7 Expert Tips on How to Apply Makeup on Dry Skin and Avoid Flakes
Few things can wreak havoc on your makeup look like dry skin. During the winter, achieving that smooth and even complexion can be difficult, especially if you're someone with dry skin that's also peeling or flaking.
No matter how much you moisturize, it can seem like your makeup clings onto and emphasizes the dry patches on your complexion. So if you've tried to douse your face in the most moisturizing products countless times, but you still feel like getting a smooth and even makeup application is not possible during the colder months, then we've got you covered.
Here we tapped professional makeup artists to learn their most coveted tips and tricks for how to apply makeup on dry skin.
1. It's All About The Prep
When it comes to how makeup sits on your face, it's all about what's underneath. "There are levels to perfecting any makeup application," says professional makeup artist Dominique Lerma. "If you're someone who suffers from those dry areas during the harsh winter months, your first call to order should be solidifying a skincare routine that sets you up for successful makeup application."
If you aren't already, start incorporating serums, moisturizers, and face mists into your routine with hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid or glycerin. "I like to use serums and dry oils to the skin before moisturizers to help revitalize the skin and prepare it for makeup application, says celebrity makeup artist Billie Gene. "I also tend to spray the face with a refreshing mist before moisturizer to add moisture and soften the skin for a better absorption."
On top of adding moisturizing skincare products into your routine, exfoliating is one of the best ways to get rid of flaking skin. It also helps improve product absorption that might not be happening because flakes and dead surface skin cells are blocking penetration.
"People often think that they shouldn't exfoliate if their skin is dry, but on the contrary, choosing gentle exfoliators will aid in preparing your skin to follow up with your skincare regimen and then applying your makeup," says Lerma.
The key to exfoliating dry skin is to use a gentle chemical exfoliant instead of harsh physical exfoliants, like scrubs. One Lerma recommends trying is the Youth to the People Mandelic Acid + Superfood Unity Exfoliant ($38, sephora.com) is a liquid exfoliant that combines three gentle acids and superfood exfoliants to smooth skin texture and even skin tone.
3. Skip the Foundation.
Instead of layering up on a full-coverage foundation in hopes of covering any dry patches, go with a lighter formula like a tinted moisturizer, BB cream, or CC cream, says Lerma. This can prevent makeup clinging to dry flakes and a cakey finish.
For those severely dry patches, try spot correcting those areas with concealer for more coverage. "You can cover dry patches with a hydrating concealer after the skin is prepped with proper skincare," says Gene. "Be sure to spot treat and don't rub the concealer on." This brings us to our next point.
4. Pat, Don't Rub.
Gene says the technique you use to apply makeup can either help or worsen dry patches as well. "When applying foundation dry or peeling skin, be sure to apply it in one direction when using a brush or with a pressing technique with a makeup sponge," he says. "You don't want to rub the brush around the face (in different directions) too much because that can cause friction to the skin, which can result in the skin peeling even more."
5. Be Strategic When Using Powders.
Despite what you may think, you don't have to completely skip powder formulas if you have a dry skin type. Whether you're someone who has combination-to-dry skin or someone who likes a matte finish, you can use a powder, but you have to be strategic about placement.
"Be sure to apply the powder only where you need the additional coverage or setting," advises Gene.
Also, make sure you choose a finely milled powder and one that isn't full-coverage, which Lerma says can make the skin look drier. The Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($39, sephora.com) is a great option.
6. Avoid "Glowing" Formulas.
According to Cassandra Garcia, a professional global makeup artist, always look for hydrating makeup products, but be careful about formulas that say they promote a glow.
"Something to be aware of a glowy formula is make sure there isn't texture with glow particles," she says. For example, make sure the promised glow isn't due to shimmer or glitter in formulas because that can add more texture to flaking or peeling skin. Instead, look for formulas that keep it simple and boost hydration to offer that natural-looking glow. "If you want, choose to add glow or shimmer in other places with a highlighting powder or cream so that no texture is added," she says.
7. Face Mist Is Key.
The biggest tip to making your makeup last and avoiding any dry patches or flakes appearing throughout the day is keeping a face mist handy at all times. "The best tip to keep your makeup smooth throughout the day during the winter is using a refreshing mist to help set the makeup," says Gene. "A spray can be used continuously throughout the day without interrupting makeup and keeping your look smooth."