come in several colors, including tints that can help match skin tone. However, we prefer translucent powders, which help emphasize your natural skin color and are less likely to have an odd clash with your other makeup options.

Aside from their other benefits, setting powders are generally better than their close cousins, setting sprays. Even the best drug store setting spray can create a stiff or sticky feeling on the skin, which is a little distracting. 

Sprays are also more likely to get into your hair and cause problems there, though they work well for long days.

Do not confuse setting powder with finishing powder, which is usually the final layer of makeup you can put on.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Setting Powders?

The first major disadvantage of setting powder for dry skin is that you don’t have as many product choices. That is, pressed powder is your only truly viable option. Loose powders are better for oily and regular skin, which have more moisture to work with. 

You can use loose powders if you want to, but we don’t recommend them as much.

The second negative aspect is that pressed setting powders don’t allow you to put on as much, which can be a problem if you have a lot of foundation that you’re trying to hold in place. The best setting powder options for dry skin fundamentally work better with a light or moderate amount of foundation, but no more than that.

Finally, setting powders aren’t particularly good for baking your makeup. For anyone who’s not familiar with this process, baking refers to letting transparent powders sit in your face for about ten minutes. This allows the heat of your skin to set your makeup before you start applying other layers.

Tricks For Using Setting Powder Correctly

There are many different ways to apply setting powder, including spot applications if you have dry skin patches. However, these tricks can help you get a better final result. Any powders that aren’t compatible with these tricks probably aren’t worth buying.

  • Use A Light Dusting On The Brush: Don’t load a lot of powder into your brush and then lightly apply it to your skin. Instead, minimize the amount on your brush and use a regular amount of force while applying it. This helps blend out blushes and contours, creating a more natural look.
  • Add Extra Powder When Using Heavy Or Dark Eyeshadow: Specifically, put a little more setting powder right under your eyes and around your cheeks’ top areas. This creates a powder guard, which will catch chunks of eyeshadow that fall off and stop them from staining your skin.
  • You May Need To Mist Your Skin: Dry skin may still be visible until you find the right process for covering it. Hydrating toners or a light mist of water can get you a long way. If you need to use a lot of moisture, consider switching to a loose powder instead of a pressed one because those can absorb more moisture.
  • You May Need To Use A Spray Anyway: We don’t like sprays as much, but if you work in hot areas or move around a lot, you may need to use setting powder and a setting spray to keep things in place.
  • You Can Matte Other Things With Setting Powder: This isn’t the primary use of setting powder, but you can apply a light brushing over your lipstick or any makeup you accidentally put on too much of. This is usually better than removing your makeup and applying it all over again.
  • Everyone Is Different: This should be obvious, but many people forget that unique differences affect how makeup works. Small changes in skin moisture, coloring, and environment can affect your overall look. Don’t hesitate to experiment a little and find the makeup routine that works best for you.

Final Verdict

The best drugstore setting powders have a lot to offer when you want to deal with dry skin. The key thing to keep in mind is that you generally want pressed powder instead of loose, finer is almost always better for avoiding a caked-on look, and you should test combinations to find out what works best in your unique situation.

The Ben Nye product is the best overall because it offers a great balance of price, volume, and effectiveness for average users. However, those alone don’t mean it’s the best product for you. Most people do better with translucent setting powder, but you may find that a mild or even medium hue works better for your skin tone or lighting.

Meanwhile, the budget options are easier to find in your local drugstores, which can be significantly more convenient than ordering products online. You may also benefit from specials or discounts not available online, which can further help your makeup budget.

As one final piece of advice, consider testing your makeup at work instead of doing it exclusively at home. This may require leaving home earlier than usual, but there’s no substitute for checking your makeup in the actual lighting conditions you plan to work in. 

Once you know how to do it correctly, you can go back to doing your makeup at home.

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