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The Best Foundations to Make Your Dry Skin Glow Like You’ve Never Seen Before

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@wander_beauty / Instagram

Nothing quite gets our complexion or makeup looking flawless like a good foundation. Foundation helps create an even, smooth base for the rest of your makeup, and helps give it something to stick to. But if you’ve ever shopped for foundation, you know the options out there are endless. Despite so many different types of formulas (BB and CC creams, foundation with added SPF, skin tint, matte and serum-like formulations, etc.), there’s one rule to always go by when you’re choosing: the best foundations should always look and feel like a second skin. This means you should always take your skin type into consideration when you’re shopping for what kind of coverage and finish you want your foundation to have.

If you have dry skin, you know finding a foundation that keeps your skin soft and smooth without amplifying dry patches can be especially tough. While a hydrating primer can certainly help, you should also look for an additionally hydrating foundation—specifically, one that also comes with additional skincare benefits that help boost your skin’s moisture levels. “On dry skin, I love using foundations that are silky, lightweight, and glide over the skin. I search for formulas that contain botanical ingredients–a few being jojoba oil, vitamin E, camellia seed oil, or squalane to make sure that they will provide moisture to the wearer throughout the day,” says Nicole Cudzilo, a Santa Fe-based makeup artist.

Whether you're after a dewy glow or a matte finish, full coverage or a sheer tint, we've rounded up a list of the best foundations for dry skin. These go-to moisturizing foundations will make your skin glow like never before. Cheers to finding your new favorite foundation!


About the Expert:

Nicole Cudzilo has been a beauty photographer and professional makeup artist for more than a decade. She specializes in creating healthy and naturally glowing skin and is currently VAPOUR Beauty’s National Makeup Artist.

1. Best Doe-Foot Applicator:

WANDER BEAUTY Nude Illusion Liquid Foundation

WANDER BEAUTY Nude Illusion Liquid Foundation
Courtesy of WANDER BEAUTY

“Dry skin types will want to avoid foundation formulas that will sit on the skin and accentuate flaky patches, as well as formulas that will dry out the skin further. Skip heavy powders and any formulas that have alcohol listed as one of the first few ingredients, as these will only dry the skin out more,” says Nicole.

This dewy liquid foundation with buildable coverage makes skin look smooth and glowy, and it’s also infused with tons of hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, passiflora incarnata extract, lotus extract, and niacinamide—all of which help your skin retain moisture and smooth skin.

"This foundation is magical," writes one Ipster. "It goes on so well and blends like a miracle."

2. Best 2-in-1 Moisturizer and Foundation:

IT COSMETICS Bye Bye Foundation Full Coverage Moisturizer™ with SPF 50+

IT COSMETICS Bye Bye Foundation Full Coverage Moisturizer™ with SPF 50+

Equal parts moisturizer and full-coverage foundation (plus sunscreen), this formula provides just as much hydration as it does skin-perfecting powers. It features a broad spectrum SPF 50+ protection, making it ideal for those days when you know you'll be out in the sun. You'll never have to worry about creasing or cracking with this product, as the pigments seamlessly float on top of your skin to give it a glowing, satin finish every time.

There is a lot of hydration in this formula—enough to skip moisturizing altogether. But if your skin is prone to excess dryness or flaking, you could prime your skin with a moisturizer or hydrating facial mist before using this product.

3. Best Long-Lasting Formula:

BEAUTYBLENDER® Bounce™ Liquid Whip Long Wear Foundation

BEAUTYBLENDER® Bounce™ Liquid Whip Long Wear Foundation
Courtesy of SEPHORA

This foundation uses an exclusive HyperWhip process to create a fluffy texture that blends into skin seamlessly and feels weightless. Matte finishes can be tricky for those with dry skin, but this one offers a shine-free finish that doesn’t accentuate the dryness, thanks to  hydrating hyaluronic acid. Expect this top-rated formula to stay put for up to a full 24 hours.

4. Best Vitamin E & Antioxidant-Packed:

TARTE Amazonian Clay 16-Hour Full Coverage Foundation

TARTE Amazonian Clay 16-Hour Full Coverage Foundation
Courtesy of TARTE

This is a true best-selling foundation, plus it's widely talked about within the makeup artist and influencer communities. Described by TARTE as a ‘soft matte mousse’, this formula has great benefits for those with dry skin.

You’ll be sure to find the right match for your skin as the shade range for this foundation spans 70 colors. It promises to never cake or crease, and the formula is praised for being oil-free, as well. It feels soft on skin with the help of vitamin E and antioxidants, and immediately reduces the appearance of fine lines when blended into skin.

5. Best Skincare-Ingredient Focused:

JOSIE MARAN Vibrancy Argan Oil Foundation Fluid

JOSIE MARAN Vibrancy Argan Oil Foundation Fluid

Here's a foundation formula that's as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. Argan oil is the hero ingredient in all JOSIE MARAN products and this foundation is no exception. The nourishing oil is rich in fatty acids like oleic and vitamin E to keep skin intensely hydrated all day long. Consider this the ideal blend of skincare and makeup.

"Loved this foundation," says Ipster Viet. "It was a perfect match for my skin tone and didn't dry out my skin."

6. Best BB Cream:

PURLISSE BEAUTY Perfect Glow BB Cream SPF 30

PURLISSE BEAUTY Perfect Glow BB Cream SPF 30

If you're looking for sheer, hydrating, and lightweight coverage, give this BB cream a shot. Not only will it help to moisturize skin, it's also formulated with ingredients like goji berry and jasmine to help boost your skin's natural radiance. As a bonus, this formula is also oil-free, so if you are sensitive or blemish-prone, you can rest assured this won’t irritate your skin.

"I absolutely love this. I can’t say enough good things. It gives that natural, easy-to-achieve, smooth, glowing skin," one Ipster says.

7. Best Skin Tint:

CALIRAY Freedreaming Skin Wellness Diffusing Tint

CALIRAY Freedreaming Skin Wellness Diffusing Tint
Courtesy of CALIRAY

Looking for a lightweight foundation? Let us introduce you to what could possibly be the greatest skin tint of all time. The lightweight liquid texture provides medium coverage while allowing your skin to still look like skin. Freckles will shine through, even though your skin tone will be even and redness will be toned down.

Less is definitely more with this product. All you need is a little dot on each section of your face that you can blend out with your fingers for a natural, sun kissed finish. “You don’t want to make dry skin look drier by kicking up any flaky spots, so your technique is crucial. Try using clean fingers, a dense brush or damp sponge to tap or stipple your products on instead of using a circular buffing or swiping motion,” says Nicole. Start by applying this skin tint with your fingers, then blend out the edges with a beauty blender.

Make sure to shake it well before each use because the formula tends to separate otherwise. You can skip using a concealer with this skin tint as well, it’s the perfect consistency to add a little under your eyes.

8. Best for Dry to Oily Skin:

PÜR Love Your Selfie™ Foundation

PÜR Love Your Selfie™ Foundation

We have a special place in our heart for a great multitasking product and this natural-finish foundation certainly fits the bill. This richly pigmented, medium-coverage formula manages to conceal and correct imperfections, and infuse skin with vitamins and minerals in one fell swoop. Mature skin types will love the invigorating combination of ginseng, green tea, and vitamin B, which helps boost cell metabolism and makes skin look plumper.

One Ipster found that this foundation even helped her with oil control. "I’ve been looking for a good foundation that covers a lot without the pasty foundation look," she writes. "I was also trying to find something good to control my oily skin. This is by far the best foundation I’ve ever used!"

9. Best Glowy Finish:

THE ORGANIC PHARMACY Hydrating Foundation

THE ORGANIC PHARMACY Hydrating Foundation
Courtesy of THE ORGANIC PHARMACY

This is a lightweight, buildable coverage cream foundation with light-reflecting particles that make you look like you’re glowing from the inside out. Plant stem cells and hyaluronic acid combine for effortless radiance in this lightweight, glowy satin finish formula. Apply one layer with your fingers for a sheer tint (not unlike tinted moisturizer) or build up with a makeup brush or sponge for a go-to glow that's never cakey or flaky.

10. Best Foundation Stick:

BOBBI BROWN Skin Foundation Stick

BOBBI BROWN Skin Foundation Stick
Courtesy of BOBBI BROWN

If foundation sticks are your jam (let’s be honest, they’re so convenient) then you’ll want to check out this one from BOBBI BROWN next time you’re shopping at Sephora.

11. Best Drugstore:

COVERGIRL Clean Fresh Skin Milk Foundation

COVERGIRL Clean Fresh Skin Milk Foundation
Courtesy of ULTA

We swear, this TikTok viral product is sold out almost every time we go to Ulta. It’s that good! It’s honestly very similar to the CALIRAY Skin Tint, offering medium coverage, which leaves your skin looking nothing but healthy and sunkissed. We find this one a bit more fluid when blending it into skin... after-all, it is a ‘skin milk’.

This product gives dry skin the moisture boost it needs with coconut and aloe, which provide the perfect dewy finish for that no-makeup-makeup-look.

12. Best for Mature Skin:

RMS BEAUTY “Un” Cover-Up Cream Foundation

RMS BEAUTY “Un” Cover-Up Cream Foundation
Courtesy of RMS BEAUTY

Mature or aging skin is often very dry, so powder formulas and matte foundations are a no-go. They just don’t sit well within the skin and can actually draw more attention to fine lines and creases.

On the flip side, some cream foundations can be much too heavy on mature skin. However, this formula from RMS Beauty is amazingly creamy and lightweight with just enough coverage to even out skin tone and reduce any redness, for a smooth canvas.

“I love using the warmth of my fingers to tap and melt foundations onto the skin for a super smooth finish,” says Nicole. Try this method when applying this rich, nourishing cream foundation. It leaves behind a luminous, dewy finish which we love.

Want to learn more about beauty products suitable for your skin type? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.t

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Article Last Updated September 16, 2022 12:00 AM