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The Very Best Foundations For Dry Skin

Gigi Hadid © Getty Images

We round up the top hydrating products and reveal our dry skin makeup tips...

Is your skin constantly parched? Does it flake at the sight of makeup, and feel tight and uncomfortable as soon as you put your face on? That kind of drama makes it so hard to find the perfect foundation for your skin, and can make you vow to steer clear of face make-up for good, but there's really no need.

We’ve tried and tested the best foundations for dry skin conditions so you don’t have to go barefaced. But first, let’s get to the core of the problem…

What causes dry skin?

There are numerous sources of dry skin, whether around the eyes, mouth or in patches across your face and neck. Some may suffer from eczema or other medical conditions, but for most of us dry skin is caused by simple elements of our lifestyle. Strong soaps, cheap moisturisers, washing in too-hot water, not eating enough oily foods, dusty pollution, cold weather and synthetic fabrics can all affect the moisture balance in your skin.

What helps dry skin?

There are three easy but essential skin-softening changes you can make right now. First up, make sure the products you are using don’t contain too many nasty chemicals. Choose something gentle that contains natural ingredients, and avoid anything with too much fragrance. Next step, cool those showers down. Wash with warm rather than hot hot water, and then be sure to apply your face cream straight after (don’t worry if your skin is still damp) to lock in any moisture. Finally, work from the inside out. Omega 3 foods are great for keeping skin hydrated, think oily fish like salmon and mackerel, or walnuts, spinach and chia seeds. Nuts, seeds and avocados are rich in vitamin e and healthy fats which keep skin moist, while sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin e which helps avoid dryness altogether.

Now you know that you’re looking after your skin, it’s time to think about makeup.

What foundation should I use?

Models backstage © Getty Images

With a dry complexion, it’s no surprise that you should be opting for a foundation that’s dedicated to hydrating the skin. If you prefer something lighter during the day, opt for a tinted moisturiser and save foundation for the evening. Shop our pick of the ten best foundations for dry skin below.

What is the best liquid foundation for dry skin?

A liquid formula is the best type of foundation for those who suffer with dry skin. Ideally you want to look for liquid foundations with added skincare benefits, in particular hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, that will keep moisture levels topped up throughout the day and your skin feeling comfortable. We rate Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Foundation or Chanel's Vitalumiere.

Dry skin tends to be dull and lacking in brightness so it is also worth considering looking for a foundation with glow boosting or light reflecting properties. We like Burberry's Bright Glow Foundation or Clinique's Even Better Glow.

Can I use powder foundation when I have dry skin?

In general it's best to eschew powder foundations if you suffer with dry or flaky skin. The powder formula will stick too and exaggerate your dry areas and leave your skin looking dull. Having said this you might like to use a little finishing powder on top of your liquid foundation to extend the life of it's coverage. Simply dusting a little powder on your t-zone with a large headed brush to stop any shine sneaking through. After all, just because you have dry skin in general it doesn't mean you don't have oily areas on occasion.

What is the best powder foundation for dry skin?

We recommend the glow-giving MAC Mineralize Skin Finish or the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Skin-Perfecting Micro-Powder which is great for combatting shine without drying the skin out.

What's the best foundation for dry mature skin over 40?

As you get older, it's likely that you will find your skin feeling drier and tighter. First, make sure that your complexion is hydrated, applying a serum like Vichy's Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Serum, £22.50 (which will also help to hold off dehydration lines throughout the day) beforehand. Then, try a light, moisture rich formula like By Terry's Terrybly Densiliss Foundation, £78, or No.7's Protect and Perfect Foundation, £16. Again, avoid powder based formulas, as these will simply settle into lines and may cling to any dry or flaky patches. To know more about the best anti-aging foundations out there, click here.

Full coverage foundations for dry skin

Prefer your foundation to give a fuller coverage that will stick around all day? While it can be tough to hunt down a full coverage foundation that won't leave dry skin feeling parched, that doesn't mean that your holy grail product doesn't exist. We like Hourglass's Veil Fluid Make-Up, £50, which promises luminous, long-lasting coverage with anti-ageing benefits, Bobbi Brown's Intensive Skin Serum Foundation, £40, the silky finish of which glides across the skin and stays flaw-free all day.

How to apply foundation to dry skin

foundation for dry skin © Getty Images

Make sure your skin is well-prepped before you even think about makeup. Apply a lightweight day cream before foundation to ensure your skin is hydrated, but not sticky.

Next up: primer. No, it isn’t a fad. Primer is a key step in ensuring your makeup stays in place all day (or night). Choose oil-free to avoid clogging pores, but ensure you apply a light layer to lock in moisture and maintain makeup.

Now you can apply your foundation. Using a brush will stop you from over-applying in one area and keep your coverage even. Go for synethic fibres for a liquid foundation – and work from your nose outwards for a flawless face.

Finally, instead of setting your make-up with powder, use a moisturising setting spray. It will help your base stay in place, but also give your makeup a dewy finish that's really flattering on drier skins.

Is foundation good for dry skin?

This totally depends on how you use it. If you choose a foundation that’s especially for your skin type (here, dry skin), then you’ll avoid blemishes or clogged pores. And in many cases, dedicated treatments in your foundation can actually keep skin healthy; SPF protection, anti-ageing properties and natural ingredients are all beneficial to your skin’s wellbeing. It’s actually what happens around foundation wearing that can cause problems. Make sure you rinse and cleanse your face thoroughly before sleeping. Apply foundation with a brush rather than your fingers, but make sure you wash brushes regularly to avoid bacteria build up, which could lead to spots or irritations.


Here are the solutions to all your foundation woes...

  • Looking for something to conceal imperfections and redness? Here are the [**best foundations that will give you a full coverage**](
  • 7 of the best radiance-boosting [**foundations for mature skin**]( )
  • Need something a little more hydrating? Here are the [**best foundations for dry skin**](
  • Say goodbye to shine with 8 of the best [**foundations for oily skin**](
  • 8 of the [**best foundations that will actually last all day**](
  • On a budget? Here are the [**best foundations under £10**](

And finally, here are some tips and tricks on how to apply foundation like a prosome tips and tricks on how to apply foundation like a pro