As long as you’re prepping your skin correctly and wearing the right products, keeping your dry skin comfortable underneath a layer of foundation shouldn’t be all that difficult. First up: The best foundations for dry skin, which usually come in the form of liquids and creams, and are always infused with some sort of hydrating ingredient, such as hyaluronic acid or squalane.
Just as important as which type of foundation you use is how you prep your skin. If you apply foundation right after cleansing your face without using any moisturizer or primer first, your makeup is probably going to look patchy and flaky. So before putting on foundation (or concealer, or any sort of base makeup), start out with a hydrating serum, then, put your moisturizer on top, followed by sunscreen. (You can also choose to use a two-in-one SPF moisturizer, of course.) Primer is optional, but if you notice you have very dry, uneven skin, it may be beneficial to apply a thin layer before moving onto the foundation step. Just be sure to give your skin time to settle between each layer of product (particularly after putting on sunscreen), otherwise your makeup may pill.
Choosing the right foundation is essential, of course — so scroll on to shop six of the best foundations to keep your skin looking and feeling great all day long.
1. Best Foundation Under $5
For less than $5, you can’t do much better than Maybelline’s cult-classic Fit Me foundation. There are actually two foundations in the line — Matte + Poreless (ideal for oily skin) and Dewy + Smooth, which is a much better choice for dryness-prone skin. It’s formulated with vitamin E and glycerin to give it a moisturizing feel, and — just like its name says — leaves behind a smooth, dewy finish with a hint of luminosity. This has SPF 18 for an added boost of sun protection, but you’ll still need to layer on a proper sunscreen first to get the daily derm-recommended dose of SPF 35 or more.
- Available shades: 24
2. Best Foundation Serum
This foundation from L’Oreal feels more like a serum than makeup — it has a light, silky feel and is made with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump up your skin. It’ll never look patchy or cakey, and it blends into skin seamlessly with just your fingers. Better yet? This has an SPF of 50, so it may cover all of your a.m. skin care bases in just one step.
- Available shades: 30
3. Another Great, Affordable Foundation You May Like
e.l.f.’s popular Flawless Finish Foundation is another great choice for people with dry skin, though it should work nicely on any skin type, thanks to its lightweight, oil-free formula. Designed to produce a semi-matte finish, it’s rich in glycerin to provide grease-free moisture to thirsty skin, while silicones like dimethicone contribute to its super-smooth feel. Note that while there are only 20 shades listed on this page, you can find more here.
- Available shades: 39
4. Best Liquid Foundation For Glowy, Luminous Skin
Moving onto the prestige beauty products, first up is Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation. This lightweight liquid foundation gives your skin a luminous, medium-coverage finish (hence its name), but it doesn’t feel heavy or look cakey. It’s fluid and easy to blend, but once you set it with powder or spray, the water-resistant formula will not budge. Another nice feature? It comes in 50 shades classified by undertone, which makes it easy to find your perfect match online.
- Available shades: 50
5. Best Liquid Foundation With Antioxidants
Exa Beauty’s High Fidelity Foundation is formulated with all sorts of beneficial nutrients, which makes it feel like a makeup/skin care hybrid. To soothe and hydrate dry skin, the formula uses hyaluronic acid and maqui berry, while antioxidants — courtesy of microalgae and other botanically derived extracts — help shield your skin from damage-causing environmental aggressors. This has a really nourishing feel, thanks to ingredients like aloe juice, glycerin, and several plant-derived oils, and it leaves behind a satin-y finish. Slather on a light layer to subtly even out your complexion, or build it up for even more coverage.
- Available shades: 22
6. Best Foundation Compact
If you prefer a foundation compact that you can easily apply on the go, you’ll love Cover FX’s Total Cover Cream Foundation. The formula is enriched with antioxidants to help keep your skin protected from environmental damage, while squalane and glycerin give it a smooth, moisturizing feel. It also contains something called phytosphingosine, a naturally occurring lipid that can help soothe redness and promote generally stronger skin. Though this creamy foundation will work beautifully on dry skin that’s been primed and moisturized, it’s also a solid choice for oily or combination skin, as the formula is oil-free.
- Available shades:
Get your dry skin perfectly prepped for foundation with First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Hyaluronic Hydrating Primer. It creates a smooth, plump, even base (while simultaneously providing long-term hydrating benefits) so your makeup glides on without pilling or developing flaky patches. In addition to hydrating hyaluronic acid, it also contains soothing colloidal oatmeal (great for dry skin that’s prone to redness or irritation) and micro-pearls to give your face a lit-from-within glow.