The 5 Best Foundations for Dry Skin

Dry skin is a downer. 

Whether you have dry skin somewhat depends on your genetics — dark skin and fair skin are more likely to become very dry — but also commonly your environment, seasonal weather, and various skin conditions. Otherwise, you might have a dry skin type, meaning your skin is prone to dryness due to an insufficiency of water in the epidermis .

Dry skin is incredibly common and can occur anywhere on the body. Yet, it’s most typically an issue in areas that produce less sebum. Major areas of dryness include the hands, arms, legs, shoulders, and feet. But even though the face produces adequate sebum (and in people with oily skin, too much sebum), your face is another area where dry skin can occur.

You may experience dry patches anywhere on your face, especially around the mouth, eyes, forehead, and cheeks. It’s also likely in spots where you use strong actives (like acne spot treatments) and in fine lines and wrinkles.

Don’t get discouraged by dry skin — you can help it improve by using the right products for your face. Some makeup products are better than others, especially when it comes to your skin type. 

Let’s talk about the best hydrating foundations for soft, beautiful skin.

How Can You Recognize Dry Skin?

It may seem pretty obvious what dry skin looks like — flakiness and rough patches. While these are consistent symptoms, they don’t touch on all the variations of dryness. 

There are multiple side effects of dehydrated skin lacking in moisture. If you recognize any of the following symptoms in your own skin, whether your body or face, you likely have a dry skin type.

Otherwise, your skin is more dry than normal and needs to be treated until it improves. This could be due to the season (cold weather is notorious for drying out skin), using too many active ingredients, a damaged skin barrier, lack of humidity in the air , or too much exfoliation.

Fortunately, there are products designed for skin exhibiting symptoms of dryness, including foundation. Consider the following symptoms of dryness but know they can be resolved with the right beauty routine.


A frustrating symptom of dry skin is how uncomfortable it can be. Dry skin can feel tight, sore, and raw, interfering with your day (and your confidence). Dry skin can also become flaky, leaving exposed, vulnerable skin in its wake. Severe instances of skin dryness even have the potential to cause bleeding, cracking, and roughness that may also itch or burn.


Because the skin is dehydrated and lacking in essential moisture, dry skin is often red and may appear inflamed. Sensitive skin is extra prone to dryness, such as skin with eczema, allergic reactions, or acne, all of which lead to red areas on the skin. 

Redness can also indicate healing, such as when lotion is applied onto dry spots and begins to absorb into the epidermis.


Dry skin commonly peels and flakes off because of the lack of sebum holding the skin cells together. Flaking is also sometimes part of the healing process, but regardless of its cause, it can be itchy, painful, and hard to cover up with a liquid foundation.

Tight-Feeling Skin

Due to the lack of moisture in dry skin, it feels like it is pulled taut in an uncomfortable way. Hydration makes skin stretchy, supple, and soft, essentially creating the impression that it can bounce back from any stressors. Contrarily, dry skin is the opposite and feels tight, stiff, and rough in texture. The more dead skin cells you have, the dryer the surface becomes.

When your skin starts to feel tight, this is a sure indicator that it may begin to crack, peel, or flake off because it doesn’t contain enough moisture to hold the skin barrier together .

What Are the Best Foundations for Dry Skin?

When choosing a foundation, there are a few factors to consider. Although you could base your decision solely on whether you find a close skin tone match, this could leave you with a foundation that is wrong in every other way. 

Choosing your foundation based on your skin type is a great way to make sure your makeup look is working with you, not against you. The right formulas can work to nourish your skin during the day while you’re in full glam — and who wouldn’t want that?

Let’s talk about how to choose a foundation that matches your coloring and your skin needs at the same time.

1. La Mer The Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation SPF 20

For a luminous silk foundation that hydrates the skin throughout hours of wear, look no further than La Mer’s The Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation SPF 20 . Its long-lasting color holds its tint even when you’re sweating for a skin finish that doesn’t look like makeup. You can enjoy a silky finish while your dry skin is improved due to the antioxidant infusion and hydrating effects.

With medium coverage, it is perfect for all skin types — and because it contains SPF 20, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to apply your sunscreen. It can be the final step in your beauty routine before you head out into the sunshine.

2. Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Foundation

The Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Foundation is a beauty favorite because of its many product highlights. This foundation has a wide range of 36 shades with different undertones so that all people can find a seamless match with their skin tone, even as it may shift during different seasons. This serum foundation sets into a weightless satin finish that lasts up to 12 hours.

Dry skin benefits from the hyaluronic acid and ceramides formulated into the ingredient list, but oily skin will also benefit from the blurred, matte finish. Often, oil-free foundations don’t achieve a skin glow, but this one illuminates the skin with a radiant finish.

3. Sisley-Paris Phyto-Teint Nude Foundation

Sisley-Paris’ Phyto-Teint Nude Foundation is for those who want to achieve a satin finish from an oil-free, skin-beneficial foundation that adapts to their undertones. Its water-based hydration and radiance boost make the skin appear smooth, plump, and invigorated.

Troubled, sensitive skin should gravitate to this formula because it improves the appearance and feel of skin over time with each wear. It is non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores) and gently blurs imperfections.

4. Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation

The Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation is ideal for sensitive and dry skin because this makeup-skincare fusion product uses an oil-free gel base to moisturize and conceal the skin. It is the ultimate natural-looking skin tint foundation that feels refreshing even after hours of wear. Pure ingredients from nature are infused into all of Chantecaille’s products. 

The Future Skin Foundation is made with green tea, rosemary, chamomile, and aloe vera — these skin soothing properties improve the look of skin with each wear. Additionally, it contains reflective circular pigments that help balance the skin’s appearance so you can skip the concealer.

5. Hourglass Veil Hydrating Skin Tint

For a glow foundation that melts into the skin in a natural-looking way, try the Hourglass Veil Hydrating Skin Tint in one of its 18 shades. It helps to repair dry skin by increasing its moisture levels throughout the day but without a noticeable appearance of makeup. Reviewers say it looks and feels as though they’ve gone au natural.

With 94% natural ingredients, you’re treating your skin with all of the good and none of the bad while promoting a stronger skin barrier and more supple skin texture.

Banish the Dryness

Dry skin is incredibly common but still unpleasant, as it can cause redness, flakiness, burning, and discomfort. In even the most minor cases, it’s difficult to apply makeup over dry or combination skin and still get a natural-looking result. 

Hydrating foundations that infuse moisture into the skin make it possible to achieve a dewy finish even without a setting spray, with the added benefit that they help heal the skin throughout the day.

When it comes to a weightless, effortless makeup look that feels like you, any of these five luminous foundations are the answer.


Dry Skin: An Overview | American Academy of Dermatology

Dry Skin: Signs and Symptoms | American Academy of Dermatology Association

The Skin Barrier and Moisturization: Function, Disruption, and Mechanisms of Repair | Skin Pharmacology and Physiology

Xeroderma | National Library of Medicine