Exactly How to Apply Makeup on Dry Skin in 4 Easy Steps

If you have a dry skin type you are probably familiar with the experience of makeup products clinging onto dry patches and not quite being, uh, “one with the skin”.

If you have really dry skin you may even know about the crumbly mask phenomenon.

Not only is this totally normal, but it is also not a forever thing. It’s something that can be easily remedied with the best products for dry skin, along with some of these extremely helpful skin hacks. 

So, if you want to learn how to make makeup look flawless on dry skin, here are some of our top recommendations. 

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream Illumination SPF 50_How to Apply Makeup on Dry SkinIT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream Illumination SPF 50_How to Apply Makeup on Dry Skin


Step 1: Exfoliate your complexion weekly

Exfoliating your skin works to remove the top layer of dead skin, reducing flakiness and helping your makeup go on more smoothly. 

Unfortunately, exfoliation can also strip your skin of its natural oils, increasing dryness over time.  Balance these competing effects by choosing an exfoliator specifically formulated for dry skin.

Free from physical exfoliants, this gentle, non-abrasive exfoliation treatment thoroughly removes dulling surface debris to improve skin texture. A creamy formula full of resurfacing active ingredients works to keep the skin hydrated while minimising the appearance of pores and smoothing the skin.

The Dermalist Ultra Hydrating Lactic Cleanser is a Lactic acid based milky-gel cleanser that hydrates as it exfoliates. This is a great daily exfoliating step that will help prep the skin for makeup and keep the skin moisturised and balanced. This brightening formula also contains Vitamin C, Niacinamide and Green Tea to keep skin soft and smooth.


Step 2: Don't forget to moisturise (the right way)

Moisturiser is your dry skin's best friend, so selecting a highly emollient moisturiser is an important way to keep the skin hydrated and balanced (not flaky!) 

Moisturising before you apply makeup can help reduce cakiness, and helps create a smooth canvas when applying makeup to dry skin. 

A best-seller for over 30 years, is still one of the most popular skin care products. Suitable for normal skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, and mature skin with a tendency to premature ageing. Creating a protective barrier on the skin’s surface, this hydrating formula contains Rose Oil and Rosehip Extracts to help stimulate collagen production whilst protecting skin’s current collagen reserves.

The hydrating, exfoliating cleanser that gives a glow
The hydrating, exfoliating cleanser that gives a glow

The Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré Moisturiser is a makeup artist favourite because of its emollient ingredients and smooth texture. Beeswax and Shea Butter locks moisture in, while Mineral oil prevents moisture loss. This versatile product can also be used as a primer, mask or a makeup remover.


Step 3: Prep your skin before applying foundation

There are very few things that makeup primers can’t do. But this can make it tricky when it comes to choosing the right one for your skin type. 

If you have dry skin there are a few things you should be looking for when looking for a primer, such as: hydrating, illuminating and smoothing.

Basically, you want a primer that's going to plump up the skin, give dull skin a glow and help your makeup glide on easily. Here are some of our favourites that tick every box.

A lightweight formula that promotes luminosity and radiance. This brightening face cream is infused with antioxidants, botanicals and nutrient-rich vitamins. Designed to banish dull, flat or tired skin, this unique brightening moisturiser will smooth, improve clarity and hydrate skin. Available in pink, peach, silver and gold, this cream can be used on all skin types.

The Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Pre-Foundation Primer is a rich, conditioning formula that is perfect for dehydrated skin. With a gel texture it’s perfect for smoothing the skin, helping the makeup to glide on. This lightweight formula is perfect for those who find moisturising formulas too heavy and clogging. So, if you have dry flaky skin when applying foundation, we recommend trying this silky formula packed with Vitamin E, Glycerine and Chamomile.


Step 4: Choose the right makeup for dry skin

If you’re trying to figure out how to apply foundation on dry skin I have two words for you: dewy finish. A moisturising foundation is going to blend in with ease and is less likely to crumble, cake or dry out the skin. 

Natural and satin finishes work well also, but we do recommend avoiding powder foundations and adding moisturiser to your foundation if you do choose something more matte. 

If you’re still struggling to apply foundation to dry, flaky skin then try something like a BB cream or tinted moisturiser. The best way to apply BB cream to dry skin is with your fingers (to warm up the product and melt it into the skin) or with a damp beauty sponge like the asap pure beauty blender.

The IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream Illumination SPF 50 is a dewy, light reflecting formula that feels like the best of both worlds. This CC cream feels like a cross between a tinted moisturiser and a full coverage foundation, being easily blendable, packed with pigment and also feels lightweight and skin-like. Skin loving ingredients include Niacinamide and SPF50 for skin protection.

This cult classic liquid foundation seamlessly applies and blends to skin for a a flawless, lit-from-within glow. With a light to medium coverage and a buildable finish, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation is suitable for all skin types but best on combination or normal to dry skin types.


Wondering if Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation is worth the splurge? Check out our staff reviews and first impressions in the video below. (Spoiler alert: It's already one of our Beauty Editor's new favourite foundations.)

Our First Impressions of Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation: