The skin-savvy formulas that guarantee a flawless finish

Setting powder is the perfect product to lock in your look and prevent your make-up from smudging, budging or transferring. But the trick is choosing a formula that works with (and not against) your skin type – something that’s especially challenging for those with dry skin.  

"The trouble with powders is that they don’t really support drier skin types," explains Dominic Skinner, global senior artist for M.A.C Cosmetics. "Powder can absorb the skin’s moisture, making dry skin even drier."

If you do have dry skin and would still like to use powder, Aimee Connolly, make-up artist and founder of Sculpted by Aimee, suggests seeking out skin-savvy formulas.  

"Setting powders infused with hyaluronic acid will help keep the skin hydrated," says Aimee, while Dominic adds that "mineral-based powders are also perfect for drier skin types as they contain moisturising ingredients."

Here, we’ve rounded up 11 of the best setting powders for dry skin that are lightweight, moisturising and ideal for sealing your base. While you’re at it, why not check out our guide to the best foundations for dry skin to find your perfect pre-powder match?

What is setting powder? 

"A setting powder is used to set cream products in place and/or help control shine," explains Aimee. "It’s very different from regular make-up powder," adds Dominic. 

"The key difference is that setting powder tends to be translucent, so that the make-up you’ve applied beneath it doesn’t dilute or become faded," he explains. Those that are slightly hued, brush on like a sheer veil of colour. "The second difference is the texture. Setting powder has a velvet or silky texture that helps prevent transfer or smudging." 

Aimee adds that "most setting powders do not add any coverage to the skin – but rather, they help extend the longevity of your make-up."

How to apply setting powder on dry skin 

"If you have dry skin, first ask yourself why you’re using powder as it may not always be necessary," says Aimee. "If you still feel the need for a setting powder, be strategic in your application. Only apply it to areas likely to become shinier throughout the day, or wherever your make-up is prone to wearing off." 

Dominic points out the key areas to target: "I recommend applying your chosen powder with a small face brush along the hairline, under the eyes, around the nose and then individual areas, such as smile lines."

"Alternatively, if you want a full lock in for an event or a wedding, apply your loose powder with a powder puff, pressing and pushing the powder right into the skin. Leave the powder to rest or 'bake' for a few minutes, then buff the excess powder off the face with a make-up brush."

11 of the best setting powders for dry skin at Boots 

From budget to blowout, help control shine and lock in your handiwork with these top must-trys. 

Find more brilliant setting powders by browsing our full range.  

17. Ultimate Look Finishing Powder

• Size: 9g

• Dermatologically tested

Consider this your must-have handbag companion. Featuring vitamin E and sweet almond oil, the powder leaves skin looking and feeling soft and silky, while providing high coverage for a flawless complexion.

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder

• Size: 29g

• Available in two shades

• Soft, matte finish 

One of the best setting powders in the business, this classic is loved by beauty editors and make-up artists alike for its finely milled, silky formula that melts into skin for an undetectable finish. It’s also laced with vitamin C and E powders to help nourish the skin. Talk about an all-rounder. 

Huda Beauty Easy Bake Loose Baking & Setting Powder

•  Size: 20g

•  Available in eight shades

•  Non-comedogenic

•  Scented  

Available in eight versatile shades, spanning cool and warm undertones, there’s a Huda Setting Powder to suit everyone. As for the formula, it’s packed with superfine pigments that help colour correct and even skin tone, without creasing or clinging onto dry patches. It’s also non-comedogenic, meaning it contains ingredients less likely to clog pores. 

Rimmel London Match Perfection Silky Loose Powder

• Size: 10g

• Available in one shade (translucent)

• Ultra-lightweight  

Luxuriously lightweight with a micro-fine formula, this is a great affordable setting powder for dry skin. Seriously good, it blends in like butter to deliver a smooth finish that never looks caked on. Instead, foundation looks radiant and stays put for hours without smudging or transferring. 

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Setting Powder

•  Size: 28g

•  Available in eight shades

•  Matte finish

•  Weightless texture

•  Scented 

Although this pigmented powder boasts a matte finish, it’s not too matte, so it still works well on drier skin types without settling into fine lines and creases. To apply, we recommend opting for a small, fluffy brush and dusting it along the areas where it’s needed, such as the T-zone or under the eyes. 

 XX Revolution Quick Fixx Loose Setting Powder Translucent

• Available in one shade (translucent)

• Cruelty-free

• Talc-free 

Don’t be fooled by its lightweight texture, this setting powder truly goes the distance with its longwearing formula that locks foundation and concealer in place all day and night long. Brimming with skin-loving niacinamide, it hydrates and smoothes the appearance of skin, too. Expect a soft-focus, flawless finish that’s flashback-free.  

Kylie Cosmetics Setting Powder

•   Size: 10g

•   Available in four shades

•   Matte finish 

There’s lots to like about this setting powder. First, it comes in four versatile shades that should work for everyone. Second, it has a sheer, lightweight texture that feels like a second skin. And finally, the pretty pink packaging has a handy stopper, which means you don’t lose lots of powder when opening it. 

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Loose Powder Translucent

• Size: 6.8g

• Available in one shade (translucent)

• Talc-free 

Talc-free formulas are great for dry skin as they go on clear and don’t settle into fine lines. This one, from IT Cosmetics, is laced with hydrolysed collagen, antioxidants and peptides to moisturise and help support skin, while also boosting the staying power of your foundation. Try it, you’ll love it! 

e.l.f. Perfect Finish HD Powder

• Size: 8g

• Compact powder

• Portable

• Comes with a sponge

• Available in one shade (translucent)

• Cruelty-free 

This affordable powder has been praised for its lightweight feel and ability to blur fine lines and uneven texture. To use, apply the pressed powder with the make-up sponge (included) whenever and wherever it’s needed. Just note that a little goes a long way, so apply sparingly. 

MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder

• Size: 9g

• Available in one shade (translucent)

• Fragrance-free

• Talc-free

• Non-acnegenic 

Suitable for all skin types, including dry and sensitive, this transparent finishing powder mops up shine (thanks to corn starch) and blurs the appearance of lines and pores (thanks to silica) in an instant. Wear over foundation or on bare, moisturised skin for a velvety smooth finish that’s ultra-comfortable

Sculpted By Aimee Loose Setting Velvet Veil Powder

• Size: 12g

• Available in one shade (translucent)

• Mineral formula

• Talc-free

• Contains hyaluronic acid 

"This powder is great for dry skin as it’s infused with hyaluronic acid, which helps keep the skin hydrated," says the brand’s founder, Aimee. "It's also talc-free, which takes away that heavily powdered or flat, matte look from the skin." Swirl on to any areas you'd like to mattify, using a soft bristled brush.