The w&h beauty team's favourite foundations for dry skin
If your skin is naturally dry, it can be difficult to find a foundation that hydrates, provides even coverage and lasts all day without flaking. Mature complexions tend to suffer with dryness more than ever, but luckily, new technology means that foundations for dry skin are ever improving. Many now target other skin concerns too, such as sun damage, wrinkles and tightness while concealing, soothing and providing a flawless, natural-looking finish.
When looking at foundations for dry skin, the trick is to look out for ingredients that will comfort and hydrate your complexion, while providing natural coverage. This will ensure that your foundation not only stays on all day, but also works at targeting and healing your skin concerns. It’s a double win!
Ready? Whatever your skin tone or budget, find your perfect foundation for dry skin now with our edit.
Max Factor are pretty consistent when it comes to ‘bang for your buck’ foundations, and this newbie is no exception. It promises a lot; 24-hour hydration, environmental protection, oil-control powders but added radiance for dry skins and more, and delivers pretty darn well.
The coverage is medium to high, but the feel is not at all paste-like, more of a cream, which spreads silkily out and sets in place with minimal blending required. It feels lovely – as in you can hardly feel it – and has an almost reflectively radiant finish that would be perfect at juicing up the look of dry skin. I’m not entirely convinced very oily skin types will approve as it is a real glow-giver, but that won’t be an issue for readers of this gallery. The SPF20 gets a big thumbs up from me, as does a decent shade range for light and dark skin.
This light fluid lives somewhere between foundation and tinted moisturiser territory and would be spot-on for holidays, lazy weekends or anyone who needs only to enhance what nature gave them. The formula is so light you can easily apply with your fingers, feels comfortable on skin and doesn’t dry up or burrow into fine lines as the day goes on. There are only six shades, but the sheer coverage means you can get away without an entirely precise match (in fact I went one shade darker than normal and it added a nice sunny warmth to my end of summer skin)
The original Healthy Mix foundation is much loved by editors and beauty fans alike for bucking the ‘you get what you pay for’ foundation trend. Unusually for a sub £10 base it is creamy and spreadable, melts into skin and quenches dryness, but also sticks around. So, why mess with a good thing?
Because there’s always room for improvement, it would seem. This newly launched update won’t disappoint fans of the original (the lovely texture and lasting power remain) But, now we get added skincare benefits from vitamins C, E and B5, plus a slightly glowier finish from coated pigments, perfect to disguise dull or dry skin. There are three new shades to better serve darker skin tones, although there’s still room for improvement in this area, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
Buy Bourjois Healthy Mix Radiance Reveal, £9.99, Boots.com
Cushion foundations are everywhere now, but that ubiquity doesn’t take anything away from their superior usefulness. The formulas tend to be water-based, which suit dry skin perfectly and if you need little top-ups throughout the day, they’re a great self-contained solution.
This one from Givenchy is particularly gorgeous, the formula has a high water content, myrrh essential oil and blurring particles, all ideal if you have tight, dry cheeks or even flaking skin. The coverage is light, giving just a wash of pigment, but you can build it up where you need it – usually the chin, nose and forehead.
If you have dry skin you’ll be familiar with the lunchtime make-up melt – juicy, hydrating formulas just don’t stick around as well as powder-packed matte ones – but Smashbox Studio Skin bucks this trend entirely. You’ll need to buff it in well as the formula is on the thick side, but once blended it stays put evenly until you want to take it off. If your skin is combination this might not be right for you (hard-wearing as it is, I experienced some patchiness on my oily nose) but otherwise this is great, full of moisture with no touch-ups required.
Buy Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation, £29, at Amazon.co.uk
Not strictly a foundation, No7 City Light calls itself a tinted moisturiser but you should find it has just enough coverage (unless you have major skin issues you’d rather cover.) That aside, this is an absolute bargain that’s perfect for dry skin. The texture is beyond lovely, like a light silky serum that sinks in quickly leaving skin looking even, plumped and glowing. Your own natural glow will also get a boost from a blend of antioxidants to stave off the dulling effects of pollution.
Make no mistake this is a full coverage foundation, and a tiny amount of the the creamy, highly pigmented formula goes a ridiculously long way. But for a bit of care and extra blending, you’ll be rewarded with genuine all day flawlessness that doesn’t settle in lines or cling to flaky bits. The colour range is good for all skin tones, and the clever pump bottle means it’ll never spill or oxidise.
If you’re already a fan of Estee Lauder Doublewear you’ll know why it’s stood the test of time – it’s seriously hard wearing stuff, covering unevenness, pigmentation and more for the day without melting on oily skin, caking or clogging pores.
Fresh off the back off the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powder which has gone from brand new to iconic in three years, Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Foundation is the fluid equivalent at the service of dry, dull, and tired complexions.
This clever liquid captures light rays to reflect on cheekbones and give a youthful glow. Infused with antioxidant-rich kalanchoe extract it makes for a great everyday base that will take you from desk to bar and wherever else you fancy. The coverage is medium to full, which normally means difficult to blend. But Les Beiges’ high-tech texture glides on easily with fingertips so there’s no need to meticulously buff in layer upon layer. Bonus!
Topshop probably isn’t the first place you would go looking for a super-hydrating base, but this newly-launched foundation may just surprise you.
Buy Topshop The Foundation, £16, at Topshop.com
Lovely Laura Mercier is the queen of skin-loving cosmetics, and Moisture Supreme Foundation is no exception.
Italian behemoth Kiko has an answer for every cosmetic conundrum within it’s vast array of wares, and although Unlimited Foundation is built for lasting power, we reckon it will do the trick for dry skin very nicely too.
This is absolutely beautiful – a light-as-tulle silky base with tiny light diffusing pigments, ultra-hydrating wild rose extract and anti-ageing skincare benefits all in one.