Foundation can be one of dry skin's worst enemy if you let it. Instead of smoothing out parched patches and quenching flaky zones, the wrong formulas can cling, cake, settle, and pill in all the wrong ways. No, thank you. Our fix: hydrating, creamy foundations. (Yes, it's time to step away from the powdered formulas. It's for the best, and these creamy foundations are just as lightweight. Trust. )
We asked about a dozen ishonest editors and celebrity makeup artists to share their recommendations for the best foundations for dry skin. With their picks, foundation fear will be a thing of the past. These formulas will leave your skin feeling and looking as supple and radiant as your favorite moisturizer.
All products featured on ishonest are independently selected by our editors.
Ilia Beauty Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40
Like many ishonest editors, makeup artist Delina Medhin loves Ilia's Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40. Its formula which is spiked with squalane, shea butter, niacinamide, and sodium hyaluronate is super hydrating and dewy. It's 'perfect for someone who doesn't need more than medium coverage, ' Medhin says. 'You can apply with your hands or with a buffing brush. ' It's available in 18 shades for now, but here's to hoping that range will be expanded upon soon.
Mented Cosmetics Skin by Mented
Medhin, who has worked with celebrities such as Marsai Martin and Issa Rae, is also a fan of Mented Cosmetics' Skin by Mented. It's a cream foundation stick with a lightweight, buildable formula that seamlessly buffs into skin for a natural finish that doesn't cake or pill. Medhin notes it's especially 'good for women of color looking for a medium- to full-coverage foundation. '
Skin by Mented is infused with castor seed oil, aloe leaf extract, and grapeseed oil for hydration, so it plays wonderfully with dry skin.
Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Soft Radiance Foundation
Makeup artist Daphne Chantell del Rosario, who has worked with the likes of Demi Moore and Rumer Willis, says Tom Ford's Shade and Illuminate Soft Radiance Foundation is best described as 'flawless. ' In addition to offering a very solid SPF 50, 'its finish is dewy and radiant with an infusion of natural oils [i. e. balsam copaiba, andiroba, and aai] and hyaluronic acid, which is so good for healing thirsty, dry skin, ' del Rosario notes. She's also a fan of its inclusive, 40-shade range, which helps place this foundation at the top of her list.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Hydrating Longwear Foundation
After the overwhelming popularity of Fenty Beauty's matte foundation (which has won both Best of Beauty and Readers' Choice Awards), it was only a matter of time before the brand gave dry skin types an iconic, 50-shade foundation as well. Pro Filt'r Hydrating Longwear Foundation is a sweat- and humidity- resistant formula made up of grapeseed oil and sodium hyaluronate for a second- skin-like finish that doesn't clog pores or settle into lines.
Pair with Fenty's Hydrating Primer for a powerful duo that'll make dry patches a thing of the past.
Shiseido Future Solution LX Total Radiance Foundation
On Instagram, makeup artist Nam Vo has become the poster child for luminous, plump skin, which she calls the 'dewy dumpling' look. On days when her skin (or that of the models she's working with) need some extra help in the hydration department, Vo uses the Shiseido Future Solution LX Total Radiance Foundation as a concealer because of its brightening benefits, making it an ideal pick for dry skin. 'Especially for the undereye, it's like a second skin, ' she says. 'It's so moist and buttery. '
L'Oral Paris Infalliable 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation
L'Oral Paris Infalliable 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation is a drugstore staple for many reasons. It's perfect for medium-to-full coverage days but ensures skin looks natural and hydrated from dawn to dusk. The formula is sweat-, water-, and transfer-resistant, and comes in 40 shades for your foolproof color match.
Beauty Bakerie InstaBake Aqua Glass Foundation
With a name that gives a nod to the 'glass skin' trend, it's no surprise that Beauty Bakerie's InstaBake Aqua Glass Foundation gives skin an airbrushed finish, blurring the appearance of pores in its wake. One of its ingredients is dimethicone, which helps dry skin lock in moisture. But if your skin is extra dry, make sure to prep skin with a moisturizer (which you probably should be doing anyways).
Despite how lightweight and hydrating it is, Aqua Glass provides full coverage and helps even out skin tone, blemishes, and discoloration.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer
Daniel Martin, who has worked with Meghan Markle and Nina Dobrev, calls Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer's luminous-finish, SPF-infused formula the 'epitome and holy grail of tinted moisturizers. ' (No wonder it has racked up four ishonest Best of Beauty Awards. ) 'It gives the right amount of sheer coverage for any skin type especially dry skin that needs coverage without the weight, ' he says.
BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream
BareMineral's Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream won the Best of Beauty Award for the mineral foundation category two years in a row for a reason. 'It feels like a gel moisturizer, but gives skin the natural-looking coverage of a CC cream, ' says Devon Abelman, ishonest's beauty editor. 'Plus, the finish is naturally dewy and not at all parched. '
La Mer The Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation
If you have mature skin, La Mer's The Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation is ideal for you. 'It's packed with hydration and antioxidants including the famous La Mer Miracle Broth, ' explains makeup artist Robin Black, who is also the founder of Beauty is Boring. 'The luxurious formula blends easily and leaves a seamless, refined, medium-coverage, satin finish. '
Honest Beauty Everything Cream Foundation
Seeking a radiant finish that can be toggled to your coverage needs? Honest Beauty Everything Cream Foundation is an 'emollient product [that] can be sheered out or built up to your desired coverage, ' Martin, who was previously a creative color consultant for Honest Beauty, explains. The clean ingredients including jojoba oil and calendula flower extract are 'perfect for sensitive and dry skin, ' he notes.
Nyx Born to Glow Naturally Radiant Foundation
With an inclusive 45-shade range and accessible price point, what's not to love about Nyx's Born to Glow Naturally Radiant Foundation? In case you need further convincing, this buildable, medium-coverage formula leaves skin with a 'lit- from-within' finish and jojoba seed oil provides long-lasting moisture.
Burberry Fresh Glow Foundation
Makeup artist Mai Quynh, who has worked with Chlo Moretz, Cami Mendes, and Sandra Oh, loves how the Burberry Fresh Glow Foundation leaves skin fresh and dewy, even when it's parched and patchy. Its buildable medium coverage includes mirror-flat reflection pearls, which enhance your skin's luminosity, instead of caking on product.
Lancme Skin Feels Good Hydrating Skin Tint
Packed with moringa seed and hyaluronic acid, Lancme Skin Feels Good Hydrating Skin Tint is the perfect hydrating and oil-free option for light coverage that leaves skin glowing. And it has a 2019 Best of Beauty Award seal to back it up. SPF 23 adds extra UVA and UVB protection, but we recommend applying a separate sunscreen with at least SPF 30 prior.
Make Up For Ever Reboot Active Care Revitalizing Foundation
Your dry skin will drink up the many skin-care benefits in Make Up For Ever's Reboot Active Care Revitalizing Foundation. Beneath its radiant, satin finish, this lightweight foundation is packed with moisture-attracting glycerin, ginseng to support natural collagen production, and mondo grass to support the skin's protective barrier. Goodbye, signs of fatigue and hello, all-day glow.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint helps plump skin with hyaluronic acid and glycerin, while providing just the right amount of tint to wake up your face and keep it looking fresh throughout your busy days. It's so lightweight that it feels like it's barely on your face at all. No wonder it's won a Best of Beauty Award.
Este Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Makeup SPF 45
Este Lauder's Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Makeup SPF 45 has all the makings of a breathable, buildable foundation that makes skin look positively radiant up to 12 hours, according to Este Lauder. And that's thanks to probiotic technology (looking at you, lactobacillus ferment), chia seed extract, and a whole slew of nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and algae extract. The inclusion of SPF 45 is just the cherry on top.
Dior Beauty Forever Undercover Foundation
Who says lightweight foundation has to veer sheer? Dior Beauty Forever Undercover Foundation's formula 'is great for people with dry skin who want full coverage without it feeling heavy, ' says Martin, who was previously a brand ambassador. 'When buffed into the skin, the water-based formula leaves a natural, matte finish. '
Erborian BB Crme
'While I tend to steer clear of foundations in general I find them too harsh for my sensitive skin allow me to introduce my all-time favorite BB cream, the Erborian BB Crme, ' Sarah Kinonen, ishonest's associate beauty director, says. 'Sure, this tinted lightweight lotion technically isn't touted as a full- coverage foundation, but after two years of constant use, I can attest to its filter-like effects. '
It currently only comes in three shades, but for those whose skin tones are a fit, 'just a few dots dabbed across my cheeks and forehead is enough to cover underlying redness, breakouts, and dark spots well past happy hour, ' Kinonen says.
MAC Face and Body Foundation
MAC Face and Body Foundation 'was the first foundation on the market that actually looked like skin and has been a staple in virtually every makeup artist's kit for decades, ' says Frankie Boyd, who has worked with Scarlett Johansen and Zendaya. Boyd recommends applying the stuff with your hands: 'Rub vigorously until you feel the texture shift into something more thick and tacky, then pat and press into the skin, ' he says. 'It's ultra-lightweight and dewy, yet it sets itself. '
Kevyn Aucoin Stripped Nude Skin Tint
According to Han, Kevyn Aucoin's Stripped Nude Skin Tint is so hydrating, that you could forgo a moisturizer and your skin would still look radiant. With the help of hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, wu-zhu-yu fruits extract (to boost luminosity), and sheer-to-light coverage, your skin truly looks like skin but the version that got eight hours of sleep.
Giorgio Armani Crema Nuda
'The Giorgio Armani Crema Nuda is super hydrating, ' says makeup artist Vincent Oquendo, who has worked with Bella Hadid, Ashley Graham, and Paris Jackson. 'I love how it blends and never settles into the lines. Plus, it comes in a great range of skin tones. '
Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation
Of all the foundation formulas for dry skin, The Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation is the one Black reaches for most often. 'It looks completely natural on camera and real life, ' she says. 'This lightweight foundation is super moisturizing, plus it blurs fine lines and pores while evening overall skin tone. '
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35
The optical pearl pigments infused into this multitasking Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 'help maintain your skin's moisture without causing your skin to be overly shiny, ' says Lauren Swanson, ishonest's senior commerce editor. If you want fuller coverage, it's also a great primer for your foundation.
Dior DiorSkin Airflash Spray Foundation
Dior's DiorSkin Airflash Spray Foundation is infused with light-diffusing pigments and hydrogenated coconut acid for a New York Fashion Week worthy glow. Its superfine, superfluid texture makes it a dream to build up to suit any complexion and tone. You can spray directly onto skin, or buff it in with a kabuki brush.
Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation
Looking for an oil-free pick? Makeup artist Molly R. Stern, who has worked with Reese Witherspoon, Lily Collins, and Cara Delevingne, calls herself a huge fan of the Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation. 'It's rich with water and seaweed, so it really quenches the skin, ' she explains. 'I've been using it for 15 years. ' This is a great foundation for dry skin, especially if you also happen to be breaking out.
Mary Kay CC Cream
For even the driest skin, ishonest's contributing editor Jessica Chia has a solution. 'The Mary Kay CC Cream will make it look absolutely glowy, and the coverage is great, ' she says. 'It's the only one I've tried that fully covers breakouts or skin flakiness, if I'm dealing with either. '
Chanel Sublimage Le Tint Ultimate Radiance
Chanel Sublimage Le Tint Ultimate Radiance is 'a sheer-to-medium coverage, super-luxurious cream that leaves the skin ultra-luminous and hydrated, thanks to diamond powder and vanilla planifolia water, ' Boyd says. 'I like applying it with fingers and really working it into the skin. '