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14 Skin Care Rules to Follow If You Have Dry Skin

Consider this your skin care manual.
April 12, 2023

It’s no secret that skin care isn’t one-size-fits all. Yes, there are universal practices that should be adopted by everyone, like cleansing, moisturizing and applying sunscreen, but your skin type will be a major determining factor in how to best care for your skin. 


If you have dry skin, you’re likely no stranger to all the challenges that accompany it, including dry patches, flakes, dullness and that dreaded tight and itchy feeling. When you have dry skin, moisturizing is just the bare minimum and you have to customize the rest of your routine to help your skin feel and stay hydrated. To help with that, we’re sharing 14 skin care rules to follow if you have dry skin so your skin can look and feel its best year round. 

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How Do I Know If I Have Dry Skin?

If you have dry skin, this means your skin lacks oils or sebum (an oily, waxy substance produced by the sebaceous glands), according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, (NCBI). Because of this, your skin type is characterized by a perpetually dry feeling, dry patches, flakes, rough skin texture, dullness and even tightness and itchiness. 

If you don’t have a dry skin type, your skin may still get drier as the seasons change, and you may experience one or a few of these symptoms. The difference is that when the weather gets warmer, the dryness dissipates and your skin may start to lean more oily. When you have a dry skin type, your skin tends to be dry all year and the weather merely affects the level of dryness you experience.

14 Skin Care Rules for Dry Skin

If you have dry skin, these rules are going to make your skin look and feel exponentially better. 

1. Wash Your Face With Lukewarm Water 

If you think hot water is your friend, think again. While it may feel relaxing for a quick moment, when you wash your face with hot water, it can strip your skin of essential oils which can lead to dryness. Instead, make the switch to washing your face with lukewarm water and see how your skin reacts. 

2. Use a Gentle Cleanser 

When you have dry skin, it’s important to pick a facial cleanser that’s formulated for your skin type, as some cleansers can be harsh and drying. Look for a cream cleanser, like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Radiant Smoothing Cream Cleanser to gently remove dirt, unwanted oil and makeup at the end of your day without stripping your skin of moisture and giving it that tight, stiff feeling.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Exfoliate

People with dry skin are often afraid to use exfoliating products because they fear they will dry out their already dry skin even further. When you skip exfoliation in your routine, dead skin cells can build up on the surface of your skin, causing it to look dull and flaky, and may even lead to clogged pores. What you should do instead is opt for a gentle exfoliating product, like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 5% Glycolic Acid Peeling Toner. It works to remove dead skin cells, smooth uneven skin texture and brighten without causing excess dryness. 

4. Use a Hyaluronic Acid Serum  

Hyaluronic acid is a dry skin savior. It helps to attract and lock moisture into the skin, and it’s incredibly gentle. Be sure to incorporate a hyaluronic acid serum into your skin care routine in addition to your daily moisturizer to get (and retain) as much moisture as possible. The L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum is great because it works to hydrate and replump while quickly absorbing into the skin without leaving a lingering greasy or sticky residue. Apply it to clean damp skin and layer on moisturizer to lock everything in. 

5. Select Your Moisturizer Wisely 

While oily skin might benefit from more lightweight, water-based moisturizers, dry skin needs something with more richness. Go for moisturizing creams with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or squalane. We love the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Anti-Aging Moisturizer Fragrance Free because it contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and retinol to nourish the skin while working to address fine lines and wrinkles. 

For the daytime, reach for a moisturizer with SPF, like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Day Lotion SPF 30. With all the benefits of the aforementioned moisturizer, it also includes SPF 30 to protect your skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays. 

The L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal Midnight Cream, Antioxidants is another rich, hydrating cream that we love for daytime — just make sure to layer an SPF on top.

6. Apply Moisturizer to Damp Skin 

When you’ve just hopped out of the shower or finished washing your face, don’t towel off immediately. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the best time to apply moisturizer is after cleansing, when your skin is still damp. Applying your skin care on damp skin allows the hydrating ingredients to do a better job of sinking into the skin’s surface. 

7. Top Your Moisturizer Off With Facial Oil 

If you have extremely dry skin or simply prefer your complexion to look ultra-dewy, apply a few drops of facial oil after you’ve applied moisturizer. The oil will help to lock the hydrating ingredients of your moisturizer in and will help to alleviate that tight, itchy feeling that those with dry skin sometimes experience.

8. Apply SPF Daily 

This rule isn’t exactly dry skin specific, but it’s worth the reminder. You should take sun protection seriously, no matter your skin type. According to the AAD, you should wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater daily. If you prefer a more minimalistic skin care routine, combine SPF and moisturizer in one and opt for the aforementioned L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Day Lotion SPF 30 as it combines SPF protection with hydrating benefits and retinol to address fine lines and wrinkles. 

We also suggest the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Invisible UV Fluid, a weightless sunscreen formulated with vitamin C and vitamin E to protect against environmental aggressors that speed up visible signs of aging, like fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. 

9. Don’t Forget to Hydrate Your Lips

When you have dry skin, your face isn’t the only area you have to worry about keeping hydrated — your lips are also extremely prone to dryness. To help keep your lips moisturized, apply a lip balm whenever necessary and opt for hydrating lipstick formulas, like the L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Balm-in-Lipstick with Pomegranate Extract, which conditions the lips while providing sheer, buildable color and dewy shine. 

10. Use Hydrating Makeup Formulas 

Ultra-matte makeup can contribute to and emphasize dryness. When you have dry skin, choose makeup formulas that aid in hydrating the skin, like the L’Oréal Paris True Match Hyaluronic Tinted Serum. This complexion product is perfect for dry skin because it contains hyaluronic acid to keep the skin moisturized while providing a natural, radiant finish. 

11. Consider Your Makeup Application Techniques

It’s not just about what makeup products you choose to use when you have dry skin — it’s also about how you apply your makeup. Instead of using a brush to buff in foundation and concealer, apply complexion products with a damp makeup sponge. Using a wet makeup sponge versus a dry one allows your foundation to easily glide across the skin without tugging, while the dampness aids in hydration and provides a more luminous finish. 

12. Fake Your Way to Glowing Skin 

It’s very easy and common for dry skin to look dull. In addition to aiding your skin with hydrating skin care products, you can also fake it until you make it with makeup. Use a liquid highlighter to help create the appearance of radiance, dotting it above your cheekbones for a lit-from-within luminosity. 

When it comes to liquid highlighter, we love the L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer. It can be used before makeup as a glow-enhancing primer, it can be mixed into liquid foundation for an overall dewy look or it can be used as a finishing touch to help illuminate your complexion on the high points of your face.

13. Use a Hydrating Facial Mist 

Keeping a refreshing facial mist on hand is a good idea if you have dry skin. Look for a formula infused with hydrating ingredients, like coconut water or aloe vera and spritz it on whenever you feel like your skin needs a pick-me-up. 

14. Use a Humidifier 

Your environment — both inside and outside — might not be doing your complexion any favors. Whether it’s naturally cold and dry (hello, winter weather), or you’re spending a lot of time inside with the air conditioner on, the lack of moisture can make your already dry skin feel even drier. To counteract the lack of moisture in the air, invest in a humidifier. Turn it on while you sleep and you’ll notice a difference in the way your skin feels when you wake up. 

Next: How to Get Rid of Clogged Pores

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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