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Makeup Tips for Dry Skin

If you have dry or dehydrated skin, first, know that there is a difference between the two. Dry skin is a skin type (your skin lacks oil), whereas dehydrated skin is a skin condition (your skin lacks water). If you suffer from either and are a person who also wears makeup, you’ve most likely experienced cracking, creasing, and caking foundation. When your makeup fails in that way, not only does it look bad, but it can also make dry skin even worse. The whole point of makeup is to look better and feel good, so here are a few tweaks that help everyday makeup look better on dry skin.

Skin prep, or lack thereof, is going to impact the way your makeup sets. For those of us with dry skin, it may seem that heavy moisturizer is the most effective means of combatting dryness. However, applying skincare in thin layers creates a more hydrated canvas for makeup. Wiping on thick creamy lotion in one go can drown the skin, which then won’t absorb the product thoroughly. When not fully absorbed, the product will sit on top of your skin, leading to pilling or flaking foundation. So, instead of slathering on a rich cream in the morning, smooth several thin layers of light-to-midweight skincare products on your face. An effective moisturizer as we transition from winter to spring is Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Lotion, which consists of a water gel for both the face and neck. Be sure to give each layer a chance to sink in before applying the next.

By applying lighter layers, you can skip some of the steps of traditional prep, like primer. Makeup primer has been seen as the glue that holds foundation and concealer onto the skin and prevents creasing. But if you apply those light layers of skincare properly, you may not need primer at all. So, there’s some time and money saved!

Regardless of whether you use primer, don’t feel that moisturizing only happens in the mornings at home. Pop a barrier repair stick into your day bag for on-the-go hydration. Barrier repair sticks act like an emergency hydrator or a spot moisturizer on dry patches where makeup may be cracking. The areas where we tend to experience makeup cracks the most are places where the face is moving, mostly around the nose, mouth, and eyes. When your face moves, your makeup moves, so applying a barrier balm like Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Skin Barrier Repair Balm with Squalane in those areas throughout the day helps ensure the makeup has as much moisture as possible to avoid cracks.

Once your skin is prepped and you have an on-the-go moisturizing stick at the ready, then you can start applying actual makeup. One fun trick to achieving a more natural look, no matter your skin type, is to “cocktail” blush and bronzer. Mixing shades can create a nice flush that looks more natural than just slapping on a single-tone blush. I find that tints and liquid formulas are the easiest to blend versus powders. You’ll want to look for blushes and bronzers with built-in SPF like Nudestix’s Nudescreen Blush Tint in SPF 30 to protect your skin for the sunnier days ahead. You’ll also want to use the back of your hand to mix products, not in the products themselves. This is not only less messy, but it’ll give you a preview of how the color will appear on your skin. Start lightly and build up for more color and higher impact.

Akin to color is highlighter. You may typically use this on the apples of your cheeks or around the eyes, but to elevate your makeup look, consider forehead highlights. With a dewy highlighter like Milk’s Dewy Cream Highlighter Stick, apply it to the sides of the forehead, not the middle, to catch the light for a bit of a glow around your face. Highlighter can also work as an additional moisturizer and is less likely to crease or cake.

Lastly, concealer. The typical makeup routine has you doing prep, foundation, concealer, and then adding color via blush and shadows. But with dryer skin, it helps save concealer until the last step or skip it altogether. Instead of doubling down on your base with what is essentially more base on the problem areas, shift this to the end, and you’ll find you won’t need as much, if any. The work of blush, bronzer, and highlighter can act as concealer, giving your face an overall healthy glow and taking attention away from blemishes and discoloration concealer usually covers. Plus, if you skip concealer on the places your face moves most, as mentioned above, you’ll avoid potential cracking altogether.

Whether you have dry or dehydrated skin, makeup can help elevate your look. Hopefully, these few tips can help elevate that look even higher. If you prefer to go without makeup, great, but be sure to moisturize and use sun protection. Also, drink water; everyone should be drinking more water.