5 Tips for Applying Makeup to Dry Skin

By: Victoria Vogt

Makeup Tips Image Gallery Moisture-rich lipstick is a no-brainer, but what about the rest of your dry face? See more makeup tips pictures.
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Dry skin can be a constant problem or just a temporary one, and when it's on your face, things can get tricky. You may have hit a few rough spots while trying to enhance your natural beauty with makeup. Instead of bringing out your skin's glow, you may be accentuating its imperfections. But we've got good news for you: Just because you have dry skin doesn't mean you can't have a radiant complexion. Even better, it doesn't need to cost you a fortune! Technique coupled with a few essential products can help you achieve your desired look. Learn how with these five tips for applying makeup to dry skin.



1: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

Hands down, moisturizing your skin is the No. 1 key to getting makeup to do what you want it to do. Using facial products made for dry skin, cleanse your face, then moisturize three to five minutes prior to applying cosmetic foundation. Makeup artists and beauty experts also recommend slathering on a layer of makeup primer, which adds a protective barrier while eliminating dry patches and allowing the makeup you'll apply next to stay put nicely. Now, there are even high-definition cosmetic primers that put your skin in the best light for photography and video. You may also want to use eye cream or serum to smooth away wrinkles from around your eyes.


2: Brush on Creamy Foundation

Apply foundation with a brush so that you don't irritate your skin.
Apply foundation with a brush so that you don't irritate your skin.

Creamy foundations and blemish concealers work best for dry skin. Before you apply foundation and other cosmetics, make sure each product is at least room temperature. As with high-definition primers, there are also high-definition foundations that are super light, yet can provide maximum coverage to give you a flawless, natural-looking complexion.

With the proper tools, foundation from a jar, stick or compact will glide onto your skin without a hitch. Be sure to use a brush rather than your fingertips to apply concealer, then foundation. You'll probably want to have two different applicators for your concealer and foundation. A foundation brush is gentle and won't cause your skin to flake. For lighter coverage, glide the brush lightly over your face, using downward strokes. For more coverage, press the brush slightly -- but not too heavily -- onto your skin as you cover your face.


3: Use Creamy Blush and Eye Shadow

Makeup artistry is about playing up your better features and minimizing any flaws. But powdery makeup will cake up on dry skin and draw attention to lines, creases and wrinkles. Go with creamy cheek and eye colors to harmonize with your satiny cosmetic foundation. Accentuate your cheekbones by applying shimmering pale pink, gold or bronze blush, but keep those metallic tints away from your eyes if you have wrinkles there. As with applying foundation, resist the temptation to use your fingertips to put on blush and eye shadow. Go with a blush brush and eye shadow brushes to smooth on creams without roughing up your delicate skin.


4: Finish and Set

A light dusting of powder is necessary to set your makeup and finish your face.
A light dusting of powder is necessary to set your makeup and finish your face.

Here's one time you may need to use powder: Finish and set makeup by lightly dusting loose powder with a large, fat cosmetic brush before you put on mascara and brow liner. Not too heavily, of course, but just enough to keep your foundation, blush and eye shadow in place. There are many varieties of sheer, translucent finishing powders and some are hydrating -- an added benefit for dry skin. You won't have to guess about these features; manufacturers tout them on product packaging and labels. Yes, there are high definition-quality finishing powders, too! These types are ultra fine powders designed to give you a picture perfect complexion.



5: Choose Liquid Eyeliner

Beauty experts recommend liquid eyeliner for those with dry skin because eye pencils or powders can easily flake and make fine lines or wrinkles stand out. Applying liquid eyeliner -- again, with a very light hand -- can accentuate your eyes themselves and shift attention away from any wrinkles or flaws near the delicate skin around eyes.

Then, there's mascara. The rule of thumb is to replace it every three months because it can start clumping and also possibly become contaminated. Be careful with using waterproof mascara because some of these formulas can dry out your lashes. Brush mascara onto your lashes with gentle strokes, starting near the base of your eyelashes and sweeping out to the tips. One light coat is usually all you need.


Save your skin by removing mascara before you go to sleep. Some people use specially formulated eye makeup removers, and others use mineral or olive oil. Close your eyes, dab a few drops on a cotton ball, and swipe it gently across your lids and lashes. Proceed with your nightly facial cleansing regimen.

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  • Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. "Covering Circles, Blemishes and More: Troubleshooting." (April 20, 2010).http://www.bobbibrowncosmetics.com/learn/covering_circles_blemishes.tmpl
  • Barrymore, John. "How to Improve Skin Texture." HowStuffWorks.com. Aug. 10, 2009. (April 20, 2010).https://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/beauty/tone-and-texture/improve-skin-texture.htm
  • Cox, Janice. "A Natural Beauty For All Seasons." Henry Holt: 1996.http://books.google.com/books?id=JWkW7p49PoC&pg=PA157&dq=olive+oil+makeup+remover&hl=en&ei=ZXLgS9inJcL98Abc8MCgBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CFkQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=olive%20oil%20makeup%20remover&f=false
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  • Kulansky, Palma. "Creating Radiant Skin." Carmindy.com. 2010. (April 20, 2010).http://www.carmindy.com/tips/index.php?id=skin
  • Siddons, Sarah. "How Daily Dry Skin Care Regimens Work." HowStuffWorks.com. Aug. 18, 2009. (April 20, 2010).https://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/daily/regimen/daily-dry-skin-care-regimens.htm
  • Orey, Cal. "The Healing Powers of Olive Oil." Kensington Publishing Corporation: 2009. (April 20, 2010). http://books.google.com/books?id=JWkW7p49PoC&pg=PA157&dq=olive+oil+makeup+remover&hl=en&ei=ZXLgS9inJcL98Abc8MCgBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CFkQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=olive%20oil%20makeup%20remover&f=false
  • Poirrot, Lisa. "Makeup Tips for Aging Skin." WebMD. (April 20, 2010).http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/makeup-tips-for-aging-skin