Diary / Beauty / May 8, 2023
How to Prepare Dry Skin for Putting On Makeup
Written by: Piper Gray
Photography by: Ben Ritter & Jon Paterson
If you experience dry skin, you are likely familiar with a few issues when it comes to your makeup. Thanks to your skin type, flakiness and peeling can contribute to patchy areas once you’ve applied foundation, concealer, or powder—or your makeup doesn’t always blend so seamlessly, making fine lines appear more pronounced. But with the right preparation and products, dry skin does not have to sabotage your look. There are a few easy steps you can take to prepare dry skin for makeup, and we’ll go over some tips for choosing the right makeup products to enhance your natural features.
How Do I Prep Dry Skin?
First things first, make sure your skin is cleansed and moisturized. When you deal with dry skin, you also may experience some discomfort and sensitivity as well, so it’s important to make sure that the ingredients in any cleansers and moisturizers are formulated for dry skin.
Even if your skin is feeling parched and excess oiliness isn’t a concern, clearing away any dirt or leftover makeup should be the first step in your skincare routine. When choosing a cleanser, look for a gentle one that will not strip your skin of its natural oils and remember to use lukewarm water, as hot water can cause additional dryness, sensitivity, and discomfort.
A good ingredient to look for is sunflower seed oil; it’s rich in vitamins and helps maintain the skin barrier and support healthy hydration. Our Cleansing Stick features this powerhouse ingredient along with additional vitamin-rich plant-based oils, effectively removing makeup and other impurities from your skin. Your skin will be clean without the tightness that harsher cleansers can create. While our cleanser is great for all skin types, it is especially beneficial for those who experience dry skin.
While it may seem like exfoliation would make your dry skin even more parched, removing dead skin cells from your skin can help eradicate any patchiness and support a smooth appearance. If your face hasn’t been cleared of dead skin cells, your moisturizer won’t be able to effectively penetrate your skin. On the same note, once you’ve taken care of the flakiness, your makeup will also sit better on your skin.
Don’t overdo it though. Keep your touch light if you are manually exfoliating: use a damp washcloth, with or without a product (again, look for one specially formulated for dry skin), applying it with gentle circular motions. You can also use chemical exfoliators, which rely on acids to lift away dead skin cells, but consult with a dermatologist first.
No matter your method, you’ll want to start slowly and gradually increase the amount you exfoliate. Once a week is a good place to start; this will prevent your skin from becoming too inflamed, which can exacerbate dryness.
With dry skin, moisturizing will be the most important step of your skincare routine. It’s also crucial to pay special attention to ingredients; find something that is formulated for dry, sensitive skin.
Timing also matters when it comes to moisturizing. Many ingredients, like hyaluronic acid for example, work best when your skin is still slightly moist—they bind to water to work properly—so don’t fully dry your face after cleansing; simply pat it dry.
If your face is feeling particularly dry or tight, our Miracle Cream will refresh and plump your skin with moisture. It’s packed with shea butter, a rich source of vitamin E, and will keep water from evaporating from your skin. Use it daily to give your skin ultimate hydration and at night as a mask to make your skin look smooth, supple, and ready for makeup when you wake up.
Another product with sunflower seed oil and shea butter, our Hippie Stick will give your skin extra comfort from environmental stressors like winter weather and even irritation from a long day in the sun. It’s designed to be used on-the-go so throw one in your bag, or keep it at your desk.
To boost ultra-dry skin, our Oil Stick is another quick way to instant moisture. This stick is loaded with oils like jojoba, sunflower, rosehip, and apricot. It’s ultra-moisturizing but non-greasy, so your skin will feel smooth and nourished. Perfect for those no-makeup days when you want to boost your skin’s hydration and give yourself a healthy but slight glow.
What Makeup Is Best for Dry Skin?
Once your skin is cleansed and moisturized, you’re ready to apply your makeup. (Remember to give it a moment to fully absorb.) Just like with skincare products, choosing the right formulation of makeup for your dry skin is important. Look for hydrating oils and ingredients that attract and lock in moisture; a cream, balm, and liquid formulation will be your best bet.
When it comes to foundations, creamy formulas will be the best for dry skin. They will blend in more easily, refreshing your skin with adequate coverage. Avoid foundations that are too heavy, though; they may draw attention to stubborn dry areas.
Our What The Foundation is the perfect combination of moisturizer and traditional foundation. It offers buildable coverage that will give your complexion an even and fresh look. Ingredient-wise, it’s a smart choice as it contains sodium hyaluronate, a humectant (read: water-attracting substance) which draws on the moisture already present in your skin. Jojoba oil is another valuable addition, as it’s rich in antioxidants and great at locking in moisture.
With dry skin, your technique of applying your foundation is important. Use a gentle, light hand to start. You can always add more foundation, and it’s easier to build up your coverage than to scale back. From there, blend, blend, blend. You’ll know you’re all set once you aren’t able to tell where you’ve applied your foundation.
Dry skin can also mean dull skin, so adding color to your cheeks will liven up your complexion.
Our Miracle Balm will be your go-to for a soft wash of moisture and radiance. Use alone, or easily layer over your foundation. Or if you’d prefer a powder formula, dial up the impact with The Best Blush, and when you’re looking for a more noticeable color, our Lip and Cheek Stick is a creamy formula that easily glides onto your skin and builds to your preferred shade. The Bronzer is silky, light, and lends warmth and dimension to your cheeks (or elsewhere).
Looking for something even more subtle? If your skin is feeling especially lifeless, our Shimmer Face Oil will give you a luminous glow without any greasiness, thanks to its jojoba oil.
It’s always a good idea to apply primer to your eyelids before your first layer of color, and it’s especially smart if you’re suffering from dryness in that area. Our Light Moisture Cream delicately cushions your lids so the color won’t slip and settle elsewhere.
To minimize signs of fine lines around your eyes magnified by dry skin, you can also use the cream on your undereye area as a barrier between any eyeshadow powders that may settle into creases when they migrate below your lashes.
If you fear adding powder to your face because of dryness, don’t—and don’t skip the eyeshadow. Even a subtle addition of color adds dimension and draws attention to your eyes—and away from any dull patches or signs of irritation on your face. Learn which tools and colors you should keep on hand (in addition to The Mascara, of course) to create a simple eyeshadow look.
The Bottom Line
Preparing dry skin for makeup can take some extra time and attention, but with the right products, you can achieve the flawless look you want.
Regardless of your makeup desires—if you want to stay natural or if you prefer to heighten your look for a night out—it’s most important to ensure that your skin stays hydrated and nourished. From there, using the right products will enhance your natural features and alleviate your dry skin concerns.