Dry skin doesn't stand a chance.

When it comes to wearing foundation, most women fall into one of two camps: They either love it, or they absolutely hate it. But if you find yourself foregoing the makeup routine essential, there's a good chance that you just haven't found the right option for your complexion yet. After all, just like skincare, your face makeup needs to be tailored to your skin type. Where oily skin benefits from balancing matte formulas, dry skin looks its best when paired with one that's more hydrating. Since it's not exactly commonplace to know what makes a foundation hydrating, we discussed everything you need to know about moisturizing with dermatologists and makeup artists to take the guesswork out of choosing the right makeup products to suit your needs.

Woman Applying Makeup
Credit: Getty / Christopher Weidlich / Corbis / VCG

Hydrating foundation is a must-have for folks with dry skin, says Luis Carrero, KVD Vegan Beauty's education artistry trainer. He says that hydrating prior to applying any makeup is equally important as it can be enjoyed by all skin types since hydrating foundations are able to help balance the skin's moisture. This can lead to a world of good for oily and combination skin types, as well. "It's a super important step to prep skin before makeup with a hydrating primer," he says. "This will give your skin a nice boost of moisture, plump, and have a smoothing effect for foundation."

The trick to finding the ultimate hydrating foundation is to know which ingredients to keep top of mind. Then, commit the ingredients below to memory and you'll be well on your way to a more hydrated, made-up complexion.


These lipids are important factors when it comes to maintaining the skin's moisture. "They promote balance and protect the skin from oxidative and environmental stress," says board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green.

Hyaluronic Acid

Known for retaining up to 1,000 times its weight in water, hyaluronic acid, also known as HA, is a good ingredient to keep an eye out for while on the search for hydrating foundations. "Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that is a normal part of skin," board-certified dermatologist Dr. Brendan Camp explains. "It acts as a humectant, meaning it adds moisture to the skin by attracting it from other parts of the skin or from the environment."


Green and experts at the Mayo Clinic agree: Glycerin is a worthy ingredient when looking to hydrate skin, as it's a humectant that's able to draw water into the skin.

Aloe Vera

This gooey ingredient might be best known for its sunburn-relieving effects but, according to Dr. Green, aloe vera-based foundations are a shoo-in for folks with dry skin, too. "They are hydrating and great for dehydrated skin," she explains. "It is an ideal foundation ingredient due to its anti-aging benefits (like minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles thanks to its ability to stimulate collagen) as well as its ability to reduce inflammation on irritated, and acne-prone skin."

Butylene Glycol

This water-soluble ingredient works wonders for dry skin. "I love this ingredient because it's a vegan humectant that retains moisture and improves application," says Carrero.

Shea Butter

Not only is shea butter anti-inflammatory and rich in hydrating and softening fatty acids, but it's also a great base for foundations thanks to its texture alone, Dr. Green says.


Here's an ingredient that can sink deep into the skin to promote long-lasting hydration and healthy new cell growth. "Squalane improves the skin's elasticity and moisture retention as well as protects the skin against sun damage," Dr. Green says. "In addition, squalane can prevent age spots and hyperpigmentation, and can also improve skin texture and tone. It's very common in beauty products because it is an antioxidant, non-irritating, non-allergenic, and non-comedogenic."

Jojoba Oil

This lightweight oil is a miracle product for people with dry, often inflamed skin. "Jojoba oil is loaded with antioxidants such as vitamins E and A, as well as omega 6, which are all essential components of the skin's barrier," Dr. Green says. "It's also rich in amino acids which are the building block for collagen rebuilding." According to Dr. Green, the right hydrating foundation can clear up acne breakouts, moisturize dull, dehydrated skin, even skin tone, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. "What's more, it can prevent oxidative stress which is a major cause of the deterioration of your skin's collagen layer. Since collagen keeps your skin looking supple and wrinkle-free, you want to use a hydrating foundation formulated with antioxidants."


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