7 Best Foundations for Dry Skin That Give You a Hydrated, Healthy Glow
From budget-friendly options to splurge-worthy products, makeup artists and reviewers reveal the best foundation for dry skin.
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Picking the best foundation may be the most important part of your makeup routine, and skin type matters a lot more than you might realize. The best foundation for dry skin is going to be different from those that are suited for people with oily or combination skin. The goal is to avoid foundations that settle into fine lines, highlight flakes and make your pores look more prominent.
Go with a formula that counters parched skin and you can say so long to cakey, flaky skin. We found the best foundations for dry skin that boost hydration while still giving you luminous coverage. Keep in mind: A flawless face starts with the perfect skincare routine, so slather on the best face wash, moisturizers and eye creams before applying foundation to put your best face forward.
Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer
Use this two-in-one Clinique pick as a foundation or a concealer—or both! The wand makes it easy to dab underneath your eyes or onto dark spots. Or swipe it across your face and blend with a sponge for all-over coverage. Glycerin and sodium hyaluronate give this formula its creaminess.
It won’t just even out skin tone and hide blemishes—it will do all that while packing in the moisture. Still not sold? This best foundation for dry skin has more than 1,000 five-star reviews on Nordstrom. And FYI: Here’s exactly where it goes in your skincare routine order.
- Excellent selection of shades
- Full coverage, not suitable for those who want something light
Psst! Learn about the favorite makeup brand of America.
Best on Amazon
Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation
You may be surprised to learn that the best foundation for dry skin is an affordable drugstore beauty pick, conveniently available on Amazon. Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation provides medium coverage plus SPF protection. There are 8,000+ five-star reviews on Amazon that praise its coverage and boast about its ability to last all day.
One happy customer, Rebecca Borron says she has tried every foundation out there (including the expensive ones), and always returns to this. “I’m not sure what witchcraft was used when they came up with this miracle in a bottle. I’m pretty sure this stuff is the only reason I was able to land a husband,” she says. “If you’re sitting here trying to find a foundation that will boost your confidence and make you feel amazing, STOP. Put this in your cart now.”
- Drugstore pick conveniently available on Amazon
- Mess-free pump
- Oil- and fragrance-free
- Some reviewers say the formula has a runny consistency
Catrice True Skin Hydrating Foundation
Many cosmetics contain alcohol, which can further dry out your skin. Catrice’s version is free of alcohol, which is just one reason it ranks among the best foundations for dry skin. “It also contains hyaluronic acid to add moisture back into your skin,” says celebrity makeup artist Robert Sesnek. The liquid formula is incredibly lightweight, so as soon as you apply the foundation, it melts into your skin. And at just $10 a pop, you can’t beat the price.
- Buildable coverage
- Cruelty-free brand
- Only comes in 20 shades
- Slight floral scent not for everyone
Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Perfect Glow Foundation
This award-winning foundation is a cult favorite with buildable and luminous coverage. The fluid formula blends seamlessly without settling into fine lines, so there are no worries about creasing or caking, making it one of the best foundations for aging skin—not to mention an excellent option for when you want that no-makeup look. “It mimics how natural skin looks,” adds Sesnek. Another skincare cult-favorite that’s absolutely worth the hype: this Aztec clay mask.
- More than 40 different shades
- Oil-free formula goes on smooth
Best full coverage
It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation
“This foundation is great because it gives your skin a naturally radiant finish,” says Nydia Figueroa, a celebrity makeup artist. “Plus, it’s infused with hyaluronic acid and aloe vera extract, both of which have hydrating properties.” This It Cosmetics pick instantly covers imperfections, but also works to improve skin over time with vitamins B5 and E and other active ingredients. Skin care and makeup in one? This one-and-done product is a lazy girl’s dream! Just swipe on some mascara and lipstick, and you’re ready to go.
- Lightweight, buildable coverage
- Available in 40 shade options
- Active ingredients improve skin over time
- On the more expensive side
- Not eligible for returns
Best tinted moisturizer
BareMinerals Complexion Rescue
When it comes to the best foundation for dry skin, in general, tinted moisturizers are always an excellent option—after all, their benefits are right there in the name. This mineral-based foundation with SPF 30 features hyaluronic acid to add a major boost of hydration to the skin. Squalane is the standout ingredient here: It adds extra moisture while also helping the product go on smoothly and evenly.
The fragrance-free vegan gel cream provides a natural-looking finish, and won’t settle into pores or fine lines. Just take it from the 15,000+ five-star reviews on Amazon. If you have dry skin, experts suggest adding a face serum as a pre-moisturizer step to prep your face for foundation.
- Hydrating formula won’t settle into pores or fine lines
- Mineral-based foundations are ideal for those with sensitive skin
- Only 21 shades
- Small size
Best BB cream
Perfect Cover BB Cream
If you’re working hard to pump moisture back into your skin, the last thing you want to do is fry it in the sun. Seriously, if you want a tan, go for a faux glow. A foundation that incorporates sunscreen takes one more step out of your skin care routine, which is why Missha’s BB cream—which has SPF 42—is a top pick.
It also contains hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil and ceramides, three ingredients known for their hydrating superpowers. Plus, it provides ample coverage, while also softening the look of fine lines and wrinkles. If you’re also dealing with acne-prone skin, check out the best foundations to stop blemishes in their tracks.
- Hydrating formula goes on smooth and evens out skin tone
- Contains SPF 42
- Dewy finish
- Not fragrance-free
- Limited shade options
What to consider when buying foundation for dry skin
PSA for those on the hunt for the best foundation for dry skin: step away from the powder foundation! It will only make your skin look dryer. Another no-no for dry skin is anything with a matte-finish formula. “If you pick a foundation with a really matte finish, you’ll find that it just sits on top of dry patches,” says Hector Espinal, Fenty Beauty’s global makeup artist.
Opt instead for products that say they nourish or hydrate skin. “Tinted moisturizers are a great way of evening out skin tone while also adding hydration,” says Figueroa. “If you’re looking for more coverage, a cream or liquid should be your go-to.”
Anything with the word “dewy” is usually fair game. Experts also agree that foundations containing grapeseed oil, squalane oil, vitamin E, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate or hyaluronic acid provide optimal hydration and coverage. Speaking of dewy, consider using a humidifier to say goodbye to dry skin.
How We Chose the Best Foundation for Dry Skin
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
Is cream or liquid foundation better for dry skin?
Both a liquid and lightweight cream formula with a water base can hydrate your complexion. They are ideal for dry skin compared to powder foundations, which can accentuate dryness and are harder to apply. Plus, many face and setting powders absorb oil, making them a terrific foundation for oily skin, but not for dry skin.
If you want more coverage, go for a cream foundation as the texture is heavier. It’s also better for contouring or using makeup to transform your features. Liquid foundation is ideal for even application across the face. Whichever you choose, create a flawless look every time by learning exactly how to apply foundation, according to beauty experts.
What makeup ingredients are bad for dry skin?
People with dry skin should avoid harsh makeup and skincare ingredients that could exacerbate dryness or cause skin reactions, including alcohol, fragrances and preservatives. Experts say to skip products that are labeled as “quick-drying.” Also avoid salicylic and glycolic acids, they are often found in makeup for acne-prone skin and exfoliating facial scrubs, but can irritate dry skin.
- Robert Sesnek, celebrity makeup artist
- Nydia Figueroa, celebrity makeup artist
- Hector Espinal, global makeup artist for Fenty Beauty
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