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.

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Covergirl Clean Fresh Cream Blush (shade 370 Butterflies with swatch)

Covergirl Clean Fresh Cream Blush (370 Butterflies)

I’ll cut to the chase, I do not like this blush formula.  Not only is it difficult to get a smooth application, but the metallic finish of the shade I purchased (butterflies) accentuates texture.  I’ve used cream blushes before, but this is my first experience with a more liquid formula.  The consistency isn’t runny, it has enough thickness to it that it doesn’t run down your hand or anything like that.  I would imagine there is a learning curve, but I’ve given it enough chances to give up on that thought.

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theBalm Bonnie-Lou Manizer (50% off today)

Today is another day in what is certainly theBalm’s longest 50% off sale.  The sale originally started back on April 7 but has been extended several times since the original end date of April 12.  If you aren’t familiar with the brand, they typically have these sales 2 or 3 times a year.  No company is immune to times being hard right now so I’m sure that has everything to do with the sale extensions.

theBalm is a brand worth checking out if you are sensitive to either talc or parabens and like supporting cruelty-free brands  Over the years I’ve tried a sampling of theBalm’s products and by far my favorite product of theirs is highlighter.  The more recent release of the shade Bonnie-Lou Manizer is the swatch I am sharing with you today.

thebalm bonnie-lou manizer swatch on medium dark skin
theBalm Bonnie Lou-Manizer
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NARS Dominate and Savage Blush (swatches)

These blushes are quite hard to capture on camera, but I did my best.  While both colors have shimmer in them Dominate has a heavier sheen and more noticeable shimmer particles than Savage. 

NARS Dominate, $30**

NARS describes the shade Dominate as a shimmering deep plum.  When applied sheerly on the face, the plum tone is more pronounced.  I do not enjoy the shade dominate for my preferences, I find it has too much shimmer in it.  When I look at it on my skin the shimmer particles sink into my pores.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t capture the sparkles in either shade on camera without losing the actual color of the blush.

NARS Powder Blush Dominate dark skin
NARS Dominate Blush
NARS Powder Blush Dominate swatch on dark skin
NARS Dominate Blush

NARS Savage, $30**

NARS describes Savage as a shimmering red brown and when applied to the face you can see that reddish tone come through more than the way it swatches.  Savage is my favorite of the two shades.  It has a less intense shimmer running through it that makes me look healthy and doesn’t accentuate my pores.

NARS Powder Blush Savage dark skin
NARS Savage Blush
NARS Powder Blush Savage swatch on dark skin
NARS Savage Blush

Both shades are buildable, so I think they would work for several different skin tones.  I was pleasantly surprised that dominate was easy to apply lightly.  In my past experience, NARS blushes apply better with natural hair brushes and these are no exception.  They always apply splotchy when I try to use synthetic brushes.  I think NARS blushes are ok, but I’m never blown away by them.  I think there are better formulas at lower price points. However, if you are looking for great colors that work for a variety of skin tones, they definitely excel at that.

NARS blushes retail for $30**.

What’s your take on NARS blushes?  Are they worth the hype?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sticking around and checking out more of my content. 

  • Brands A-Z: Check out this index if you want to know what products I have posted about in the past.
  • MAC Cosmetics:  I likely have some swatches you’ve been searching for if you love Mac as much as I do. 
  • Shop My Stash:  Join me as I share swatches of my products and occasionally search for alternatives to new releases. 

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bareMinerals Bounce and Blur Blush Swatches

The blushes in this collection are being marketed as having a “Fingertip-friendly bouncy powder” formula.  They retail for $29.00** wherever bareMinerals is sold.  I don’t have a lot of experience with this type of formula, but I’d say they are like the Colourpop super shock formula**.

bareMinerals Bounce and Blur Coral Cloud and Mauve Sunrise Blush Swatches on Dark Skin
bareMinerals Coral Cloud (left) and Mauve Sunrise (right)
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