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Best Foundations for Dry Skin
Best Overall: Danessa Myricks Beauty Yummy Skin Serum Foundation
Best for a Red Carpet Glow: Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Foundation
Best Budget Buy: Maybelline Fit Me Dewy Smooth Foundation
Best Lightweight Coverage: Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Perfect Glow Flawless Oil-Free Foundation
Best Full Coverage: NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation
Best Clean Formula: ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Skincare Foundation
Since harsh cold weather can easily aggravate your skin, it's always a good move to switch up your winter skincare routine (think: face wash, toner, and face moisturizer) to match the elements. Your makeup routine is no different. Opting to use a foundation for dry skin during these chilly months is an easy way for makeup lovers to perfect and protect their complexion while enjoying additional skincare benefits, like hydration and barrier restoration. To help simplify your search for the best, gift-worthy foundations for your loved ones and yourself, I tested several options and shared my honest feedback on my all-time favorite foundations for dry skin.
Best Foundations for Dry Skin
Best Budget Buy: Maybelline Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Liquid Foundation Makeup
Best for Sensitive Skin: Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation
Best for a Red Carpet Glow: Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Foundation
What to Consider
When it comes to winter coverage, you'll want to avoid powder foundations because they'll cling onto dry patches of the skin and leave behind an extremely mattifying look. Instead, liquid foundations, BB creams, and CC creams are your best bet.
Liquid foundations are my favorite type of foundation to wear, and I recommend them to anyone with dry or mature skin. They're easy to work with and offer anywhere from sheer to full coverage, depending on the product's formula and the tools you use to apply them.
BB and CC Creams
Beauty balms (BB) and color-correcting (CC) creams offer a bit more coverage than tinted moisturizers and can help camouflage redness. They also offer more skincare benefits than CC creams and tinted moisturizers, making them great for extremely dry, acne-prone, and mature skin. CC creams are lightweight like BB creams but offer less coverage than traditional foundations.
The goal is to use a foundation for dry skin infused with high-quality skincare ingredients that will leave your face well-moisturized and impart a gorgeous glow. A few dermatologist-loved ingredients include:
Hyaluronic acid is a superstar moisture magnet that's found in several of these foundations for dry skin, including the Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Foundation. Some options, such as the Danessa Myricks Beauty Yummy Skin Soothing Serum Skin Tint Foundation, include sodium hyaluronate, a hyaluronic acid derivative, which also attracts hydration.
Collagen, which is also found in Yummy Skin, is a protein naturally found in our bodies. It's appreciated by beauty enthusiasts who want to slow signs of aging and boost hydration. "The only way to get more collagen into the skin is to apply topical ingredients that stimulate your own production of collagen, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross, M.D., previously told me in our guide to collagen creams.
Squalane is an emollient that smoothes and moisturizes skin, retains water, and fills in holes in the skin barrier. It's also safe for anyone dealing with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and sensitive skin.
Glycerin is a hydrating pick-me-up for dry skin that moisturizes and protects the skin barrier because it has antimicrobial properties to help ward off bacteria and infection.
How We Chose
Best Products is all about hands-on testing. As our beauty editor who spent a year testing hundreds of makeup products for our 2024 New Beauty Awards, I can confidently say you're in great hands. I specifically tested dozens of foundations last year, but these seven are my favorites for dry skin.
First, I considered their label to ensure they're infused with the above-mentioned moisturizing ingredients that are actually beneficial for dry skin.
Next, I considered their formulation. While I enjoy powder foundations, they're not ideal for dry skin because they make your complexion look more dehydrated and dull. Powder foundations are also known for clinging onto dry spots, which is a real bummer for anyone with dry skin. If you're worried about the wear of your foundation for dry skin, focus on skin prep. Apply a face primer, like the reader-favorite Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré, then lightly dust a hydrating setting powder onto your skin, such as the REFY Skin Finish, which is water-based and offers a refreshing cooling effect.
I also factored in the ease of application with various tools — brushes, sponges, and my fingers — and longevity. My biggest pet peeve with beauty products is when makeup doesn't last. It's unfair, and I don't want you to waste your money or time applying a subpar beauty product only to watch it erase from your skin a few hours into wear. These foundations for dry skin all last a full workday, but some, such as the Charlotte Tilbury and NARS foundations, last for up to 16 hours.
Lastly, I considered the shade availability to ensure you won't have to compromise on finding a foundation that accurately matches your skin tone. Beyond the number of colors available, I considered the undertones of each offering to ensure there were enough cool, warm, and neutral options.
Check out my favorite foundations for dry skin below that are sure to give your skin a radiant glow, no matter the weather.
Yummy Skin Serum Skin Tint
I recently bestowed this new beauty product as the best skin perfector in our 2024 New Beauty Awards, which highlights my holy grail industry releases.
The Yummy Skin Serum Skin Tint nourishes, smoothes, and hydrates dry skin with its dermatologist-approved ingredients, like ceramides, cactus extract, vegan squalane, vegan collagen peptides, and sodium hyaluronate. It also camouflages red and uneven complexions without color corrector and concealer.
It's available in a flexible range of colors that complement all skin tones. Plus, it's the best low-maintenance foundation that I always forget is on my face unless I walk by a mirror.
This foundation also wears beautifully throughout the day. Some foundations oxygenate and turn you into an orange Cheeto, but that's a non-issue here! Whatever beautiful shade you choose will look true to life. There's no flashback or ashy finish issues here!
I also tested this foundation with and without primers, setting powders, and setting sprays, and it still looks fantastic IRL and in pictures. I've worn it everywhere, ranging from summer concerts and the office to long walks along the West Side Highway in Manhattan. This foundation is a need not a want.
Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Liquid Foundation
Hydrate rough patches with the help of Maybelline's cheap liquid foundation for dry skin. The formulation hydrates and smoothes uneven skin texture while providing a gorgeous medium coverage.
It's an allergy-tested, non-comedogenic formulation that won't irritate sensitive skin. This foundation also contains SPF 18, which is fantastic. However, during the daytime, you'll want to layer a broad-spectrum face sunscreen underneath to ensure you have at least SPF 30 coverage, which dermatologists consistently suggest.
Luminous Silk Foundation
I love this oil-free foundation because it gives my skin a featherlight feel, is easy to apply, and leaves behind a romantic glow on my skin. Given my positive experience using this dry skin-friendly foundation since 2020, I can confidently say it's worth the luxe price for makeup newbies and professional makeup artists alike.
Armani Luminous Silk is also excellent for dry, mature skin because it doesn't crease in fine lines and wrinkles. Instead, it creates a soft-focused effect that helps blur any imperfections we want to camouflage.
And unlike other foundations on the market, Luminous Silk doesn't oxidize when pigments interact with the air and the skin's natural oils. So, no worries about looking orange.
During the holidays, I raved about Oxygenetix's gif-worthy foundation. The first ingredient in this foundation is aloe vera, meaning it's incredibly gentle and soothing to the skin. It camouflages and helps calm acne, rosacea, and cosmetic treatments like lasers, injectables, and microneedles.
I wore this foundation to a fall wedding in the Deep South and loved how well it was photographed and looked throughout the milestone event.
If you're looking to maximize the benefits, invest in a bottle of the Oxygenetix Hydro-Matrix. It is a moisturizer that doubles as a face primer that helps dry skin look dewy on no-makeup makeup days.
Beautiful Skin Foundation
Leave it to the queen of beauty to create a foundation that became an instant hit on the red carpet. Stars like Blake Lively and Jessica Chastain are fans and have sported the hyaluronic acid-infused foundation at the Met Gala, so you know it's top-tier.
While I'm still a ride-or-die Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation girly, Beautiful Skin Foundation is epic! In my experience, most moisturizing foundations slip and slide around my face, but that's a non-issue with Beautiful Skin Foundation. I can even skip concealer when I apply this foundation, which is ideal for someone who likes to sleep in as much as possible.
I enjoyed this foundation so much that I gifted a tube to my mom, and it quickly became her holy grail foundation. Beautiful Skin is aptly named as it creates a buildable medium coverage foundation that hydrates, brightens, and smoothes skin. It applies like a dream, blending out quickly and easily with all types of beauty tools.
CC+ Nude Glow
My skin looks amazing whenever I use the OG version of the IT Cosmetics CC Cream. However, I switched over to the Nude Glow version when it launched and haven't looked back.
As its name implies, Nude Glow creates natural-looking skin but provides the reliable coverage we know and love from IT Cosmetics with a dewy finish. We can thank the dry, skin-friendly blend of niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and green tea extract to ensure our complexion is well-moisturized and dark spots are less noticeable over time.
CC+ Nude Glow is my go-to complexion product for the fall and winter because the full coverage never looks like an unnatural face mask. It applies like a dream, but my biggest hack is to dot the CC Cream across my face, spritz a thin layer of Charlotte Tilbury's beloved setting spray on top, and then blend while my skin is still damp for the longest-lasting foundation. Plus, it helps minimize cosmetics from transferring onto my face mask.
Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation
Rely on this beauty editor-approved product for medium-to-full buildable coverage that magically looks like skin and lasts from AM to PM. With a 16-hour wear time, Natural Radiant is an incredibly long-lasting foundation for dry skin.
Whenever I wear this foundation, friends ask if I'm wearing any face makeup because my skin looks naturally flawless. Not only does it provide a second-skin finish, but it's incredibly breathable and infused with fruit extracts for extra radiance.
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