Diary / Beauty / Apr 3, 2023
What Foundation is Best for Dry Skin?
Written by: Piper Gray
Photography by: Ben Ritter & Jon Paterson
What Foundation Is Best for Dry Skin?
If you have dry skin, sometimes it doesn’t matter how carefully you apply your makeup in the morning. A few hours later, you may notice dry patches (that you’ve already attempted to cover) and that your foundation has turned cakey. Or, if your face is incredibly dry, fine lines may even appear more pronounced as your skin tries to soak up the moisture from your foundation, leaving your face looking like you skipped applying makeup in some spots.
But with the right ingredients, skincare routine, and application methods, dry skin doesn’t have to derail your makeup looks.
What Ingredients Support Hydrated Skin?
Chances are, if you have suffered from dry skin, you know that you need to look for certain formulas and ingredients to best support your concerns. And it can be tempting to overhaul your routines and start incorporating all new ingredients at once—but start slow and gentle. (Dry skin is likely sensitive and irritated skin, too.) And if this has been a persistent issue, consult with a dermatologist to help you address your dry skin.
One of our favorite ingredients for dry skin is jojoba oil. When applied, it forms an occlusive layer—think: plastic wrap for your skin—that helps to keep moisture from evaporating, keeping your skin smooth and hydrated. It’s also a great ingredient for those with oily skin as it can help balance your skin by helping with sebum production. (Simply put, it mimics the same sebum composition your skin already produces.)
To experience its benefits firsthand, What The Foundation is a good place to start. A tinted moisture balm meets traditional foundation, WTF blends seamlessly into the skin—leaving you with an even, fresh complexion that looks like your skin on its best day. Add Miracle Balm on top for a wash of soft-focus moisture to enhance the skin. Depending on the shade, Miracle Balm can be used to tint, bronze, highlight, or as a blush.
Sunflower Seed Oil
A well-tolerated oil, sunflower seed oil is rich in vitamins and fatty acids, like linoleic and oleic acids, that help skin retain moisture.
Linoleic acid benefits the skin’s barrier, helping prevent moisture loss and keeping the skin hydrated. It is also great at soothing inflammation. Oleic acid has antioxidant properties that can help combat the effects of environmental stressors. Just like linoleic acid, oleic acid has moisturizing properties that nourish the skin, making it softer and smoother in appearance.
Packed with sunflower seed oil, our Cleansing Stick dissolves impurities and gently removes makeup. Follow up with Miracle Cream, also made with the powerhouse ingredient, for an intense dose of moisture, and for an extra-fortifying layer, Hippie Stick is a balm that can be used on your face, body, even hair, that acts as a barrier against additional stressors. (And yes, it’s also made with sunflower seed oil.)
Already found in the body, hyaluronic acid attracts water which helps keep your joints and eyes lubricated and your skin looking plump and moisturized. For this reason, you’ll see hyaluronic acid as a moisturizing agent in many cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
When you have dry skin, fine lines appear more easily so incorporating products with hyaluronic acid may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, too.
How Do I Create a Hydrating Skincare Routine?
A skincare routine with hydrating ingredients will help keep your skin moisturized and healthy, which, in turn, helps your foundation go on more smoothly. It’s important to be consistent as well; sticking with what works repeatedly is the best way to maximize results.
When you wash your face, make sure the water is not too hot. While you’ll want it warm, temperatures that are too high can strip your skin of its natural essential oils and exacerbate your skin's dryness. There’s a misconception that the hotter the water, the cleaner your skin. Not true. Warm water will still be effective. Using the Cleansing Stick will also ensure that your face gets clean, but without stripping it of your skin's necessary oils. This solid oil cleanser dissolves makeup and removes impurities, leaving your face clean and smooth.
The next step is probably the most important: moisturizer. We recommend moisturizing in the morning with the fast-absorbing Light Moisture Cream and at night with the Miracle Cream for something more intense and nourishing. If you have stubborn dry patches, our Oil Stick is great as a spot treatment, or you can use it all over to add a radiant glow.
How Do I Choose the Right Foundation for Dry Skin?
When it comes to foundation for dry skin, look for lightweight and hydrating formulas with a natural or dewy finish. Avoid foundations that are too heavy or have a matte finish, as they can emphasize dry patches and may make your skin look even drier and duller.
Those with dry skin can still worry about breakouts so it may be tempting to choose an oil-free foundation to avoid blemishes. But we recommended trying a foundation with skin-nourishing oils like jojoba oil, hyaluronic acid, or glycerin to help keep your skin hydrated throughout the day.
What The Foundation is easy to apply and evens your skin tone without being too heavy, thanks to the jojoba oil and sodium hyaluronate. (Use the shade finder quiz to select your perfect tint.). And for summertime, pick a darker pigment since you’re likely spending more time in the sun (even if you’re good about applying your sunscreen: always pick a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher). Similarly, a lighter shade will also come in handy for the winter months when there’s less sunlight. (Again, don’t forget the sunscreen.) Mix both when you’re in between seasons and need to either go darker or lighter, depending on the time of year.
How Do I Apply Foundation to Dry Skin?
When your skin is extremely dry, it tends to soak up the foundation almost immediately—and not in a good way. Prepping your skin with moisturizer is going to be the most valuable move when it comes to your makeup routine. We recommend applying your moisturizer a few minutes before doing your makeup so your skin has time to absorb it.
Once your skin has been thoroughly moisturized, you can start your makeup routine. Apply your foundation with a damp sponge or brush. If you need full coverage, build the coverage up gradually from light coverage to medium coverage and beyond. Start with a small amount of foundation, and apply it in thin layers. Make sure you blend, blend, and blend some more, as this will prevent your foundation from looking caked on.
This ensures that your long-wear foundation settles seamlessly into your skin, and that your skin is not trying to retain moisture from your makeup. That means less flakes and pronounced lines.
No More Dry Skin
You don’t have to overload your bathroom counter and makeup bag with countless products promising to hydrate your dry skin. All you need are powerful and effective ingredients that work.