The Best Foundation for Dry Skin -- Laura Mercier, Giorgio Armani and More

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best foundations for dry skin

Getting great-looking skin is never easy. The goal of foundation is to create a complexion that appears smooth, even-toned and pore-less. Unfortunately, when you have dry skin, this becomes a case study in “easier said than done.” 

Those with a dry complexion or who are prone to dryness have less oil on their skin and can have a weaker moisture barrier, which locks in hydration. This often leads to a rough texture, flaky skin, redness and more pronounced fine lines and large pores. Layer on the wrong foundation and those problems become even more noticeable as the makeup settles into cracks and builds up on dry patches, which -- let’s face it -- kind of defeats the whole point of foundation.

Fortunately, there are solutions for those of us lacking in the hydration department. Many new foundations are a hybrid of skincare and cosmetics, providing nourishing and moisturizing benefits alongside their complexion-perfecting powers. And they come in a variety of coverage options, applications, textures and finishes.

Whether you have sensitive skin, combination skin or you're just looking for a hydrating primer, browse the best foundations for dry skin below.

ET's Picks for the Best Foundation for Dry Skin:

The OG makeup-skincare hybrid, this classic tinted moisturizer just got a major update. Now available in 20 shades, it's infused with nourishing oils from macadamia and kukui seeds, plus antioxidants, SPF and glycerin (for lightweight hydration). The end result is a sheer hint of dewy coverage that helps improve skin health and strengthen your natural moisture barrier over time for just about any skin type.


This bb cream from Maybelline has a sheer to medium coverage that hydrates so well is can be used as a moisturizer, but blends well as a foundation. 


The LYS Beauty Triple Fix Serum Foundation is the perfect everyday foundation for dry finish. This clean, skincare-infused formula has a light-to-medium coverage and is made with ashwagandha, hyaluronic acid and turmeric to help hydrate and reduce the look of dark spots and fine lines. 


Iconic makeup artist Pat McGrath is the unofficial queen of skin, so you better believe that her own foundation is not like any drugstore foundation. Spanning 36 shades, the futuristic formula features pigments treated with amino acids, making it a cream foundation and easy to build. It also contains polymers to provide long-wear capabilities and luminosity as well as a Vita-serum complex to moisturize dehydrated skin and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Try it and you’ll be obsessed with how good your skin looks.


Beloved by makeup artists and beauty editors alike, this red-carpet favorite lives up to its rep with a smooth-as-silk hydrating foundation formula that transforms your skin tone and hides imperfections, all while giving a lit-from-within glow.


A flexible skin tint from Rihanna's Fenty Beauty, the Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint gives a hydrated, blurred effect on the skin for a natural-looking, no-makeup makeup look. 


The sun's damaging rays are no match for Bobbi Brown's Intensive Skin Serum Foundation with its SPF 40 protection. This liquid foundation serum has pigments to perfect tone for a flawless finish while hydrating dry skin.  


Kosas Tinted Face Oil fuses three types of mineral pigments into a base of active botanical oils that are skin-moisturizing and a much more pore-friendly (and eco-friendly!) smoothing alternative to silicone. Shake it up and spread it on for a dose of healthy hydration and a luminous finish.


NYX Professional Makeup  Born To Glow Medium Coverage Naturally Radiant Foundation provides buildable coverage while hydrating your skin for a radiant finish that lasts all day. 


The It Cosmetics CC has been a fan favorite for years. Great for all skin types, particularly for dry skin, this multitasking color-correcting cream gives full, flawless-looking coverage without creasing or cracking. 


Maybelline's Fit Me collection of foundations is hands-down one of the best values for high-quality face makeup, and this hydrating version does not disappoint. Its glycerin-based hydrating formula moisturizes any rough patches to create a uniformly silky look and dewy finish.


Stick foundation tends to get a bad rap, mostly because of its reputation for being old-fashioned and cakey if you have a dry skin type. Well, that was then, and this Hourglass stick is now. This full-coverage stick magically conceals without feeling heavy or looking spackled on, and it provides maximum coverage with minimum product even on mature skin.



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