Dry skin can be incredibly annoying to deal with, especially if you ever want to wear makeup. Not sure if you have dry skin? Just try putting any random foundation on your dry skin, without any prepping (such as with primer) and see how it looks. If you have very dry skin like me, chances are it won't look so great. The makeup clings to dry patches of skin and looks patchy, especially if it's a foundation designed for normal or (god forbid) oily skin.
When I first became interested in makeup started to hunt for a full-coverage base, it took a lot of trial and error to find a foundation that looked good on my dry skin. I tried foundations from all the big drugstore brands, and went to Sephora multiple times for foundation samples. I avoided foundations that had names with words like "matte" or "oil/shine control" and instead looked for descriptors like "dewy," "luminous," and "hydrating." Even then, I came across a lot of duds.
However, I did eventually find three foundations that I really like and can rely upon despite my dry skin. I'm sure there's more out there that I haven't tried yet, but these are the ones that have served me well in my experience.
Here's swatches of each foundation, in the same order as above:
As you can see, the L'Oreal (far left) has yellow undertones while the Japonesque (far right) has more of a pink undertone. The MAC (in the middle) leans a little orange, but it's not too dark on my skin because as you'll see, it's quite sheer.
I'll be showing what each foundation looks like on my face (without primers, moisturizer or concealer), so first, here's a before shot of my skin without any makeup:
Now let's talk pros and cons of each foundation!
If You're On A Budget: L'Oreal True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup
Personally, foundation is one beauty product that I don't mind spending extra on because I rely on it so much to make my skin look good several times a week. However, I know a lot of you might be on a budget. I've tried a lot of awful drugstore foundations, but I've also tried some pretty bad high-end foundations. So don't worry if you have picky skin but you're on a budget: It's possible to find a decent foundation at any price.
This L'Oreal True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup is budget-friendly but still holds its own against more expensive options for several reasons. I love the pump dispenser, which makes it easy and sanitary to get the product out, and I love that it comes in 15 shades as well as skin tones (warm, cool, and neutral) so that you can find the perfect match. The consistency is very watery (this foundation is 40 percent water) which leads to medium coverage and a dewy finish.
For the best results, I strongly suggest moisturizing well beforehand and perhaps using a hydrating primer. You may also need concealer for any spots that the foundation misses, since it's not meant to be completely full coverage. Finally, use a brush or sponge to apply, not your fingers.
If You Have The Driest Skin But Need Little Coverage: MAC Studio Face And Body Foundation
This foundation, MAC Face And Body Foundation, has the lowest coverage of the three, and it's also the most hydrating. I would say it's very similar to a BB cream or tinted moisturizer. It comes in 13 shades; I wear shade N1. It's very easy to apply (you can use your fingers or a brush, although I pretty much always stick with this brush) and you don't really need to prep first. I can put this foundation on even if I forgot to moisturize that week because it's so light and hydrating.
It does have low coverage so if you have redness like me you may want to use a redness-reducing primer first. If you have acne or under-eye circles, you'll have to add concealer (this is my favorite concealer for dry skin). Plus, since it's so moisturizing, I often add a touch of powder to my T-zone when I wear this foundation, which is almost refreshing for someone with skin as dry as mine.
If You Want Full Coverage: Japonesque Color Luminous Foundation
Finally, this is my HG foundation: Japonesque Color Luminous Foundation. I tried it on a whim in Ulta one day, and it glided onto my dry skin flawlessly with no prep whatsoever. Sold!
It comes with a handy pump dispenser and is available in 10 shades; I wear shade #2. This is a full coverage foundation, but unlike most heavy foundations I've tried, it doesn't look caked-on or unnatural. It manages to cover my redness and other minor issues completely while imparting a luminous — but not greasy — glow all over my face. I apply this with this brush all the way past my jawline to my neck for the best effect. I rarely bother to use a primer or concealer with this foundation. If my skin is feeling really dry (especially in the winter) I make sure to moisturize first, but otherwise this foundation is wonderfully idiot-proof.
Sure, it's the most expensive foundation on this list, but personally I feel it's worth it, especially since one bottle lasts ages.
Here's a full-face photo of the Japonesque foundation in action:
See what I mean about that luminous glow?
Hopefully this article will save those of you with dry skin from the trial and error that I had to go through with foundation. Just remember that the best foundation in the world won't look good if you neglect your skin, so don't forget to moisturize!
Images: Kelly Dougher