How to Apply Makeup Over Dry, Flaky Skin

November 16, 2021
Alanna Martine Kilkeary
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal

If you have dry skin, applying makeup can leave you with a flaky or cakey finish and pilling products. With some prep and the right moisturizing products and application techniques, though, you can achieve a flawless makeup look with dry skin — even in the fall and winter. Here, five pro makeup artists share their tips.

TIP 1: Stick to a Solid Skincare Routine

“The process of hydrating dry skin may take weeks, so consistently using the proper skincare is essential,” says makeup artist Gabriel Almodovar. To start, he recommends exfoliating once or twice a week. Follow that up with a hydrating primer like the Lancôme UV Expert Sunscreen for a moisturized and protected base that’s ready for makeup. He also suggests using a serum-like foundation formula such as the L'Oréal Paris True Match Nude Hyaluronic Acid Tinted Serum, which contains 1% hyaluronic serum and has a skin tint available in 10 shades. 

TIP 2: Use Hydrating Makeup Products

Fellow celebrity makeup artist Mary Irwin says knowing what’s in your makeup is crucial. “Look for hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin E or argan oil,” she says. The IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare is a good pick because it contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and soothing aloe vera. We also like the YSL Beauty NU Bare Look Tint, a lightweight skin tint with hyaluronic acid, for a fresh, dewy complexion.

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare

TIP 3: Avoid Excess Powder

Mark Anastasios, NYX Professional Makeup’s assistant vice president, recommends considering the texture of your makeup products, too. “Choosing a finely milled formula such as the NYX Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Setting Powder acts like foundation insurance rather than additional texture,” he says. Anastasios also suggests using luminous-boosting skin products instead of matte foundations. “Dry skin will look the most supple and hydrated if you opt for a creamy or satin foundation formula like the Born To Glow! Naturally Radiant Foundation.”

TIP 4: Tap, Never Tug

Beauty expert and makeup artist Jenny Patinkin says that the way you apply your makeup products is also essential. “The key to getting a smooth application on dry skin is to tap instead of tug,” she says. Patinkin’s favorite way to apply foundation on dry skin is with a damp beauty sponge (the L’Oréal Paris Blend Artist Infallible Foundation Blender is our fave). She advises tapping the product into the skin in short, quick motions.

TIP 5: Use a Hydrating Facial Mist

The best way to maintain makeup on dry skin throughout the day is by reaching for a facial mist, says MODA Brush Executive Artist Dominique Lerma. “If you become dry throughout the day, keep a rosewater spray handy for midday moisture to revive skin,” she says. We recommend the Thayers Rose Petal Facial Mist to keep your skin feeling fresh and flake-free.

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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