If you’ve got dry skin, you’ll know that finding the right foundation is like looking for a needle in a haystack: many formulas cling onto rough patches or turn cakey around fine lines.
I know – it sucks. But before you chuck away your bottles in rage, hear me out: there are a whole host of dewy bases on your doorstep that are formulated with dry skin in mind (for real!). Today's superior options deliver that coveted ‘my-skin-but-better’ finish and will come with an uber-lightweight consistency, making them an ideal option for day-to-day wear.
That’s not all: if your skin is truly in a state of stress, these nourishing formulas will help to ease irritable dry patches and ensure that by lunchtime your foundation hasn’t flaked off. Yep, you’ll never have to cross paths with a crumbling complexion again.
So, what should you look out for? You’ll know a foundation is on your side if it has an oil or water base (equally, if it’s labelled as a serum). These formulas won’t cause your skin to ‘cake’ but will radiate a dewy, everyday glow. Pay attention to the ingredients list: the good ones will contain hyaluronic acid, glycerin and vitamin E to boost hydration. Just steer clear of matte formulas: they can make the skin look lifeless and exacerbate the appearance of pores.
How should you prep dry skin before applying foundation?
Before you start shopping, it's important to note that prepping your base is everything. 'The main reason why foundation goes patchy is the remnants of your cleanser,' says make-up artist Sam Chapman. You’re best off using a gentle exfoliator or toner to remove any build-up and then follow with a moisturising primer: this will help create a smooth base to apply your foundation, lock in moisture and keep pesky dry flakes at bay.
To whittle down the hoards of options available, head straight to these editor-approved formulas and scrap the guesswork in finding a foundation for dry skin.
The best foundation for dry skin...
The 12 best foundations for dry skin
1. The Ordinary Serum Foundation
This foundation is anything but ordinary. The feather light formula uses ‘spreadability technology’, which means the pigments constantly repel each other like a magnet so that they are unable to clump together and gather increases or dry patches. A tiny but goes a long way and you’ll need to a decent brush to blend it in.
However, the elbow grease is worth the wait. Skin is left looking supernatural, you won’t believe your eyes. The glistening factor is so epic it practically renders your highlighter useless. And no, that isn’t a typo. It really does cost less than your lunch.
2. UOMA Beauty Say What! Weightless Soft Matte Hydrating Foundation
Bringing a new dialect to the foundation game, this ‘Afropolitan’ brand categorises you by your ‘SkinKin’.
Divided into six different tribes, each has its own unique formula that’s been created specifically for what that skin types needs. For example, their ‘Fair Lady’ formulation (fair skin) contains Anglianco grape – a source of hyaluronic acid because fair skin is most dryness as it contains less melanin. As for the finish? A velvety and genuinely flawless matte finish.
3. Estee Lauder Double Wear Nude Water Fresh SPF30
This double wear foundation has been stripped back and reworked for a ‘your skin but better’ finish meaning it’s a brill option for those with drier complexions.
The formula stays true to the Double Wear promise, meaning it stays put no matter how manic your day is, but the real difference is the infusion of water and mineral gels which thins it out for a more comfortable wear. One coat delivers a healthy hit of colour while two amps up the coverage for those who want even out skin tone.
4. NARS Light Reflecting Foundation
Dewy, radiant foundations have certainly been a driving force for many brands in recent years – and, once again, NARS has nailed it with this hydrating base. The lightweight formula effortlessly blends into the skin, and leaves a satin, blurring finish in its wake. Ask any beauty editor their opinion and the response will be universal: it’s a winner.
5. Monica Blunder Beauty Blunder Cover
You can make this hydrating base anything you’d like it to be: it perfectly sits in between a foundation, concealer, and if you pick a darker shade, a creamy contour too. Apply a small amount and keep the finish sheer with one all-over layer, or dial it up around your eyes or over any blemishes for some concealer-like coverage. The creamy formula is super blendable and doesn’t settle into fine lines – which really helps to deliver that bare-skin effect. Add it to your everyday makeup bag and you won’t regret it.
6. Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Foundation
Charlotte Tilbury boasts a rather impressive wardrobe of flawless foundations, but this one is by far the best for a dewy, radiant base. You can use a small amount of product to create a super natural, glowy finish, or amp it up to build the coverage. Either way, the overall result leaves any dry zones feeling hydrated – thanks to hyaluronic acid – and your complexion looking like you’re just naturally blessed with insane skin.
7. L'Oreal Paris Age Perfect BB Cream SPF 50
When we find a brilliant pocket-friendly foundation (well, technically this is a BB cream), it’s our duty to shout it from the rooftops. Compared to some £££ foundations we’ve tried, you would never guess this is something you could buy with change from a twenty. It’s enriched with glycerin – a powerful humectant – which draws moisture from the environment directly to the skin, imparting a hydrated, dewy finish.
8. It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare
This long-time favourite CC cream may have a lightweight consistency, but the coverage is high enough to conceal any redness or blemishes that greet you in the morning. Formulated with skin-kind ingredients – like hyaluronic acid, vitamins and SPF 50 – it marries makeup and skincare benefits together.
9. Beauty Pie Everyday Great Skin Foundation
Long-lasting with high tech coverage, this creamy formula glides onto skin and buffs in seamlessly. It's oil-free so is great for acne-prone skin that is also dry. If you need an extra hit of moisture it blends brilliantly with a fuss-free moisturiser.
10. Milk Makeup Flex Foundation Stick
Stick foundations may have been associated with cakey complexions, but today's formulas are very capable of leaving a healthy, radiant sheen. Take this one: the medium coverage is pretty perfect for unifying your complexion, yet it’s still delicate enough to let freckles peep through. Plus, it lasts well on lunchtime walks and even in a light gym sesh.
11. Rose Inc Skin Enhance Luminous Tinted Serum
Thanks to a new generation of serum formulas, the gap is shrinking between makeup and skincare. So, if you want your foundation to benefit your skin as well as deliver a stunning sheen, Rose Inc’s Luminous Tinted Serum is one we love. It’s infused with squalane and sodium hyaluronate to hydrate and plump the skin, all the while delivering the most luminous second-skin finish. Just get prepared for the influx of complexion compliments.
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