Best Foundation for Dry Skin, According to 6 Experts

When it comes to selecting a foundation that works for dry skin, it’s essential to look for a product that will provide a boost of moisture and decent coverage.

To help you find the best products out there, we’ve rounded up the best foundations for dry skin, as recommended by experts.

Stephanie Ivonne

Stephanie Ivonne

Esthetician | Freelance Beauty and Wellness Writer | Advisory Board, Smart Style Today

The type of foundation those with dry skin need to look for should be a liquid or creamy consistency providing a radiant finish that can wake up even the driest of skin.

In order to make sure you’re giving your skin a fighting chance, follow these tips to not only improve the appearance but will also provide a more flawless makeup application.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink at least the recommended 64 oz. and eat water-rich foods daily! Staying hydrated helps your body from the inside out creating a more supple and smooth appearance.
  • Exfoliate. Gently exfoliating away all those dead skin cells allows for healthier new ones to regenerate. But don’t scrub as dry skin can easily become irritated.
  • Moisturize before drying. Lock in moisture taking warm showers, using gentle products and applying rich oils and thicker creams onto your skin patting dry every time.
  • Apply your makeup properly. Apply a moisturizing serum and allow to sink in followed by a rich moisturizer. Once completed applying a moisturizing primer allowing your makeup to stay put all day and easily disguise any rough patches. Stick to cream and liquid types of makeup.
  • Don’t use your fingers. Applying the makeup with your bare hands absorbs most of the product whereas applying directly to a blending brush or silicone blender will thoroughly blend the product onto your skin for a more flawless application.

Following those tips, here are some of my favorite foundations that work great for those dealing with flaky, dry skin:

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

$45.99
Buy on Amazon
02/19/2024 10:50 pm GMT

Most importantly schedule an appointment with your local esthetician setting up routine visits and creating a skincare plan to follow that’ll help you fix the route of the problem, not just ‘masking’ the issue.

Raman Madan, MD

Raman Madan

Director of Cosmetic Dermatology, Northwell Health

When the skin is dry, it is very difficult to cover up the area. Putting makeup can draw more attention to flaking skin but there are ways to ensure you get the best full coverage foundation.

You should stay away from foundations that have salicylic acid and fragrances in them. Salicyclic acid is the same ingredient that is used to dry up acne so it will also dry up your skin. Fragrances are typically in an alcohol base and the alcohol will dry your skin as well.

Avoiding “matte” products is also important because these contain oil-absorbing ingredients which are not what you are looking for with dry skin. It is important to look for a foundation that boosts itself for being hydrating such as Neutrogena Hydroboost Hydrating.

In addition to choosing the correct product, it is important to apply the foundation correctly to dry skin.

You should exfoliate dead skin to smooth it out and follow it with an oil-based cleanser to help retain moisturizer. You can also use a hydrating mist and hydrating primer which helps give the skin a glow and prevent your skin from absorbing a newly applied foundation.

Related: Best Primer for Dry Skin

When applying the foundation, using a damp sponge is best but using a makeup brush and applying in a downward motion to build coverage as opposed to going in circular motions is also helpful.

Erum Ilyas, MD, MBE, FAAD

Erum Ilyas

Dermatologist, Montgomery Dermatology, LLC

One of the most frustrating issues with dry skin and makeup is that makeup tends to accumulate on the driest area of the skin. This can make it appear ‘caked on’ or take on a different hue.

The first step to finding the right foundation is to make sure there are no buzzwords – age-defying, ageless, acne-prone skin, etc. These will often contain added ingredients such as salicylic acid that can add to your dryness.

One of my favorite foundations for dry skin is Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue. I find that this product combines moisturizer, tint, and sunscreen in one product. It is lightweight making it less likely to feel caked on. It also provides great coverage. My patients find that there are so many hues to choose from it is a great option for most.

Bobbi Brown Nude Finish tinted moisturizer is another favorite of mine. Lightweight, adequate coverage and hydrating as well!

Rawn Bosley, MD

Rawn Bosley

Board Certified Dermatologist, Prism Dermatology

Foundations with a hydrating component are excellent solutions for dry skin. A favorite in my practice is Neutrogena’s Hydroboost hydrating tint. This is a versatile oil-free foundation that is available in 10 shades. This can be paired with a moisturizing SPF sunscreen to provide complete hydration and protection.

Revision Skincare Intellishade

$84.00 ($49.41 / Ounce)
Buy on Amazon
02/21/2024 06:15 am GMT

Another favorite all-in-one product is Intellishade Original by Revision. This is a tinted moisturizing SPF sunscreen that is often used as a foundation. This product also contains Vitamin C and anti-aging peptides which are helpful for an even skin tone and correcting fine lines and wrinkles.

Natalie Setareh

Natalie Setareh

Luxury Makeup Artist | Beauty Coach

Silicon, water, or oil-based foundations will be your best bet for foundations for dry skin

Knowing your skin type is critical to a comfortable and lasting makeup application. When shopping for a foundation for dry skin you will want to avoid using anything with the words, “oil-free” or “mattifying” as these foundations are generally formulated for people with oily or combination skin.

If you have dry skin and use the wrong foundation, you’ll know it is not right because dry patches may appear after/during the application or your makeup will appear dull and lack a healthy glow. However, skin prep prior to makeup application is essential you a flawless and comfortable makeup application.

K.D. Gates

K.D. Gates

Holistic Skincare Expert | Licensed Esthetician | Founder & CEO, Celsaderm Skincare

When I’m giving makeup consults, I always tell clients with dry skin to look for a hydrating liquid foundation and or a foundation with a serum consistency. Both options provide hydration without the heaviness.

When comparing the two, hydrating liquid foundations provide a satin to matte coverage and serum foundations provide the coverage dry skin craves along with additional ingredients to improve the look and health of their skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for in a foundation for dry skin?

When looking for a foundation for dry skin, look for formulations labeled “moisturizing” or “hydrating.” Also, look for foundations with lightweight, nourishing formulas that will not clog your pores or make your skin feel tight or dry. It’s also important to choose a foundation with a natural, radiant finish, as matte or flat finishes can cause dry skin to look dull and lackluster.

How can I ensure my foundation looks natural on dry skin?

To ensure your foundation looks natural on dry skin, moisturize your skin before applying foundation. This will create a smooth, hydrated base to which the foundation will adhere well. When applying foundation, use a damp beauty sponge or brush to blend it into your skin, as this will help to create a natural, seamless finish. Avoid applying too much product; your foundation may look cakey and unnatural on dry skin.

Can I wear a matte foundation if I have dry skin?

While it is possible to use a matte foundation if you have dry skin, you must choose a formula formulated specifically for dry skin. Many matte foundations can be quite drying. So, choosing one that contains hydrating ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid is important to help moisturize your skin. Also, moisturize your skin before applying foundation to create a smooth, hydrating base for the foundation to adhere to.

Is it possible to have a full-coverage foundation for dry skin?

Yes, it is possible to have a full-coverage foundation for dry skin. In fact, many foundations with high coverage now come in moisturizing formulas designed specifically for dry skin. Look for foundations with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and Shea butter. These will keep your skin hydrated and nourished even after achieving full coverage.

Can foundation make my dry skin worse?

Yes, a foundation can worsen dry skin if you choose the wrong formula or apply it incorrectly. Some foundations, especially those with heavy, matte formulas, can dry and leave your skin feeling tight and uncomfortable. To avoid this, choose a foundation specifically formulated for dry skin and ensure that you moisturize your skin adequately before applying the foundation. Also, pay attention to how much foundation you apply. Using too much can cause your skin to look cakey and accentuate dry patches.

How often should I reapply my foundation if I have dry skin?

If you have dry skin, you may need to reapply your foundation more often than someone with oily skin. How often you need to reapply your foundation depends on several factors. This includes the type of foundation you are using, the climate you are in, and your skin’s natural oil production. Consider carrying a travel-sized bottle of hydrating face mist and reapplying your foundation to ensure your skin remains hydrated and your foundation looks fresh.

Can I use a powder foundation if I have dry skin?

Yes, you can use a powder foundation if you have dry skin, but it is important that you choose the right formula. Look for powder foundations with nourishing ingredients like argan or coconut oil, which will help hydrate and soothe your skin. Also, make sure you moisturize your skin well before applying powder foundation. Apply it with a large, fluffy brush in light, circular motions so you do not over-apply and accentuate dry patches.

Is using a primer for dry skin necessary before applying the foundation?

While using a primer before applying foundation for dry skin is unnecessary, it can help create a smooth, hydrating base for your foundation to adhere to. Primers with hydrating ingredients such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid can help to moisturize and soothe dry skin so that foundation can be applied smoothly and evenly. In addition, using a primer can help extend the wear time of your foundation and keep it looking fresh throughout the day.

How can I make my foundation last longer on dry skin?

To make your foundation last longer on dry skin, moisturize your skin well before applying foundation. This will help you create a smooth, hydrated base to which the foundation will adhere well. Additionally, consider using a primer to extend the wear time of your foundation and keep it looking fresh throughout the day. Finally, set your foundation with a light powder and carry a travel-sized bottle of moisturizing face mist to reapply as needed throughout the day.

Can I use a drugstore foundation for dry skin?

Yes, you can use a drugstore foundation for dry skin. In fact, many drugstore foundations now come in moisturizing formulas designed specifically for dry skin. When buying a drugstore foundation, look for formulations with nourishing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and Shea butter to hydrate and soothe your skin.

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