How to Apply Makeup When You Have Dry Skin


Step 1: Smooth things out.

According to New York City-based dermatologist, Shari Marchbein, flaking skin and facial dryness can happen for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to rashes due to allergic reactions, skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, extreme temperatures, overusing harsh products like retinoids and other acne medications, and exfoliating too often. In any situation, Marchbein recommends paring down your skin-care routine and using a very mild scrub to remove dead or peeling skin (she favors St. Ives Gentle Smoothing Oatmeal Scrub). “To prep the skin directly before applying makeup, a hydrating moisturizing gel can help smooth the skin and allow for more even makeup application by acting as a humectant, attracting water and moisture to the top layer of the skin,” she explains, adding that her two favorites are Neutrogenas Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Face Moisturizer Gel-Cream and Simples Simple Water Boost Hydrating Booster. (If your skin is on the drier side, you can always swap out a gel in lieu of a richer moisturizer, like Eau Thermale Avènes Tolerance Extreme Cream, which is packed full of skin-softening agents like shea butter and thermal spring water.)

If time allows, makeup artist Elisa Flowers says she loves doing a quick mask session to resurface the skin. “Try using Glam Glows Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment for 10 minutes,” she suggests. “This invigorating, tingling mud mask, tightens and smooths away dead skin cells, leaving behind a radiant complexion,” she adds. Another one of Flowerss top tips is to use a gentle lip scrub (were partial to Bite Beautys Agave Sugar Scrub) to smooth away buildup and simultaneously prime and soften the lips.

If youre pressed for time, however, makeup artist Robin Black has a genius hack that tackles stubborn dry spots in a pinch. “This simple trick works to instantly remove dry skin on the face and lips,” she says matter-of-factly. “Pat your dry, clean skin with the sticky side of Scotch tape, [as] the adhesive in the tape is strong enough to pull off all the loose bits but gentle enough to not harm your skin,” she explains. Once youve removed the flakes, Black suggests using a hydrating serum or face oil, followed by a moisturizer to lock everything in.

Step 2: Layer up for good measure.

Once your skin is feeling fresh and nourished again, its time to prime the skin, which you can do with either a traditional primer or a face oil and/or cream that caters to dry skin. (This will allow your makeup to glide on seamlessly and retain its glow.) Renowned makeup artist Tom Pecheux is famous for using oil on his clients skin, as well as adding extra to any drier areas, to make skin look ultra-luminous. Rodin Olio Lusso is one of his favorites.

If youre a primer person, Flowers recommends YSLs Touche Éclat Blur Primer, which she says gives the skin a soft glow and also blurs surface issues like uneven texture and large pores. Check out our list of favorites, too, if youre curious.

Create a flawless-looking complexion with these makeup tips for ladies with dry skin.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

how to wear foundation with dry skin

You don’t use the right cleansing products

If you have dry skin, make sure that all of your cleansing products are formulated for your skin type. Choose a cleanser with ceramides, natural lipids that help skin restore and maintain its natural protective barrier, according to research published in the journal Geriatric Nursing. Ceramides essentially hold the outer layer of skin together by helping it retain moisture. It’s also a good idea to add a toner into your morning and nighttime routine with hyaluronic acid, a natural structural component of skin that again helps you retain moisture and strengthens your skin’s barrier. Here’s the right and wrong way to wash your face.

how to wear foundation with dry skin

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