Without the right makeup techniques, dry skin can look dull and uneven. But dry skin doesn’t have to compromise your complexion. From start to finish, here are some important dos and don’ts to consider when creating a cosmetic routine that addresses dry skin and infuses it with the right moisturizing ingredients.
Dealing with dry skin
Dry skin varies from person to person in the following ways:
- Triggers: Dry skin has many triggers ranging from weather and air conditioning to medications and detergents.
- Duration: Some individuals may experience dry skin only temporarily while for others it’s a chronic condition.
- Symptoms: While the cause or severity of dry skin varies considerably among individuals, Mayo Clinic identifies several common symptoms including redness, flaking and fine lines.
Step 1: Pre-makeup prep
- Do: Start with a clean, hydrated face. When dry skin is a concern, moisturizing should be the first step of your makeup routine. For this, you have two options: a face moisturizer or a makeup primer. Both add moisture, helping to heal dry skin, and let makeup last longer.
After applying your favorite face lotion or primer, Susan Cressy, author of Beauty Fact File, advises waiting five minutes to allow the moisturizer to penetrate the skin. Lotion left on the surface can create a blotchy look.
If you’d like to try using a primer, consider Too Faced Primed & Poreless. This pre-makeup primer temporarily fills in and smoothes imperfections in the skin, allowing foundation to cling to your complexion, creating a smooth and airbrushed look.
- Don’t: Use body lotion on your face. When it comes to moisturizers, make sure you choose one that’s specially formulated for the face. Body lotions may have specific ingredients that are healthy for the body, but can dry out or irritate the more sensitive skin on the face.
For the face, WebMD recommends "nonclogging" oils including avocado oil, mineral oil, primrose oil or almond oil. So before you apply foundation, slather on a face-friendly moisturizer like Kinerase Ultimate Day Moisturizer Intro Size. Infused with sweet almond oil, this hydrator helps dry skin maintain moisture.
Step 2: Concealer
- Do: Use a moisturizing concealer. Concealer is essential for masking the symptoms of dry skin, including redness and uneven pigmentation. When choosing your concealer, look for moisturizing formulas like CoverBlend Multi Function Concealer-SPF 15 - Beige. This multitasking concealer contains a complex of polyhydroxy acid and gluconolactone to even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Also, don’t forget to moisturize before applying your concealer. Julyne Derrick of About Beauty advises against applying concealer to dry skin as it can settle into fine lines.
- Don’t: Apply concealer last. Be sure to apply concealer before foundation. Derrick points out that applying concealer first can help reduce the amount of foundation you need to apply. Often, a tinted moisturizer and a bit of concealer may be all you need for flawless application. MD Skincare All-In-One Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 combines a sun-protective moisturizer with a dose of color to promote a healthy, even complexion.
Step 3: Foundation
- Do: Reconsider powder. If your skin is severely dry or flaking, skip the powder foundation. Not only will powder further dry out the skin, but it can cause the skin to look dull and tired, rather than fresh and matte. Plus, powder settles into lines and wrinkles, accentuating them.
If, however, your skin is dry to normal, and you’d like to set foundation with powder, opt for one that features hydrating ingredients, such as Stila Illuminating Powder Foundation .
- Don’t: Choose the wrong foundation for your skin type. Foundations are often specialized for skin type, especially dry. Check the label for words like "moisturizing" or "hydrating." While those with combination skin can consider a cream-to-powder base, drier skin usually requires a thicker, creamier foundation such as Prevage Day Ultra Protection Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 30 by Elizabeth Arden . This moisturizing foundation features antioxidants, broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen and essential hydrating ingredients.
Step 4: Eyes
- Do: Consider cream shadows. Dry skin and fine lines often go together, especially around the eyes. Unfortunately, powder eye shadows can settle into lines and accentuate even tiny wrinkles. Your best bet is a cream eye shadow like Colorescience Optical Illusions Colore Pen - Softer Shade of Pale. This advanced eye color uses innovative light pigments to reflect and refract light, leaving the eyes looking beautifully bright and smooth.
- Don’t: Use just any makeup remover. Use a makeup remover that’s specially designed for the delicate skin around the eyes. If you have dry skin, choose a product that’s formulated to ease dryness. June Jacobs Gentle Creamy Eye Make-Up Remover hydrates and nourishes the eye area, as it gently lifts away makeup and other impurities.
Step 5: Lips
- Do: Use a moisturizing lip balm. Lips are incredibly vulnerable to the elements including the sun, cold temperatures and wind. While lip balms are a great way to protect your pout from chapping and drying out, not all balms are created equal. Steven K. Grekin, D.O., professor of dermatology at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, tells WebMD, "Many ingredients can cause dryness and irritation, including eucalyptus, menthol, and camphor."
Avoid these ingredients and turn to a product that can offer moisturizing relief. Philosophy Kiss Me SPF 20 Lip Balm - Red is a highly emollient lip ointment that relieves dry, chapped lips while protecting them from the sun in one simple step. Infused with vitamin E, kiwi and almond oils to moisturize and condition, this luscious lip balm offers the perfect healthy shine to top off your look.
- Don’t: Overdo matte lipstick. While matte lipsticks are great for long-lasting color, Valerie Latona of Shape reports that matte lipsticks can dry out your lips. Latona recommends cutting back on these long-lasting lipsticks. If you’re hooked, alternate with hydrating lipsticks and add a layer of moisturizing lip balm underneath. Or try Illuminare All Day Mineral LipColor Bliss — a lip color that’s blended with intensified pigments to promote exceptional staying power, leaving lips highlighted and hydrated for up to four hours.
Step 6: Cheeks
- Do: Apply blush correctly. Dry-skinned women complain that it’s difficult to get an even application of color on cheeks. Helen Foster, author of The Beauty Book, explains that when blush is absorbed by dry skin, it "leaves dusty, blotchy pigmentation on the surface." For an even application, Melissa Matthews of Woman’s Day advises using your ring finger to gently dab color onto the apples of your cheeks. Then, blend the color into your cheekbones using small circular motions. Also, many experts recommend applying blush after foundation, lip and eye makeup.
- Don’t: Always choose powder blush. Powder blushes are a traditional form of cheek color. While powders are OK for some dry skin, those with extremely dry skin should consider creams. As Julyne Derrick of About Beauty points out, “Cream blush is particularly suited for dry skin because of its rich, moisturizing ingredients.” She adds that cheek stains are great for skin that’s normal or oily, but can irritate dry skin. For a gorgeous glow, try Illuminare Perfect Color Blush Florentine Fair — a multitasking blush that blends broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection with moisturizing ingredients.
Step 7: Makeup remover
- Do: Consider a moisturizing makeup remover. When it comes to removing makeup, many soaps and makeup removers are especially tough on dry skin. That’s why it’s key to find a gentle formula with hydrating capabilities. Pevonia Dry Skin Cleanser is designed for dry skin and features soft cleansers that gently lift away makeup and other impurities, while cucumber extract delivers a healthy dose of moisture deep within the pores.
- Don’t: Sleep with makeup on. No matter what skin type you have or how tired you are at the end of the night, avoid sleeping with your makeup on. Makeup left on overnight can clog pores, leading to acne, irritation and even infection. Instead, use a makeup remover and follow up with a nighttime moisturizer that’ll restore hydration to your skin as you sleep. SkinCeuticals Renew Overnight Normal to Dry Skin is infused with moisture-rich extracts of aloe, chamomile, evening primrose oil and comfrey.
Don’t let dry skin sideline your makeup routine. Begin by considering creams over powders, and look for ingredients that promote healthy hydration. And remember that not all dry complexions are created equal. You’ll find that some cosmetics will agree with your dry skin, while others only exacerbate dryness. As always, don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist or esthetician about creating a cosmetic collection that fits the needs of your unique skin type.
Sensible Beauty Solutions for Dry Skin: Top 5 Super-Hydrating Skincare Ingredients
Acne Treatment for Dry and Sensitive Skin
Skin Care Solutions for Every Season