Dry skin can be a catch-22: you want to hide the flaky patches and redness as much as you can, but layering on makeup can make them stand out even more. “For dry skin, the main concerns when it comes to applying makeup are redness, an opaque skin tone that lacks warmth, flaky skin and dry patches on the face. But if you work with the right products, layer them on right and do your due diligence with skincare, there’s no reason you can’t work a completely smooth, luminous base,” says Gianluca Casu, an editorial and celebrity makeup artist.
The skincare prep is key for dry skin
While the flakiness and irritation could be due to environmental conditions, allergic reactions, rashes or even too much exfoliation, using a light scrub to create a smooth canvas is a makeup artist and dermatologist-approved tip. Then, smoothing on a humectant gel-cream (which can pull in environmental moisture and soothe the skin,) is a good call. “Start with a hydrating gel, and then follow with a rich day cream,” says Casu. “You could also apply a few drops of face oil to seal it all in. It’ll help to get rid of particularly dry areas,” he says. “However, make sure you don’t over-moisturise flaky patches with heavy moisturisers, as that could clog pores and worsen the issue. Dry skin already has a compromised moisture barrier.” For dry under eye areas, he suggests applying a light gel to hydrate just before applying makeup, and then following it up with a primer to help set it.
How to apply makeup so it doesn’t crack or peel
“For dry skin, it’s best to use a very light but luminous foundation and apply it with a brush. I am currently in love with the water-based Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation by Chanel,” reveals Casu. He then uses the same concealer, which is liquid and not dry and light. It’s best to forgo powders, as they mattify and deplete the skin of moisture rather than adding to it. Sometimes, even the heaviest moisturiser may not cut it if the skin is too dry. If your base makeup separates in the day, apply a heavy cream (like Embryolisse or Weleda’s Skin Food) on the area, and then buff concealer on. The layer will stay sheer but smooth, so the flaky patch won’t show through.
Casu is a fan of creamy gel blushes that sink into the skin, hydrate it and melt into the surrounding makeup—making it look soft, diffused and bright instead of heavy. Often powder bronzers and blushes can make your dry skin look spottier by settling on the dry areas, so choosing one that sinks in is better.
Dry eyes can be another issue if you’re prone to flakiness, and it can be particularly bad on the corner of the eyelid. Casu suggests using a cream eyeshadow, and then layering on a powder one on top, and then setting it with a brush dipped in setting spray to ensure that it doesn’t settle in the cracks or crepiness in the area. For the lips, where flakiness can start on the actual pout itself, or the corners, applying a heavy-duty lip balm all day, and an exfoliating lip mask at night is key. Casu likes saturating the lip with balm to soften, and then patting off the excess with a tissue. Then, smoothing on a hydrating lipstick in lieu of a drying, matte liquid lipstick is best.
Set it and forget it
The last step is fixing your makeup, and once again, the product that you choose can either help settle the make-up and reduce the appearance of dry skin. “I‘ve always preferred powder for setting the make-up. Choose a soft and transparent powder with hyaluronic acid in it and use a small brush just to give a few touch-ups on your nose, forehead and central part of the cheeks,” says Casu. To keep adding moisture, use an alcohol-free setting spray that’ll re-hydrate the skin and seal it all in—it’ll quench parched skin without moving any makeup underneath.