Finding the right foundation when you have dry skin isn't as easy as it may seem. Aside from the obvious — making sure the foundation comes in a wide enough range of shades to match your skin tone — you'll want to go for a foundation that's moisturizing, but not greasy, so look for formulas that contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, aloe, vitamin E, or squalane. And the best foundations for dry skin tend to come in cream, liquid, or mousse forms; powders are better suited for people with oily skin, so avoid those. The last thing to consider is your preferred level of coverage, but that's pretty self-explanatory, since most foundations will indicate what type of coverage they provide right on the label. If you don't love heavy coverage, though, consider opting for a BB cream instead, which tend to be inherently lighter-weight and more moisturizing.
When you have dry skin, prepping your face correctly is just as important as making sure you're using the right foundation. Moisturizer is nonnegotiable, though you can also find some great moisturizing primers that do two jobs at once. (Depending on how dry your skin is, you may want to apply a hydrating serum pre-moisturizer, too.) And here's a useful tip from makeup artist Carola Gonzalez: For a more radiant, dewy finish, apply your foundation right after prepping your skin, while if you prefer a matte look, wait about 10 minutes after moisturizing before applying foundation.
With that in mind, scroll on to shop five the best hydrating foundations for dry skin.
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1. The Affordable One
Maybelline's Dream Satin Liquid Foundation is a great, affordable choice for dry skin types on a beauty budget. The brand calls it a foundation and serum in one, offering up both long-lasting coverage and hydration. It's nice and buildable, feels lightweight and breathable on skin, and leaves your complexion looking radiant and smooth (or satiny, hence its name).
- Available shades: 12
2. The One With SPF 50
Another foundation/serum duo, this one from L'Oreal takes things a step further with an SPF of 50 — so technically, you're getting three products here (serum, foundation, and sunscreen) for less than $15. Not only will this save you money, but it'll cut down on the steps in your morning routine, too. Formulated so as not to crease on your skin, it contains several moisturizing ingredients like aloe juice, glycerin, vitamin B3, and sodium hyaluronate. It provides lightweight coverage, long-lasting hydration, and a dewy finish that dry skin types will love.
- Available shades: 30
3. The One With Antioxidants
Let this Cover FX Natural Finish Foundation boost and protect your skin with its blend of antioxidant-rich vitamins (vitamins C, E, and F). Antioxidants help keep your skin protected from free radical damage, so with this foundation, you're getting both immediate coverage and long-term benefits, too. Also in this water-based formula is the moisturizing antioxidant squalane, which provides lightweight, non-greasy hydration. You'll get medium to full coverage for up to 12 hours here, while the fragrance-, paraben-, phthalate-, and oil-free formula makes it a safe choice for sensitive and acne-prone skin types, too.
Another thing that makes this foundation so great is that the brand makes it really easy to find your exact shade; each shade is prefaced by P, N, G, or G+ (pink, neutral, yellow-gold, or olive-gold) to indicate the shade's undertone, so you shouldn't have any trouble ordering the right one online.
- Available shades: 40
4. The BB Cream
For those who prefer light, natural-looking coverage, purlisse's BB cream is another multitasking product worth considering. Think of this as a tinted moisturizer and sunscreen in one: It helps even out your complexion while providing a subtle wash of color, without actually covering up your skin. The hypoallergenic ingredients include soothing chamomile, glow-enhancing sugar maple extract, and artemisia to keep your skin looking radiant and fresh.
- Available shades: 7
5. The Splurge
Smith & Cult's splurge-worthy Veiled Threat Weightless Micro-Blurring Foundation has a unique, cream-to-mousse formula that provides a soft-focus finish that's illuminating yet matte: The general effect is velvety and blurred, but its lightweight (or weightless, as the brand puts it) consistency ensures skin feels comfortable throughout the day. The elegantly formulated foundation is bolstered by hydrating aloe vera gel, chlorophyll — which has both brightening and soothing properties — and microsphere powders that help give it its silky feel. The brand claims it's resistant to caking, and makes it super easy to find your right shade with its detailed descriptions that indicate the shade's undertone.
- Available shades: 42