How to apply makeup on dry skin

April 1, 2020

How to apply makeup on
Dry Skin

Learn expert tips and tricks to make applying foundation on dry skin easy, so your complexion can stay glamorous and glowing throughout the day, whatever you get up to.

Makeup should always enhance your natural beauty, but sometimes putting a full coverage foundation on dry skin can leave it looking cakey and mask-like. This is especially something to consider as you mature and your skin changes, it’s important to switch up the beauty products you use dependant on your skin type and desired outcome.

By opting for lighter weight, hydrating formulas, you can still get a radiant, healthy-looking complexion. Read on to discover helpful advice from our makeup artists on how to create the perfect base when your skin is on the drier side.


Before you even consider applying foundation to dry skin it’s important to make sure your face is properly hydrated. Start by dampening a cotton pad with some quality cleanser, the Decode Makeup Remover is a great option here, swipe it over your eyes and lips to get rid of any impurities (and last night’s leftover lipstick!) Our lightweight formula contains coconut oil, squalene and aloe vera gel that help prevent moisture loss while also cleansing and soothing your skin. It leaves no oily film or residue and feels just like water. 

Our next makeup tip for dry skin is to follow up with a light layer of hydrating toner, we love to use Dermologica’s Antioxidant Hydramist, spritz it over your cheeks, forehead and chin. This specific peptide toner will help rehydrate and firm up your skin, leaving it perfectly prepped for makeup. Alternatively, if you want to pamper yourself a little more, then you could try a sheet mask. The SK-II Facial Treatment Mask is enriched with pitera to give a huge hit of hydration, so put it on, sit back and relax and after 15 minutes your skin will be plumped up and ready for your base.


Once you’ve cleansed, work a nourishing serum, like The Body Shop’s Vitamin E serum, into your skin for a radiant glow. Not only will it help to rehydrate your face, but the added hyaluronic acid and wheatgerm oil will plump you up giving the appearance of reduced fine lines and wrinkles.

If your skin is particularly dry, you might want to layer something slightly thicker, similar to the Vitamin E Moisture Cream from The Body Shop over the top for an intense dose of hydration. 


When it comes to applying makeup on dry or dehydrated skin, less is more. Heavy foundations will sit in fine lines and exaggerate wrinkles, so instead opt for something lighter like a BB Cream.

Our award-winning Radiate Beauty Balm is lightweight and easy to blend, so you can get a natural look that can be layered up if you want more coverage in certain places. Use a fingertip to apply it to the centre of your face and smooth it outwards for a natural coverage.  The formula contains pectin and argan seed oil, as well as SPF 15 to help prevent signs of ageing. With two new shades just added to the collection, you should be able to find the perfect match for your skin tone.


Only have a high coverage foundation to hand? Then try mixing it with your favourite moisturiser. This will help to thin out the formula as well as making it dewier, so your skin can look even more glowy. The trick is to try to recreate a complexion that seems as real as possible, so a little texture and shine is much better than a matte, airbrushed look.


If you google ‘how to apply makeup/foundation on dry skin’, you’ll find very few tutorials that recommend a brush—and for good reason. Applying foundation with your fingers or a sponge is much easier if your skin is dry, as you can get a nice, even—and most importantly—natural look.

A damp beauty blender will keep foundations from turning patchy and flaky, while warm fingers can help formulas to melt into the skin.


Dry skin often looks drier if it’s covered in powder, so instead set your makeup with a hydrating face mist. Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Skin Mist not only holds your look in place but also provides a thin, silky layer of moisture to your makeup so you’ll look radiant all day long. It will help prevent caking and can give your makeup an extra boost if it starts to dry out as the day goes on.

We hope these makeup tips for dry skin have given you a little inspiration for slaying your makeup whatever your plans. Keep an eye out for more advice direct from our makeup artists coming soon.