Basics Baby: Foundation for Dry Skin

As promised, I’m back with another foundation recommendation post – this time for dry skin. If you’re an oily skin girl, I would suggest skipping this post and moving on to the next post or simply click But if you have dry, normal or combination leaning towards dry skin, this is your spot.

For the previous post I actually wrote at length about understanding our skin, and specifically for oily skin, knowing how oily the skin is before jumping into a decision on which foundation to purchase. The same logic applies for dry skin too (and any other skin type for that matter). Our skin can sometimes be an enigma. While we think our skin is dry, it sometimes produces excessive shine after a few hours of makeup wear, and leads us to believe our skin might be oily. But then after washing our face at night, our skin’s peeling. So what’s the deal?


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How dry is my skin?

Dry skin can be vulnerable to external factors and conditions. While oily skin girls are more prone to have issues with larger pores, oil clogging pores, congested skin and acne, dry skin girls have their own set of vulnerabilities too, namely redness, flakiness, dry patches, sensitivity, fine lines and wrinkles. But like oily skin, dry skin is largely genetic – it is a trait passed down from your parents. Which means you can’t totally avoid it. But of course you can care for it and give it what it needs to stay balanced, and less dry. Some of you may have slightly to moderately dry skin characterized by a general under-production of natural oils which explains why your complexion might appear dull and void of radiance and a healthy glow. Others may have a more severe case of dry skin, evident from dry patches, peeling and flakiness.

At this point, it is important to differentiate between dry and dehydrated skin for the association between the two is commonly misconstrued. While the former is a natural occurrence, the latter is almost totally a factor of external conditions. Being in a room powered by air-conditioner or heater for long hours, harsh winters, consumption of alcohol and caffeine, lack of water, amongst others can cause your skin to suffer from dehydration. Symptoms of dehydrated skin include peeling and flaking, skin texture that may appear and feel rough, extra sensitive skin, itchy skin and accentuation of fine lines and wrinkles. In certain instances, dehydrated skin may also behave in an unstable manner by over-producing sebum under external conditions such as sun exposure but return to its dry and flaky condition sans the sun. Now, since dehydrated skin is caused by external factors, the good news is that it is reversible.

If you have dehydrated skin, I would highly suggest that you treat your skin and allow it to heal prior to applying makeup especially on an everyday basis. The reason being, dehydrated skin can actually stem from either dry or oily skin. Thus if you do not treat the problem first, you might end up using the wrong foundation for your skin type. Try to be more aware of and minimize or do away with the exact external conditions that have been causing your skin to be dehydrated. Be sure to add and lock in the hydration and moisture back into your skin. Consider the use of moisturizing serums/gels/creams/oils that contain hyaluronic acid (a superb moisturizing agent), glycerin (retains moisture) and oils that mimic your natural oils such as jojoba oil. To ensure your dehydrated skin heals quicker, never leave the house in the day without slapping on sunscreen.

Which foundation for my skin?

Similar to how I recommended foundations for oily skin, I will be suggesting these products for different levels of dryness. And I would also like to reiterate this bit – Do note that my picks are not based on hype or the popularity of products. My focus is always on formula and ingredients first as I strongly believe that whatever you apply to your face, especially if you apply it every single day, will definitely have a great effect not just on your skin condition but your skin aging process. If the foundation passes the formula/ingredients test i.e. free of skin irritating or skin damaging ingredients including alcohol, fragrances etc., then I would experiment with its application, finish and longevity. Of course if hyped and popular products pass both tests, I would recommend. I would also like to add that these foundations work best if you have prepped and primed your skin with products that meet your skin needs, as well as set the foundation with the appropriate setting tools.


Foundations for very dry skin

If you have prominent dry patches, fine lines, peeling and flaking as a result of your very dry skin, it is important that you avoid any mattifying or powder finish foundation. Those will only accentuate whatever that you are trying to cover. I would recommend highly moisturizing foundations (sunscreen included for that added protection) for this skin type, preferably those with a gel or balmy kind of consistency for these tend to contain a much higher amount of emollients that can help retain moisture on your skin throughout the foundation wear.

Dr. Jatt+ Premium BB Beauty Balm SPF 45

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(39.00 USD / 1.5 oz)

Marketed as a moisturizer, sunscreen and treatment serum, Dr Jart’s Premium BB Beauty Balm is essentially a BB cream i.e. a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen. But this is a really good one, and targeted specifically for dry and sensitive skin with issues of dryness, redness and dullness. Its SPF of 45 means ample protection from the sun, and combined with its fragrance-free formula, it is indeed an excellent option for very dry and sensitive skin. It contains a good array of plumping, hydrating and anti-aging ingredients that are sure to restore your skin elasticity at least throughout the foundation wear. This product dispenses as a creamy lotion and glides easily over skin on application. What’s amazing about this foundation is despite its balmy consistency and intense hydration, it feels lightweight and sets to a natural looking satin finish that will definitely complement your skin type.

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream

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(29.50 USD / 1.18 oz)

What the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream is rescuing you from is severely dry skin that is in dire need of moisture – which means this foundation is ideal for very dry skin type! A fragrance-free tinted moisturizer with a gel-cream texture that is easy to apply, this product provides you with a sheer to medium foundation coverage, and gives your skin a dewy, radiant and smooth-looking finish. It is formulated with a host of ingredients that work to replenish, hydrate and nourish your dry skin, along with antioxidants which help protect against environmental stressors i.e. amazing for dry and dehydrated skin!

I’d have to say here that the two products I’ve recommended for very dry skin aren’t technically foundations as they are tinted moisturizers. (I am not able to recommend any foundation per se for very dry skin type as I have not come across any that is ideal specifically for very dry skin. If you have acne or blemishes that require more coverage than the sheer to medium coverage provided by tinted moisturizers, I would recommend mixing in a couple of drops of pure pigments (e.g. Cover FX Custom Cover Drops) with your tinted moisturizer. These pigments only add coverage, and do not alter the consistency and finish of your foundation.


Foundations for moderately to slightly dry skin

I decided to combine the two categories as the foundations I’m about to recommend are suited for dry to normal skin. The choice really depends on the coverage and finish that you’re looking for. Unless you have a huge problem with dry patches and peeling or flakiness (which suggests that you might have very dry skin, not moderately dry skin, so please see above recommendations), these foundations should suit your skin needs and complement your complexion well. I’ll work my way from tinted moisturizer to light-coverage and high-coverage foundation.

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

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(45.00 USD / 1.9 oz)

The NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer is my definite go-to when I feel that my skin is in need of a little bit more hydration. I love how lightweight it is on the skin, yet it feels luxuriously moisturizing to the point where my skin looks plumped. It sets to a slightly dewy finish, yet feels like a soft matte to the touch. The coverage is more on the sheer side, and works best if you don’t have anything much (acne and blemishes) to cover. But I notice that it does smooth out my fine lines, and my skin always looks healthier when I apply this foundation.

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Youth-Boosting Perfect Skin Foundation

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(46.00 USD / 1.4 oz)

Another of my go-to for a minimalist natural makeup day, the Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Youth-Boosting Perfect Skin Foundation (my, what a long name for a foundation) is a lightweight formula that gives you a  beautiful natural coverage with a dewy finish. It is a fluid formula that blends impeccably into your skin, and resists settling into your wrinkles and fine lines. If you already have good skin, this foundation will give you a my-skin-but-better effect. If you love the luminous finish of this foundation yet desire higher coverage, pair this with a few drops of pure pigments. This combination will merely add coverage but not compromise the radiant finish.

Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation

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(62.00 USD / 1.01 oz)

If you’re looking for a skin-like foundation that’s moisturizing, long-wearing and feels comfortable on your skin, the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation may be your answer. A water-based foundation that contains an array of hydrating ingredients, this skin-conditioning foundation smoothes and evens out your complexion while providing adequate coverage for minor imperfections. It looks so natural and undetectable on the skin, and your complexion just looks healthy and radiant. It also performs well on combination (leaning towards dry) skin as it is able to smooth out dry patches yet keep oily areas in check.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

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(64.00 USD / 1.0 oz)

For those with slightly dry skin and also looking for a skin-like foundation, the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation will suit you almost as well as the Koh Gen Do. It is a highly raved foundation, and I can understand why. Rather than covering or masking your skin, this foundation enhances it. Its fluid, smooth texture sets to a radiant, silky and very natural skin-like finish with a hint of glow. However, do note that this foundation contains a small amount of fragrance. Though not present in a potent amount, it is still rather chancy for acne-prone and sensitive skin. So if you’re looking to purchase this foundation, be sure to understand your skin and its vulnerabilities well before making that decision.

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

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(39.00 USD / 1.0 oz)

Dry, combination, normal and even acne-prone skin will love this foundation. A fragrance-free, medium to full coverage foundation, the Too Faced Born This Way Foundation is infused with coconut water to replenish skin’s moisture as well as hyaluronic acid to plump up your skin, giving it a firm appearance. This is a perfect foundation for dry skin seeking immediate medium building up to full coverage for this baby is able to conceal redness, acne marks and blemishes easily. The finish is slightly dewy, however given its high coverage, one can definitely tell that you’re wearing makeup. But it delivers a beautiful finish, so you shouldn’t be too bothered about that.

Make Up for Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation

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(43.00 USD / 0.44 oz)

If you’re the up and go, and prefer an easy breezy stick foundation, here’s one suitable for your skin type. The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation has a smooth, creamy formula that sets to a dewy finish. It is definitely lightweight and provides amazing skin-like appearance, most likely because it is developed to create a perfect complexion for camera. Providing medium to full coverage, this stick foundation contains hydrating ingredients to ensure your skin stays healthy and radiant throughout wear. With this in hand, you wouldn’t have to worry about looking like a mess in pictures anymore!


So that’s that for my foundation recommendation series. I hope I have helped girls of various skin types to decide on a suitable foundation. Remember, your skin is one of your biggest assets. So take care of it well and the right foundation will definitely look great on you!


To note: I obviously do not own ALL of these foundations, though I do own a few from the list above. For foundations I do not own, I have either asked for or been given samples from Sephora to try. Hence, I have tested all the products on myself. FYI, I have combination skin.


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