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When you have dry skin, foundation can actually make your complexion look even more parched—but only if you’re doing it wrong. Applying foundation on top of dry patches or flaky spots can exacerbate that not-so-pretty texture. But the good news is, if you prep your skin properly and pick one of the best foundations for dry skin, you’ll actually look dewy and glowy.
First, know what to look for in a foundation if you have dry skin. Typically, it’s best to avoid heavy coverage and stick to sheer to medium coverage instead. A powder formula is not your friend if you have dry skin; opt for liquid and lightweight cream ones. For the extra hydration your skin craves, choose a water-based formula. Get even more perks with foundations that are infused with hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, which helps skin retain its natural moisture. The best foundations for dry skin prevent that dreaded cakey and flaky look, instead delivering moisture to keep your skin looking and feeling soft and smooth while you wear it.
The only thing more important than the foundation you choose is the skin care you use underneath it. Always apply a good moisturizer to serve as a hydrating base. A hydrating primer will also help keep moisture in while creating a smooth canvas for foundation. To quench your thirsty complexion and help it look its best, especially as cooler weather is settling in, these are the best foundations for dry skin.
1. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
Known for its gorgeous, glowing finish, this award-winner is one of the best foundations for dry skin. Light as a feather, the silky formula glides onto skin for medium, buildable coverage, yet offers enough to hide whatever you need to camouflage, including breakouts and scars. It’s made with the brand’s proprietary Micro–fil technology that does everything from sculpt and brighten while improving texture and blurring imperfections. The weightless hydrating fluid glides on seamlessly, delivering a silky texture and a flawless lit-from-within glow.
2. Ilia Beauty Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40
Skin care and foundation meet in this hybrid that delivers sun protection, nourishing ingredients and light coverage all in one. The lightweight tinted serum has a non-nano zinc oxide to guard skin from UVA, UVB, UVC and blue light damage. Hyaluronic acid hydrates, while plant-based squalane and niacinamide minimize fine lines and even out skin tone, respectively. One of the best foundations for dry skin, it creates a natural barrier to seal in moisture, plump up your complexion and leave a glow.
3. NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation
BEST LONG WEAR
A foundation with the words “luminous” or “glow” in the name means it has what dry skin craves—a satin finish that won’t dry out skin even more. This long-wear formula withstands water and sweat and is spiked with antioxidants to protect skin from environmental damage, including vitamins A, C and E. There’s also scarlet spiderling root extract to brighten and minimize discoloration and dark spots with continued use, which is part of its Tone Correcting Technology.
4. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint
Hyaluronic acid is the hydrating hero of the skin-care world and this foundation is chock-full of the stuff. The ingredient can hold 1,000 times its weight in water, and it helps your skin attract and retain water. It’s just as effective in this lightweight foundation that keeps bringing on the moisture with its breathable gel-based formula. Its plumping and hydrating power lasts for up to 24 hours while evening out your complexion and giving off that coveted “your skin but better” look.
5. Beauty Bakerie InstaBake Aqua Glass Foundation
BEST FOR GLASS SKIN EFFECT
The glass skin trend is still going strong because who doesn’t want glowing, even, deeply moisturized skin? Bakerie’s InstaBake Aqua Glass Foundation will help you achieve the look. The vegan formula provides full coverage, making pores, breakouts and scars vanish into thin air. Though its coverage is heavy, it goes on light and blends like a dream, leaving a smooth, glassy finish.
6. Perricone MD No Makeup Foundation Serum
BEST NO MAKEUP-MAKEUP
When you only need a hint of coverage, this is the best foundation for dry skin. The foundation serum improves skin health over time and has complexion-boosting ingredients like neuropeptides to minimize the appearance of wrinkles, daisy flower extract to even tone and minimize dark spots, and antioxidant bisabolol to brighten. Since it contains dimethicone, too, that helps lock in moisture, a super perk for dry skin. As an added bonus, SPF 20 keeps skin safe from the sun.
7. IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream With SPF 50
BEST CC CREAM
A CC cream is a great foundation formula for dry skin, since they tend to be full of nourishing ingredients. This perennial best-seller created by It founder Jamie Kern Lima has plenty, starting with hyaluronic acid to maximize moisture and plump up fine lines and wrinkles. There’s also collagen for an elasticity boost and smoother skin, as well as peptides to firm. The full-coverage formula conceals just as much as traditional foundations and leaves a flawless finish. Physical mineral sunscreen provides SPF 50 protection.
8. Bareminerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick
Nothing beats a stick formula for on-the-go ease! Bareminerals lives up to this product’s name and really does rescue your complexion with its ultra hydrating formula, which relies on the power moisturizing duo of red algae and mineral-packed volcanic seawater. The water-based formula contains over 30 percent enhanced mineral water, promises non-chemical SPF 25 protection and delivers medium coverage that looks and feels natural.
9. Revlon PhotoReady Candid Glow Moisture Glow Foundation
When the title has “glow” twice and “moisture” you know you’ve found one of the best foundations for dry skin. Incredibly creamy yet lightweight, it’s infused with prickly pear oil for moisture and vitamin E to fend off environmental aggressors, including pollution and blue light damage. Even the thirstiest complexions will be delightfully dewy.
10. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector Broad Spectrum SPF 30
BEST TINTED MOISTURIZER
If your skin feels drier than the Sahara, then opt for a tinted moisturizer in lieu of a traditional foundation. Laura Mercier’s version is beloved for its sheer coverage, luminous finish and hydrating abilities. The formula was updated last year to bring the SPF from 20 to 30, expand the shade offerings and infuse more skin-loving ingredients for moisture, including tamarind seed extract, macadamia oil and kukui seed oil.