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Repairing dry skin isn’t a job for just your skincare products—your makeup should also share some of these responsibilities. And as a base, foundation should not only create a seamless, even finish, but also help to keep your skin as comfortable as possible.
“While you should be aware of ingredients, especially with dry skin, you also want to understand exactly what you are looking for,” says Latisha Rankin, a makeup artist based in NYC. According to Rankin, moisture is essentially a seal that ensures water doesn’t escape, which makes the skin look and feel smoother. Hydration, on the other hand, helps to absorb water from the atmosphere to your skin and keep it there. While both are ideal benefits for dry skin, it’s up to you to choose which one suits your skin best.
With those tips in mind, explore the best foundations for dry skin below.
Best Overall: Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation
Reviewers describe this liquid foundation as lightweight, pillowy soft, and totally worth the cost. Its silky texture allows it to melt into the skin seamlessly—and feels light enough to build coverage without weighing down your face or looking cakey. “It’s also amazing at masking areas of concerns, especially acne scars,” says Rankin.
Celebrity makeup artist Carola Gonzalez is also a fan. "It brings life to your face, transforms it, and makes the skin glow in the most natural, flawless way," she says. "For me, skin is what defines age, and radiant skin will always make one look youthful—and this is exactly what this foundation does."
Best for Dull Skin: Make Up For Ever Reboot Active Care Revitalizing Foundation
Dry skin can sometimes look like tired skin. I know—not the double whammy we need. This liquid foundation, aptly named Reboot, combats that tiredness with a ton of hydration that plumps, softens, and brightens throughout the day. Plus, the texture is right in between creamy and watery, so it’s not too light and not too heavy.
Best for Sensitive Skin: ILIA True Skin Serum Foundation
Infused with aloe leaf and jojoba, sensitive and dry skin types will find relief in this soothing and hydrating formula. Reviewers describe it as the perfect lightweight foundation, thanks to its blurring effects that result in a glow that feels and looks natural.
Best for Mature Skin: Pat McGrath Skin Fetish Sublime Foundation
At first, you’ll reach for this foundation solely for its gorgeous bottle. But, it’s the innovative formula inside that’ll have you running to the register. The creamy texture applies smoothly, while the anti-aging ingredients reduce the appearance of wrinkles, blurs fine lines, and improves the look of enlarged pores. The result? A soft focus and airbrushed finish.
Best for Dark Spots: NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation
“This formula gives the skin a silky, satin finish and a healthy glow,” raves Rankin. It does that with the help of scarlet spiderling root extract, a key ingredient in reducing discoloration and neutralizing dark spots. One reviewer calls it her summer foundation because it can withstand extreme heat without budging.
Best CC Cream: IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream with SPF 50+
This CC cream is a best seller for many reasons. It combines everything you love from a skincare product, like anti-aging properties and hydrating ingredients, and all the things you love in an all-in-one coverup. It’s color-correcting, smoothening, priming, and concealing—making this cream the star in your makeup bag.
"I use It Cosmetics CC Cream in Medium most days because it's super easy to apply, gives me great coverage, and it has an SPF of 50," says celebrity makeup artist Monika Blunder.
Best Tinted Moisturizer: Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint
Users love this super sheer formula because it doesn’t mask your imperfections, but rather, enhances their uniqueness. The 12 shades are adaptable and breathable, so your skin always comes through. The best part is that it’s totally foolproof—you can massage it in without a mirror and still end up looking fresh-faced and ready to take the day.
Best Medium Coverage: Bite Beauty Changemaker Supercharged Micellar Foundation
Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue loves this antioxidant-packed foundation and we can see why. The formula features innovative micellar technology which essentially copies your skin’s texture, which means your result is as natural-looking as it gets.
Best Full Coverage: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Hydrating Longwear Foundation
If you’re looking for the most perfect, flawless coverage, this cult-favorite foundation is exactly what you need. Like an Instagram filter in a bottle, it evens out your skin almost instantly. Use a few pumps for major coverage, or use 1-2 pumps to spot treat.
Pro Pick: The Lip Bar Skin Serum Foundation
One of Rankin’s personal favorites, this creamy foundation combines both skincare and makeup. “It’s super easy to apply and has the ingredient Irish Sea Moss, which provides nourishing vitamins to the skin,” says Rankin. Plus, with the dense built-in brush, you can buff it on the go without any issues.
Best Drugstore: Iman Cosmetics Luxury Radiance Liquid Makeup
With ingredients like vitamin E, magnolia, and cottonseed plant extract, this liquid formula delivers nourishment to your skin. And since it’s oil-free, you won’t experience any greasiness or slickness. Reviewers report that it matches their skin tone perfectly.
Best Stick: Mented Cosmetics Skin by Mented
With this stick foundation, all it takes is a few swipes, a bit of blending, and you’ve got the perfect base. What I love most about this foundation is how you can really target specific areas if full coverage isn’t your thing. Simply swipe onto areas of concern—like any dark circles, discoloration, or uneven texture—and buff it with the foundation brush to give yourself that lit-from-within glow.
Best Matte Finish: Uoma Beauty Say What?! Foundation
If you’re looking for more of a matte finish and personalized formula, this foundation will definitely impress you. While most foundations have a one-size-fits-all formula, this one boasts six unique formulas tailored to your specific skin tone. For example, if you have dark brown skin, your formulation features tomato extract to improve radiance and brighten dull skin. Olive skin? You’ve got rose hybrid extract which reduces sebum production and inflammation.
Found your favorite foundation? Don't forget to prep your skin before applying it.
“Prepping your skin is a very important step,” says Rankin. Use a serum, moisturizer, and primer for the best result. “A serum that’s oil-based would work well here,” she adds. Once you’ve prepped your skin, you can apply your foundation with a makeup sponge or with your fingers.