As a pimple-prone lady with a (formerly) heavy-handed approach to skincare and an attack-mode mentality, I am no stranger to the dreaded dry patch. I’ve taken the most benign of zits and turned them into open wounds, surrounded by flakes and flakes of red, irritated skin. I’m not proud.
All this to say, while I might not have naturally dry skin, I understand the dry skin struggle intimately. And so, I understand, how finicky dry skin can be when it comes to putting on your everyday makeup—even the noblest attempts to calm and conceal can leave dry skin patchier, flakier, and rougher than ever.
But I’m not one to accept failure—neither in life nor on my face. So I did my research.
What follows is a comprehensive list of my favorite products and best hacks for avoiding the dreaded flaky, cake-y, my-face-is-the-Sahara-Desert look.
Priming Moisturizer Rich, Glossier
Prep with a rich moisturizer, like this one from Glossier. Since it’s packed with skin-loving ingredients like ceramides and fatty acids, it’ll help soothe rough, dry skin.
Skin Food Ultra-Rich Cream, Weleda
Skin Food is a classic for a reason—it’s seriously nourishing. Apply to any problem spots, or, if you’re dealing with Sahara-level dryness, use as you would a normal moisturizer.
PRO TIP: Use a small amount of any petroleum jelly-based product to soothe and smooth any extra dry patches. Dab a pea-sized amount (or even less!)
Glowscreen Sunscreen, Supergoop!
Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops, Glow Recipe
This lightweight, multi-use highlighting serum targets dry, dull skin and leaves behind a glowy, plump complexion. Be forewarned, it is a bit tacky, so skip this step if you’re not into that.
Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Hydrating Primer, Pat McGrath Labs
Here’s the deal: we’re essentially trying to lube up the skin pre-makeup. That way, we’ll have a smooth(er) base to apply makeup and avoid the dreaded patchy, flaky look.
Look for a hydrating primer, like this personal favorite from Pat Mcgrath Labs.
Luminous Silk Flawless Foundation, Armani Beauty
I have yet to meet a single person who dislikes this foundation. Yes, it’s ridiculously expensive, but in this case, you really are getting what you pay for.
Even Kim Kardashian West—who suffers from dry, itchy skin due to her struggle with PCOS—is rumored to be a fan.
Illumination CC+ Cream, IT Cosmetics
Not into $64 foundations? I get it. This classic, full-coverage CC cream is another great option for hiding redness and flakes.
Developed with plastic surgeons and dermatologists, it leaves skin looking radiant, smooth, and supple.
Tinted Face Oil, Kosas
If you’re looking for a lightweight option with some seriously soothing side effects, allow me to introduce you to Kosas Tinted Face Oil.
Its blend of nourishing, botanical oils and pigments is truly unlike anything else on the market.
PRO TIP: Mix your foundation with a facial oil. Not only will it add some much needed hydration to the skin, it’ll also help the product glide and buff more easily.
Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Oil, Youth To The People
A facial oil can dramatically improve the quality of both foundation and the dry skin beneath it.
I like this one from Youth to the People—it leaves my skin glowy without compromising foundation coverage.
The fast-absorbing oil is packed with antioxidants that help deliver immediate hydration where you need it most.
Radiant Creamy Concealer, NARS
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer might just be in the same prestigious category as the Armani Luminous Silk Foundation.
This award-winning concealer features a multi-active botanical blend, to reduce redness and dryness, and light-diffusing mineral powder, to give the concealer lasting power without settling into fine lines and wrinkles.
Don’t ask questions, just trust me (and every other person in the beauty industry) on this one. If this one’s not your speed, check out some of Lindsay’s other concealer recs.
PRO TIP: Despite your instincts, avoid applying concealer over any particularly problematic, rough parts of the skin. Unfortunately, the concealer is more likely to highlight the issue than actually conceal it.
Tantour Contour & Bronzer Cream, HUDA Beauty
The name of the game when it comes to face makeup for dry skin is cream formulations.
This bronzer from Huda Beauty lasts forever (I’ve barely made a dent in the one I’ve been using daily for nearly a year).
Its ultra-pigmented (but easy to blend) formula gave one reviewer an “air-brushed finish” that “transformed” her face.
BeachPlease Tinted Lip + Cheek Balm, Tower28
Tower28’s cream blushes melt into the skin and leave behind the perfect natural flush.
The formula is packed with skin-loving ingredients like green tea and aloe vera extracts that support and soothe the skin, and the ultra-creamy texture gives off a dewy—not shimmery—finish.
Cloud Paint, Glossier
You never forget your first…cream blush. And, oh what a good cream blush it is. Glossier’s Cloud Paint is another one of those rare, universally adored products.
Makeup users of all ages laude the blush’s ability to pack a punch in terms of color while maintaining its iconic lightweight, blendable feel. Plus, special blurring pigments give a soft-focus effect that obscure unwanted texture on the skin.
Hollywood Flawless Filter, Charlotte Tilbury
Charlotte Tilbury calls this a “liquid complexion booster,” which is very confusing but also very accurate.
It can be used for just about anything, from a primer to a highlighter to mixed in with your foundation to give your skin a filtered, natural look.
It feels weightless on the skin and creates a faux dewy, glowing-from-within finish.
PRO TIP: Before doing your makeup, apply a lip mask or hydrating balm of your choice. This will give the product time to really seep into the lips and create a smooth base for better lip product application.
Lip Sleeping Mask, Laneige
This “lip sleeping mask” (which is just a fancy way of saying “very thick lip balm”) is perfect for slathering all over dried, cracked lips.
Its blend of hyaluronic acid and antioxidants create a film over the lips, locking in active ingredients and moisture. I especially appreciate the cute little applicator it comes with.
Green Tea Hydrating Lip Sleeping Mask, Innisfree
I actually have not tried this sleeping mask (again, “thick balm,”) but Lindsay raves about it more than enough for me to understand just how good it really is.
Infused with two different forms of green tea, this ultra-nourishing lip mask is perfect for cold winter days.
Lip Glow Oil, Dior
This lip oil is one of my absolute favorites thanks to its glossy, non-sticky, non-greasy finish.
It perfectly combines the shine of a gloss with the comfort of intense lip care.
Lip Comfort Oil, Clarins
At one point in time, I owned every single shade of this lip oil from Clarins. It’s that good. I love that the colors look so intense in the bottle but end up leaving just a sheer wash on the lips.
Danielle Cohen is assistant editor of all things Lindsay Silberman. She also runs her own beauty blog, Yellow Sweats Status, as a side hustle. When she’s not binging true crime podcasts, she can be found researching, testing, and raving about beauty products to people who didn’t ask. You can learn more about Dani and her favorite products on her Instagram and her blog.
If you make a purchase through one of the links included in this post, I may make a small commission. As you know, I only feature products that I genuinely love.