As a beauty editor with seriously dry skin, trust me when I say these foundations are the best out there

Dry, flaky skin? There's a foundation for that...

Woman applying foundation for dry skin
(Image credit: Getty Images/Caroline Tompkins / Refinery29 for Getty Images)

The best way to look after dry skin is to treat it from lots of different angles—including with a diet rich in omegas, keeping central heating low, and applying as many hydrating products as possible. That means using a nourishing cleanser, a hyaluronic acid serum, a tip-top moisturiser and the best foundation for dry skin. Armed with the right formula, the best foundation can deliver a hit of moisture to your skin while simultaneously bathing it in a veil of pigment.

While the best foundation for oily skin has totally different requirements, according to Kay Montano, Chanel Make-up Artist, the best foundation for dry skin "isn't drying, won’t accentuate fine lines, dry skin, or any rough patches. Instead, it will allow the skin to look natural while providing coverage, and a smooth glowing complexion."

How to apply foundation when you have dry skin

How you apply is as crucial as what you apply—and preparation is key too. Foundation is much less likely to gather on dry patches if they aren't there to begin with.

Montano agrees that it's all in the prep. "The best way to fix or help dry skin is to make sure you’re hydrated and exfoliate regularly (often dry areas of skin are just dead skin). If your skin feels dry all over, you’re either dehydrated or not using the right moisturiser for your skin type. Remember to layer your skincare with a serum underneath a rich moisturiser to help rehydrate the skin."

In fact, make-up artist and beauty journalist, Madeleine Spencer suggests using these application tips:

  • "Tap rather than rub foundation onto dry skin, the idea being that you stipple it onto areas which need coverage."
  • "Remember you don't need to apply a blanket of foundation but rather ensure it's where it needs to be."
  • "If it starts to gather slightly, press those areas to help redistribute the foundation."

How I tested all the best foundations for dry skin

As someone with extremely dry skin, I'm always on the lookout for a foundation that makes my skin look and feel dewy throughout the day. The trouble with my dry skin is that it's so often crying out for moisture-rich creams that certain foundations just can't handle my needs. I often use one of the best tinted moisturisers, as I feel like I'm getting that extra hit of hydration. However, they don't always provide enough coverage, so I need a foundation that can offer me both: hydration and adequate coverage.

While each of the below are different in finish and coverage levels, I made sure that they all had these things in common:

  • They are all hydrating
  • They all keep skin moist over a long period
  • They don't excessively gather in dry areas
  • They last and last

The best foundation for dry skin

Best for long-lasting coverage

Chantecaille Future Skin Oil-Free Foundation

Best for a real hydration hit

Westman Atelier Vital Skincare Complexion Drops

Best for healthy glow

Suqqu The Cream Foundation

Best for barely-there coverage

Sisley Phyto-Teint Nude Foundation

Best for glossy skin

Bobbi Brown Intensive Serum Foundation SPF40

Best for an everyday easy-to-fling on base

L'Oréal Paris True Match Nude Plumping Tinted Serum

Katie Thomas

Katie Thomas is the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire UK. With over 10 years of experience on women's luxury lifestyle titles, she covers everything from the best beauty looks from the red carpet and stand out trends from the catwalk, to colonic irrigation and to the best mascaras on the market. She started her career on fashion desks across the industry - from The Telegraph to Brides - but found her calling in the Tatler beauty department. From there she moved to Instyle, before joining the Marie Claire digital team in 2018. She’s made it her own personal mission to find the best concealer in the world to cover her tenacious dark circles. She’s obsessed with skincare that makes her skin bouncy and glowy, low-maintenance hair that doesn’t require brushing and a cracking good manicure. Oh and she wears more jewellery than the Queen.

With contributions from