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10 Tips for Applying Makeup When You Have Dry Skin

Applying makeup on dry skin doesn’t have to be difficult.
February 13, 2023


Mastering a great makeup look isn’t the same for everyone, because what works on some might not work on others — especially when it comes to product selection and application techniques. This is especially true when you have dry skin, as applying makeup on top of dry or flaking skin can be difficult. Using the wrong product or formula can highlight your dry patches or even make your dryness worse, and you may feel like skipping makeup altogether. 


The good news is all you need to do is follow a few simple tips and use the best makeup for dry skin, so that you can expertly apply makeup to a dry complexion with ease. Keep reading for 10 tips on exactly how to apply makeup if you have dry skin.

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1. Be Sure to Exfoliate

While it can seem like those with dry skin should skip exfoliation, it’s actually still a necessary step in your skin care routine, as foundation and other makeup won’t sit well on top of dry, flaky skin. To ensure you have a smooth canvas for makeup, be sure to exfoliate your skin. 

The L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 5% Glycolic Acid Peeling Toner is great for this because it’s a gentle toner that uses glycolic acid to exfoliate and get rid of dead skin cells. It’s also formulated with aloe vera to soothe your skin.

2. Add a Hydrating Serum to Your Routine

If you have dry skin, it’s important to hydrate as much as possible by applying a hydrating serum before starting your makeup. The L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum is a hydrating skin treatment that features L’Oréal Paris’s highest concentration of pure hyaluronic acid. It immediately hydrates, and after one week your skin will feel plumped and firmer. 

3. Apply a Hydrating Moisturizer 

Moisturizing should always be part of your everyday skin care routine, but it’s especially important when you’ll be applying makeup on dry skin. It helps to create a smooth, hydrated base for the makeup to be applied on top of, like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Micro Hyaluronic Acid + Ceramides Line-Plumping Water Cream, which is formulated with hyaluronic acid and ceramides to deeply hydrate and visibly replump the skin. Over time your skin will look bouncier and brighter, whether you’re wearing makeup or not.

4. Find a Face Primer for Dry Skin 

If you have dry skin, wearing a hydrating primer under your foundation is a must. Primers don’t just help makeup stay in place, they also help create a smooth canvas for your makeup application and add an extra layer of moisture. 

Pre-foundation, apply a layer of the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Makeup Blurring Face Primer Infused With Serum all over your face to hydrate and prep your skin. The primer is infused with a serum to instantly smooth the look of lines and pores. You can also try the L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Pore Minimizer, which has different formulations to also combat redness or dullness. 

5. Choose Your Foundation Formula Wisely

When it comes to using foundation when you have dry skin, opt for hydrating, luminous liquid formulas. Overly matte foundations can contribute to dryness and emphasize dry texture. 

The L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation has a natural finish and hydrating formula, and it’s formulated for all skin types. It’s also easy to blend and adapts to your skin’s texture.

If you prefer a creamier foundation for dry skin, try the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect 4-in-1 Tinted Face Balm Foundation. It melts into the skin upon contact and creates a natural-looking finish with a subtle glow. This foundation has the benefits of a skincare balm plus the coverage of a foundation, so it also smooths lines and firms the skin over time. 

6. Use a Makeup Sponge 

Brushes are great for targeted application and applying products such as blush and eyeshadow, but using a damp makeup sponge to apply foundation is best when you have dry skin. A damp sponge adds a bit of extra hydration to your skin and prevents the makeup from settling into lines or clinging onto dry patches. 

7. Set Your Makeup the Right Way

Powders can look cakey on dry skin when used all over the face. Make sure to use a lightweight powder to set just the areas where you might experience creasing or a bit of shine throughout the day. 

If you don’t struggle with either of these issues, you can skip powder altogether and finish your makeup with a setting spray instead. The L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray and Set Make-Up Oil-Free Setting Spray locks your makeup in place all day long without contributing to the appearance of dryness. 

8. Use Cream Blush 

Opt for cream or liquid blush and bronzer formulas to avoid making your skin look drier. The L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Lip and Cheek Tint is excellent for dry skin because it has an airy, light formula that blends into the skin with ease and leaves behind a dewy glow.  

9. Fake a Glow With Highlighter 

Sadly, dry skin can sometimes look dull — but thankfully, you can use an illuminator to help restore the look of your glow. The L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer can be mixed into foundation for an overall dewy complexion or used over your foundation to define your face. Dot it on your forehead, cupid's bow and above your cheekbones to get authentic-looking luminosity.

10. Choose a Hydrating Lipstick

It’s not just your face that can look and feel dry — your lips (which also have skin) may be the same way. Avoid drying lipsticks as they will only emphasize texture and contribute to dryness and discomfort. Instead, grab a hydrating lipstick, like the L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Balm-in-Lipstick with Pomegranate Extract. It’s infused with pomegranate extract to cushion the lips and it provides a beautiful wash of color with a natural, radiant finish. 

Next: The Best Nighttime Skin Care Routine for Dry Skin

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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