The Best Makeup for Dry Skin (Guide + Products)

woman with dry skin

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Dry skin is a common problem that can make it challenging to apply makeup evenly. I personally do not have dry skin all year long, I have combo skin during the summer, but during the winter, it’s dry as hell.

As a makeup lover and makeup professional, I have learned over the years that the current weather/season of the year matters (a lot!) when it comes to choosing the best products and employing the best techniques.

In this article, we will discuss all my secret tips for applying makeup to dry skin, as well as the best types of makeup products to use for each step.

We will also cover how to take care of dry skin in order to avoid excessive dryness and skin flakes for flawless makeup!

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1. What is dry skin, and what causes it

Dry skin is a skin type where the skin appears dry, scaly, and sometimes even cracked. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including weather changes (especially cold/dry weather), genetics, age, dehydration or not drinking enough water, sun exposure, and dry air.

Where I live, we have very dry weather that, in combination with the winter season, makes my skin feel like cardboard. So, dry skin is something I am very familiar with.

2. How to determine your skin type

It’s important to determine your skin type before you embark on the dry skin makeup journey. You can do this by closely observing and touching it, paying attention to how it looks and feels without any makeup.

Does it appear dry? Does it appear oily? Or maybe even combination (dry in some areas, oily in areas like T-zone, chin and/or forehead)

If your skin looks dry, flaky, and scaly without any makeup, you might have dry skin.

3. Choose the right products for dry skin

makeup products for dry skin

Once you’ve determined that you have dry skin, it’s time to choose the right type of makeup product for dry skin!

But before getting into the makeup products, I want to touch the importance of the right skin-prep or skincare routine.

Dry skin needs as much hydration as possible and gentle cleansers to avoid dryness. Opt for an soap-free cleanser for this step.

Then choose hydrating hyaluronic acid serum and a moisturizer designed for dry skin.

Also consider using a face oil on top of this steps and before applying your makeup to create an extra barrier that protects the skin from loosing hydratation.

This last steps with the face oil, is tremendously important. It makes all the difference!

Especially if you live in a dry weather like me, adding 1 or 2 drops (or more) of a face oil after the moisturizer locks the product on the skin and protects it from the dry environment to steal our hydration from the skin.

In makeup, a good skin prep routine is 50% of what it takes to get flawless results.

Bad skin will normally result in a bad makeup look! The skin prep is SO important in makeup and this is no different for dry skin.

Exfoliation for dry skin

Exfoliating is also essential, but be sure not to overdo it.

Exfoliation twice a week should be enough. This will help you to get rid of dry and flaky skin, dry patches, etc., so your makeup looks flawless!

And also, the right exfoliation product is key. Please avoid physical exfoliation products and try chemical exfoliators instead. About which chemical exfoliation is the best and how to use it for your skin? The best is to consult with your dermatologist.

But what I do know is that using physical exfoliator harm the skin.

If you haven’t had a skincare routine, the results in your skin once you start to doing it won’t be fast, but stay consistent!

If doing it right, overtime, your skin will show improvements, and this will be noticeable in your makeup as well!

The Ultimate Hydrating Hack

The doctors in the next video explaining the slugging hydrating hack better than me so I’ll leave you the video here:

Basically, slugging consists of doing a petroleum base product coat on top of the skincare product you want to potentialize.

Which can be good or bad depending on the ingredient and if this is good for your skin type and skin necessities.

For example, if you add vaseline on top of salicylic acid (an ingredient used for acne and pimples), the vaseline makes the skin retain 99% of the water, and you are potentializing this ingredient X amount of times even when you are using the same/regular concentration of the skincare product.

And in the other side, if you take an irritating ingredient, you will get X times more irritation, etc.

So the ideal way to do the slugging hack for dry skin would be using a soap-free gentle cleanser + a gentle, simple plain moisturizer + vaseline.

That way, we potentiate the power of our regular moisturizer that hydrates our skin.

Did you know that Mariyln Monroe beauty secret was to use vaseline as a makeup base? Would you try it?

4. The best makeup for dry skin

Now that we have touched on the best skincare routine for dry skin, let’s get into the best makeup products.

Once you’ve got your dry skin care routine in place, there are a few makeup products that will deliver the best results:


Choose a liquid or creamy foundation; these formulas help dry skin look more hydrated and less dry. Opt for those foundations that say things like: dewy, satin, hydrating, foundation balm, etc. And avoid the ones that say: matte, oil-control, for oily skin.

A good foundation balm that, while hydrating, is also full coverage is the one by Sheglam. Another good option is the It cosmetics your skin but better cc cream, which is another hydrating formula with full coverage.


Liquid or cream concealer is your best option. Same as the foundation, avoid the matte ones and opt for the hydrating versions. For example, the hydrating version of the best concealer in the world: the Tarte shape tape concealer.

The most important rule when it comes to makeup for dry skin is to choose products that are moisturizing. Look for formulas that have added hydrating ingredients like shea butter, aloe vera, and jojoba oil.

Blush, bronze, and contour

I’ve been loving cream/liquid blushes. These gives a beautiful fresh look that is perfect for dry skin.

Also, cream bronzer or cream contour is the best way to go.

Does this necessarily mean that you can’t wear powders? Not.

You can, but it would be better if you use mostly creams and use the powder versions to set or add more coverage when necessary instead of basing your blush/bronzer application on only powders.

Face powder

Did you know that you can wear a hydrating powder? Even when we might think of powders as a drying product, there are some powders available that contain hydrating ingredients (like jojoba oil, for example),

which make the skin look fresh even with powder.

I have a list and guide of the best powders for mature dry skin here,

but basically, those are also the best for dry skin in general. I also share some secrets on the best way to set your makeup if you have dry skin.

4. How to apply makeup when you have dry skin

how to apply makeup for dry skin

Once you have the right product, you’ll need to use them in the right way.

Here are some tips on how to apply makeup if you have dry skin:

  • Make sure to prep your skin with a good moisturizer and primer. This will help keep your dry skin hydrated throughout the day.
  • Use a damp beauty sponge to apply makeup. This will help your products blend into the skin and keep dry patches at bay.
  • Avoid too much blending around dry areas as this can cause dryness and flaking. Instead, focus on blending outwards from the dry area to create a smoother finish.

Now let’s get to the steps.

Step.1 Hydrating primer

I always like to start my makeup routine with a hydrating primer.

Primers, particularly those that are more emollient-based and contain ingredients such as glycerin, not only help your foundation last longer but also make dry skin look better overall.

Our #1 top recommendation is The POREfessional Hydrating Primer by Benefit cosmetics.

Step 2: Foundation

After primer, wait at least 3-5 minutes to settle in to your skin and then apply a liquid hydrating foundation with a makeup sponge.

It is important to AVOID makeup foundation brushes.

These tend to apply your foundation with more coverage than other tools, but for dry skin, it is best to use a makeup sponge to avoid the patchy, flaky, dry foundation.

A wet makeup sponge will make the foundation blend into the skin in a better way. Apply it on a thin layer until you get your desired coverage.

With dry skin, less is more.

Step 3: Concealer

For dry skin concealers, you will want to choose a liquid formula with hydrating ingredients.

A really good full-coverage concealer with a hydrating formula is the hydrating camo concealer from elf.

It’s really good and affordable.

Apply a concealer that is 1-2 tones lighter than your skin tone on the under eyes.

And for highlighting, use a concealer 2-3 tones lighter.

Use a makeup sponge and pat it over the areas of your face that need that extra coverage and blend until it is all blended out and perfectly mixed with your foundation.

I recommend applying your foundation first because that way, we will apply only the concealer necessary to cover what the foundation couldn’t cover.

Step 4. Eye makeup

NOTE: I would normally recommend setting the face makeup with powder before continuing with the rest of the steps, but for this dry skin routine, we will jump into eye makeup, and we will be back to our face makeup. I’ll tell you why below.

If you have dry skin, It is most likely that you do not have oily eyelids, but I have seen dry skin people struggling with oily eyelids, so if this is your case, do the next:

I highly recommend you use a good eye primer to prevent your eyeshadow from creasing.

The one that we recommend is the Original eyeshadow primer potion.

I also have a guide on the exact routine to do to finally STOP your eyeshadow from creasing here.

After that, you can jump right into your best eyeshadow shades, and for that, I have these three tutorials here for you to try:

Once you finish your eye makeup, it’s time for the next step.

5. The makeup sponge trick

makeup sponge hack for dry skin

Now that we finished our eye makeup and it’s time to do the rest of the face and continue with what we were doing, I’ll tell you more about my makeup sponge trick for dry skin.

We have had our foundation and concealer dry and settle into the skin for at least 10-15 minutes if not more, depending on how much time it took you to do the eye makeup.

What I do for dry skin is that before applying any powder, I take a makeup sponge and spray some hydrating face mist on it or a setting spray for dry skin and I tap the sponge gently all over the face.

The reason that I do this is to try to blend the products with the face mist to give the face a fresher look, and the makeup sponge helps to absorb that excess of product applied (if this was the case) to prevent the patchy or flaky-looking skin.

And after that, you can apply a setting powder to set everything and avoid the dry patches.

Wait what!? Did I say powder? Yes! Dry skin can also wear powders. And it is important to set the makeup and to make it long-lasting.

Well, if we use a hydrating primer, hydrating foundation, and hydrating concealer, and on top of that, we add a hydrating powder, it is most likely that the makeup won’t last long, so try not to do this unless you have a severe dry skin problem.

If you don’t, a regular lightweight translucent setting powder like this one here should do the work.

Avoid the baking technique and only apply a lightweight layer on areas like the under eyes and the t-zone.

Step 6. Blush

To apply blush for dry skin, my go-to is a cream blush.

This type of blush helps to make the application more natural-looking, and it also helps to avoid dry patches.

Are we mixing powders with creams? Yes! Sometimes it’s okay to mix and play with the different formulas and textures.

Patrick ta, a famous celebrity makeup artist from LA, show this technique in his masterclasses.

He applies cream blush on top of the powders and then more powders on top.

Apply your blush with a makeup sponge or with a blush brush.

And at last, we are ready to move on to the next step: Highlighting and contouring!

Step 6: Highlighting & Contouring

For dry skin, use cream bronzer or contour.

Apply it in the areas where needed depending on the face shape. I have a guide on how to apply your cream contour here if you want to check it out.

For highlighter you can opt for liquid or cream but try to stay away from powders. Those tend to accentuate dry skin even more.

Tips for keeping your makeup looking fresh all day long

makeup tips for dry skin

So here are some tips to help you out if you also have dry skin or maybe just for winter:

The best makeup for dry skin is one that does not dry out your face even more, and a product with a creamy consistency is key. Choose hydrating makeup formulas in general.

Stay away from dry and heavy powdery foundations and opt for liquid, satin and fresh-looking ones.

Applying a hydrating face mist or setting spray on a makeup sponge before setting your foundation is a great idea to help with dryness.

Use a hydrating face mist during the day to give your makeup a fresh look any time you want it.

If you experience dry patches, immediately remove your makeup and reapply your liquid foundation. Fixing dry patches in that moment, can lead to even worse patches.

Don’t forget about your lips! Use hydrating lip oils and balms like these ones here.

Tips for protecting dry skin in the winter

The best way to protect dry skin during the winter is by investing in good quality products with nourishing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and shea butter.

These will help fortify your skin’s natural barrier and protect it from harsh weather conditions.

Also, wearing facial oils like rosehip oil like this one here after your skincare routine is really helpful as well.

Final thoughts on the best makeup for dry skin

Dry skin can be a real challenge when it comes to makeup. The wrong products or techniques can make dry patches even more apparent.

In this article, we have shared some tips on how to apply makeup if you have dry skin.

We suggest using cream-based products as they will help to avoid dry patches and give your makeup a more natural look.

Additionally, we advise avoiding powders where possible as they often accentuate dryness. Lastly, we recommend using hydrating face mists throughout the day to keep your makeup looking fresh all day long!

Let me know in the comment section below if you have try any of these hacks before and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more tips and get instant access to our free makeup guide for beginners!

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