Skip to main content

The best foundation for dry skin

The best foundation for dry skin

Picking the right foundation for your skin can be a tricky task as it is, but when you have dry skin, that task can be even more daunting. We all need a little helping hand some days to blur imperfections and make ourselves feel great, and foundation provides a healthy looking base that makes us feel more alive. 

The problem with a lot of foundations is that the consistency can often be too thick or creamy, which when applied to dry skin can cake or become flaky over the course of the day, which is not a look we think anyone is trying to achieve. If you’ve struggled to find a foundation that is compatible with your skin, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve scoured the internet to find out who’s saying what about the best foundations for dry skin, and compiled the top rated into a list right here for you. 

Moisturising will of course help hydrate your skin before you apply your chosen base, but before buying, consider the finish you want. Whether you want a matte finish or a dewy glow, the best foundation to target dry skin is those which don’t contain too many harsh chemicals. Water-based foundations and those with naturally moisturising ingredients are the ones you want to focus on, and then it’s up to you as to what type of foundation you want based on the level of coverage you like. Powders like those from BareMinerals may seem counter-intuitive for dry skin, but they are all natural and provide a very light base which is great for those who don’t want or need full coverage. 

If you like to achieve a more dewy and flawless finish, liquid foundations are the most popular choice. They will glide on smoothly and provide a thin layer of coverage without becoming too cakey. If you find that’s even too much, you might want to consider looking at our list of the best BB creams (listed above) instead. 

Don’t forget to pick the right shade for you, depending on whether you prefer a warm glow or cool finish, and don’t always assume the most expensive foundation is the best one for you. We’ve done our best to cover all bases, so have a read through our list to help guide you in the right direction. 

The best foundation for dry skin

1. Mac Studio Face and Body Foundation

Get a sheer glow and a make-up artist finish with Mac’s moisturising foundation

Best for: Sheer coverage
Size: 50ml
Finish: Satin
Shades available: 13+
Reasons to buy
+Not too thick+Long-wearing
Reasons to avoid
-Takes a while to dry

For those who are after full coverage but want to avoid thick and sticky foundations, Mac’s Studio Face and Body Foundation is highly rated for its natural sheer finish that doesn’t feel too heavy on the skin. Users found they could wear this all day without their skin becoming cakey, and it can be built up to provide heavier coverage when needed. 

It takes a while to dry and it’s not ideal for oily skin, but ladies who use this foundation really do consider it the lightest of light foundations that doesn’t compromise on coverage. It comes in loads of different shades so you’re bound to find the perfect one to suit your skin tone. 

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation

2. Nars Sheer Glow Foundation

Even out your skin tone and finish with a sheer glow

Best for: Even out skin tone
Size: 30ml
Finish: Sheer glow
Shades available: 20+
Reasons to buy
+Contains anti-oxidants +Not too shiny
Reasons to avoid
-No pump 

If you’re someone who doesn’t like the dewy finish but feel that matte foundations make your dry skin more prominent, then you can expect to get on with the sheer glow finish from this Nars foundation. Those who bought this foundation say they wouldn’t change again due to its ability to even skin tone for a natural finish. 

Some were skeptical about how thin the product is, but in actual fact it is said to go on nicely and dry quickly with no flaking throughout the day. The only annoying thing about this foundation is that it doesn’t have a pump, so beware not to tip too much product out of the bottle. 

Chantecaille Future Skin Oil-Free Foundation

3. Chantecaille Future Skin Oil-Free Foundation

A luxurious oil-free foundation is a gel texture which is hydrating for skin

Best for: Refreshing feel
Size: 30g
Finish: Light-reflecting
Shades available: 14+
Reasons to buy
+Buildable formula+Infused with Aloe Leaf 
Reasons to avoid
- Pricey 

This foundation certainly looks luxurious, and those who have tried it say it definitely feels luxurious, too. This is a unique gel formula which is infused with Aloe Leaf and Camellia Sinensis extract to really moisturise the skin, and the water-based formula means you won’t expect flaky skin throughout the day with this product. 

It is pricey, but users find this foundation easy to apply like a moisturiser and say it feels like a second skin, with no need to add powder or anything else to set it in place. 

YSL Touche Eclat Le Teint Foundation

4. YSL Touche Eclat Le Teint Foundation

A light-reflecting foundation that provides full coverage

Best for: Coverage
Size: 30ml
Finish: Light-reflecting
Shades available: 19 +
Reasons to buy
+Thick but not heavy+Easy to blend
Reasons to avoid
-Shades come up darker 

If you’re a fan of the Touche Eclat concealer, then this foundation could work well for your skin. Unlike some of the very watery foundations, this formula is a little thicker but it is still said to feel lightweight on the skin. It is designed to reflect the light off your skin to give you a radiant glow, and is also regarded as very good at covering blemishes. Users have found that the shades come up a little darker, so it’s always best to go a shade lighter than your natural skin tone for a flawless, natural look. 

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream

5. Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream

A tinted moisturiser for those who want something totally natural

Best for: Tinted moisturiser
Size: 35ml
Finish: Dewy
Shades available: 16+
Reasons to buy
+Gel consistency +Lightweight
Reasons to avoid
- Not full coverage 

Opting for a tinted moisturiser over a full foundation can always be a good option for dry skin, especially when you’re on holiday. They are generally lighter and kinder to the skin, and this gel formula is designed to allow the skin to breathe while still giving you a healthy looking glow. 

If you’re used to wearing full foundation, it might take you a little while to get used to the feel of this tinted gel, but those who persevered with it said their skin felt totally rejuvenated and problematic skin also began to clear up after regular use. 

Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation

6. Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation

A brightening foundation that allows skin to breathe

Best for: Brightening
Size: 30ml
Finish: Dewy
Shades available: 9+
Reasons to buy
+Hydrating +Brightens skin
Reasons to avoid
-Dewy finish can look a little oily

For those who find that thick and heavy foundations not only dry out their skin, but cause it to break out, then Benefit’s Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation might just change that. This is a brightening foundation, so if you’re used to having a warm glow, this might look and feel a little different. 

However, the formula is extremely lightweight and buildable, allowing you to achieve a coverage that should last all day. If you prefer a matte finish then this foundation might look a little too dewy for you. 

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation

7. Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation

A fruit-infused foundation for healthy looking skin

Best for: Healthy glow
Size: 30ml
Finish: Semi-matte
Shades available: 15+
Reasons to buy
+Long-wearing+Dewy feel
Reasons to avoid
-Too watery for some

This Bourjois foundation is a mix between a full coverage foundation and a tinted moisturiser. The formula contains apricot, melon and apple which are used to help hydrate your skin and provide a radiant glow which lasts all day. Users are very impressed with the texture of this foundation, saying it goes on smoothly and blends evenly.  If you want something of medium coverage, you can expect this foundation to do the job nicely with a matte finish. 


Bring your cheeks to life with the best cream blushers

Check out our pick of the best dry skin lotions too