Make up foundation
Jelly-filled powder donuts
Dried soap scum
Drugs (cocaine, meth)
Coating on a fresh stick of gum
Chalky, dusty, filmy, pulverous, pulverulent
Describing texture in a story creates intimacy between reader and character, and can even cause an emotional trigger for both. To anchor the reader in the scene, make sure comparisons and contrasts are clear and relatable, and within the scope of the narrator's life knowledge and experience.
A weak example:
With her back to the wind, Anna knelt in the field and ran her hands through the soil drifting between the limp stalks of corn. Powder dusted her hand like the leftovers of a sugar donut.Closing her eyes, she lifted her face to the sun and prayed that the rains would come, that Pa's crop would be saved.
What's wrong with this example?
A donut dusted in icing sugar is a positive, and likely brings out good feeling in the reader. This is at direct odds with what the dusty soil actually signifies--possible hardship for Anna's family.
A strong example:
With her back to the wind, Anna knelt in the field and ran her hands through the soil drifting between the limp stalks of corn. The ground had as much moisture as the chalky brushes old Ms. Stitch made her clap together every day after school. Closing her eyes, she lifted her face to the sun and prayed that the rains would come, that Pa's crop would be saved.
Why does this example work?
The dry ground texture is tied to an unpleasant chore--cleaning erasers, which sets it up as an emotional negative.