13 Expert-Approved Foundations for Dry Skin
These hydrating formulas won't flake or settle into fine lines.
When you have dry skin, it can be difficult to find a foundation that actually perfects from all angles; adding products to this skin type usually results in caking or, worse, pronounced fine lines. And when you consider the fact that so many modern-day formulas are designed specifically to mattify skin, the search for the best possible hydrating base can feel that much more challenging. That's not to say that moisturizing options don't exist—rather, it just takes more expertise to spot them amongst shelves full of the exact opposite formula types.
To cut out the overwhelming component (there are just so many choices), we chatted with several makeup artists and dermatologists and asked them to share what they believe to be the best foundations for dry skin. Whether you're looking for light, medium, or full coverage—a matte or dewy finish—ahead, you'll find more than a dozen options, ranging from drugstore buys to luxury selections.
Before you begin shopping, remember this: Your made-up complexion will only look as good as the bare skin underneath. For that reason, it's just as critical (if not more so!) to invest in quality skincare products. After all, the more time you spend catering to your dry complexion, the higher chance you'll have remedying flaking and tightness. Whatever your routine, New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Michele Green says to always prep skin with a hyaluronic acid-based serum (like the Hydra Repair Hyaluronic Acid ($98, michelegreenmd.com) from her own line)—it will change the way any foundation, whichever one you choose, glides on, she says.
Celebrity makeup artist Robert Sesnek recommends this foundation to anyone searching for lightweight coverage with a breathable texture and hydrating benefits. "It almost feels like a moisturizer upon application and has a 'your skin but better' look and feel. Plus, it a great shade range," he says.
Shop Now: Giorgio Armani Neo Nude Foundation, $40, sephora.com.
For the most "beautiful, radiant finish" that perfects, not covers skin, makeup artist and Stila's editorial director of makeup, Charlie Riddle, says to bookmark this unparalleled, SPF-packed formula by Chanel.
Shop Now: Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Sunscreen Makeup, $50, nordstrom.com.
"This foundation is an excellent choice if you have dry skin," says New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Michele Green. The vegan formulation is free of harsh chemicals and wasn't tested on animals. It's starring ingredient? "Hyaluronic acid, which provides a plumping effect, providing an instant lift. It also contains sweet almond which is enriched with vitamin E, vitamin A, fatty acids, potassium, and zinc."
Shop Now: By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Foundation, $59, spacenk.com.
Looking for a foundation with medium coverage and a natural finish? This is the option for you, says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick, noting that it contains "hyaluronic acid and aloe vera to help hydrate and leave the skin looking smooth." Vitamins E and B5 provide additional moisture and antioxidant effects to help support the skin barrier, she adds.
Shop Now: IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare, $40, ulta.com.
This formula does more than hydrate—it smooths over just about every skin concern in the book. "In my 27 years as a makeup artist to the stars, people have always asked for my secret to the 'flawless' feeling derived from a poreless-looking, satin-smooth, visibly airbrushed, youthful-looking, and flawlessly-matched complexion," explains celebrity makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury. "This is it—a natural-looking, weightless, full-coverage hybrid skincare-foundation for every occasion."
Shop Now: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation, $44, sephora.com.
"This has been a staple in my makeup kit for years for its ultra-hydrating and luxurious texture," says Sesnek of this medium coverage foundation from La Mer. "It also contains the brand's miracle broth concentrate for extra moisturizing benefits."
Shop Now: La Mer Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation, $120, net-a-porter.com.
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"Not only does this foundation come in a shade for every skin type, it's also great for dry skin—it gives you a dewy, refreshed glow," Dr. Green shares. Hyaluronic acid, grapeseed oil ("Which is known to moisturize, lighten, and protect the skin from free radical damage," she adds), and a high concentration of fatty acids are the key hydrators in the formula.
Shop Now: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Hydrating Longwear Foundation, $35, fentybeauty.com.
A foundation stick is a great option for those with dry complexions—these formulas' built-in creaminess virtually guarantees moisture. Dr. Garshick prefers Neutrogena's iteration. "Additionally, as a stick, it can be used to provide natural coverage, help conceal certain blemishes or the undereye area, and contour areas such as the cheekbones," she adds.
Shop Now: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Foundation Stick, $15, target.com.
Formulated with coconut water, hyaluronic acid, and alpine rose, Too Faced's best-selling base is foolproof, says Dr. Green. "The coconut water has natural cytokinins which play an important role in stimulating cell growth. In addition, alpine rose's small molecular structure has the ability to penetrate the deep layers of the skin, stimulating collagen and reducing fine lines and wrinkles."
Shop Now: Too Faced Born This Way Foundation, $39, ulta.com.
"This oil-free formula provides lasting medium-to-full coverage, leaving the skin with a natural matte finish," says Dr. Garshick. But don't confuse mattifying for dehydrating—packed with hyaluronic acid and breathable polymers, this foundation won't ever make your complexion feel tight.
Shop Now: Smashbox Studio Skin 24 Hour Wear Oil-Free Hydra Foundation, $38, macys.com.
Searching for a formula that feels more like a serum than a foundation? This is the option for you, explains Riddle. "It feels very smooth on the skin and it's very hydrating due to ingredients like plant collagen extract," he says. "Despite the fact that it feels like nothing, it has a really nice medium coverage with a radiant finish."
Shop Now: Stila Hide & Chic Foundation, $39, nordstrom.com.
"This complexion multitasker from Juice Beauty is the ultimate hydrating skin tint for the 'no makeup, makeup' lover," says Riddle. "It hydrates, evens out skin tone, and blurs imperfections."
Shop Now: Juice Beauty Cellular CC Cream, $39, credobeauty.com.
The "formula, texture, and ultra-hydrating properties" of this BB cream from Catrice make it stand out, Sesnek says. "But it's the shea butter that really makes this foundation a dream for drier skin types," he adds. It's also a good choice for this winter and fall, he explains, since it's hydrating and boasts lighter coverage—which means it will perform better underneath masks.
Shop Now: Catrice Clean ID Hydro BB Cream, $10, ulta.com.