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How To Apply Makeup To Dry Skin

Beauty Hacks,    Makeup,    Skincare

How To Apply Makeup To Dry Skin

Posted by LiveGlam on Jan 13, 2022

Having dry skin can be a holes-a** lifestyle! Not only can it cause you to feel uncomfortable, it can make your daily facepaint a real so-and-so. However, there are plenty of tricks to make your skin feel calm, hydrated, and glowing despite the dryness. 

Here’s how to apply makeup to dry skin. 

Take time to prep properly

How you prepare your skin before applying makeup is absolutely crucial and will make or break the end result. Applying a hydrating foundation to dehydrated skin won’t work, in other words. 

Here are some simple steps: 

  • Use a hydrating cream or oil cleanser that will cleanse your pores without stripping moisture. Something like the Neutrogena Ultra Light Face Cleansing Oil ($8.13) is a great (and affordable) place to start. 
  • Gently exfoliate any dry patches by using your face cloth and gentle pressure. This will remove any flaky skin without irritation. 
  • Apply a hyaluronic acid serum to freshly-cleansed skin
  • Apply your rich and hydrating moisturizer (with SPF for daytime)
  • Press facial oil into your face
  • Wait a few moments to allow the products to sink into the skin

Double-up the moisture with a hydrating primer 

I’m not always a believer in primer, to be honest, as I don’t think it’s always necessary. However, a moisture-locking primer can be a game-changing step for those with dry skin. 

The layer of hydration can work as a barrier between your complexion products and any dry texture. This helps to reduce the risk of foundation and powder clinging to dry patches. 

Apply your primer after your skincare, as the first step in your makeup routine. 

Tips for newbies: look for primers with hydrating, glow-giving, and “youth-focused” rhetoric and keep away from anything with “mattifying” or “oil absorbing” written on the packaging. I love the Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Hydrating Primer ($39).

Choose foundation wisely

There are plenty of ultra high-end foundations out there that promise to smooth and plump dry skin. However, you don’t need to shell out wads of cash for a good base. 

My favorite is still Mac Face and Body ($35). It’s still reasonably pricey, but worth it for the hydration, skin-like finish, and buildable coverage. And hey, you can always go for a tinted moisturizer or BB cream with a bit of oomph, especially if you’ve got reasonably clear and even skin. 

A gel-based foundation or tint similar to this will glide over your dry skin as opposed to clinging to it like fuller coverage, more mattifying products will. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin are great to look out for as they draw moisture to the skin. 

Tip: you don’t have to forgo full coverage with a light foundation! Use a lighter-coverage-yet-super-hydrating foundation over the whole face. Then, use a moisturizing, full-coverage concealer where you need it to get that flawless look. 

Opt for cream products

When it comes to blush, bronzer, and highlight, cream products can revive dry skin. While many powders are so high-tech these days they don’t necessarily exacerbate dry skin, creams are still the smartest pick. The emolient ingredients and soft, skin-like finish of creams glide over dry patches and can even offer some light skincare benefits. 

Press cream blush onto the cheeks with your fingers, then follow with a rich and luscious highlight to pack a glow. Avoid glitter and large shimmer chunks like the plague as they can shine a light on dryness and texture. My top recommendation for blush is the Nudestix Nudies Bloom All Over Dewy Color ($38). These are insanely dewy and come in the prettiest shades. I use mine daily (the shade Cherry Blossom Babe). For highlight, I adore MAC Cream Color Base in Hush ($25), or RMS Living Luminizer ($38)


To keep your makeup fresh and your skin hydrated all day, keep a facial spray on hand. This will relieve that tight feeling that can occur during ultra dry phases, and give your makeup a new life. I like LiveGlam’s very own Mist Independent for a lightweight and soothing skin pick-me-up. 




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