Setting Powders That Work for My Dry Skin

Setting powders can be tricky for those of us with dry skin. Here are three powders that set my foundation for longevity without accentuating dryness or creating dryness where there was none.

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Best for Luminosity: Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder** (shades 4 and 5)

I like to pair the Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder** with one of my favorite foundations, the Clinique Beyond Perfecting 2-in-1 Foundation. Because the Clinique foundation has a satin finish that feels tacky on the skin, I like to set it without taking away the satin finish. So by using this as a setting powder, I get the longevity and dried down feeling, but the glow of the powder keeps my skin from looking dry or looking matte.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder Shades 4 and 5 swatches on medium dark skin
Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder Shades 4 and 5
Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder Shades 4 and 5 Swatches on medium dark skin
Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder Shades 4 and 5

This powder is designed to catch the light, so keep that in mind when you are considering the shades. Shade 4 is the best shade for my skin tone (Estee Lauder 4W4/5W1, MAC C8, NARS Tahoe) and shade 5 is a little dark for me. I mainly use shade 5 when I have a foundation that is a little too light for me. I do know that shade 5 works for people who can wear NARS Macao, MAC NW43, MAC NC47, Lancome 460, Fenty 385, and Fenty 390. This isn’t to say it won’t work for any other deeper or lighter skin tones, this will just hopefully give a reference point.

Overall, this is my preferred setting powder but it can also be used as a finishing powder. If a foundation is accentuating my texture, I find that layering this powder on top improves the way it looks. Laura Mercier claims that this powder has a “diffused, soft-focus finish” and I guess that is the benefit that helps with the look of texture.

The Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder retails for $39.00 on the Laura Mercier website**.

Update, January 21, 2022: Unfortunately, it seems that the brand has discontinued shades 2, 4, and 6 in this line. Shade 5 is still carried and is in stock. While shades 1 and 3 are currently out of stock they will be restocked at some point. When I contacted the brand in November 2021, they confirmed that shade 4 has been discontinued. So that leads me to believe at least for the time being that the whole line has not been discontinued.

Best for Blurring: No7 Lift & Luminate Finishing Powder (shades medium and deep)

If you have dry skin and need powder to help give your skin a smooth appearance, the No7 Lift & Luminate Finishing Powder may be an option to consider. This powder does offer a little coverage making the shade range more limited. The options may not be as forgiving as a more sheer powder like the Laura Mercier Candleglow or the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural (which I’ll talk about next). On the other hand, this option gives a matte look to the skin if you prefer to look matte over luminous. For as much hype as this is starting to get, I hope the brand can extend the shade range.

no7 lift luminate finishing powder medium and deep Swatches on medium dark skin
No 7 Lift and Luminate Finishing Powder in Medium and Deep
no7 lift luminate finishing powder medium and deep swatches on medium dark skin
No 7 Lift and Luminate Finishing Powder in Medium and Deep

I think you can see the blurring effect in the image above. The powder is so blurring it was hard to capture it on camera.

This powder does come in 4 shades, but as far as I can tell the deep shade is only available through Target.com. The powder retails for $12.99

Best Natural Finish: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural** (shades medium deep and dark)

The finish of the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural** falls somewhere in between the luminosity of the Laura Mercier Candleglow and the Blurred matte effect of the No7 Lift & Luminate. I’d also say it is a bit sheerer than the No7, making its shade range more forgiving. The shade range is also larger than the No7, so that makes it more accessible to more people as well.

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural Powder Medium Deep and Dark Swatches on medium dark skin
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural Powder in Medium Deep and Dark
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural Powder Medium Deep and Dark Swatches on medium dark skin
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural Powder in Medium Deep and Dark

On my dry skin, this gives me a satin verging on matte finish. It does have what MAC calls “pearlized pigments” running through the powder; so I can imagine that the less dry you are, the more you will experience that pearlized effect.

This powder comes in 14 shades and retails for $37.00.**


What is your favorite setting powder? Let me know why in the comments section below.


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