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How To Prep Dry Skin For Face Makeup, According To An Expert

Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor By Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
A Celebrity Makeup Artist's Hack For Applying Smooth Makeup On Dry Skin
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For those with perpetually dry skin, applying face makeup over pesky flaky patches is an uphill battle. Foundation and concealer tend to get caught on peeling skin, leading to an uneven application (and just overall frustration, we should add). 

Airy, breathable products like skin tints and tinted moisturizers leave little room for error, as they're minimal in terms of coverage and come loaded with hydrating skin care ingredients. Still, even those can appear cakey from time to time, and what if you prefer medium to heavy coverage? Luckily for all of us, celebrity makeup artist Katey Denno shared her go-to method for creating a hydrated, smooth canvas—even on super-dry skin.

How to prep dry skin for face makeup. 

Of course, you'll want to start out with a hydrating skin care routine. Look for products that will help pull water into the skin and soften texture. Think hyaluronic acid, peptides, ceramides, etc. 

After that, there's a final step Denno recommends to lock in moisture and encourage a seamless application: "If you're more on the dry side and really want to use a skin tint but feel you need more moisture, layering a more rich oil under your skin tint can be just the thing to solve the problem."

Face oils work as an occlusive layer on top of the skin, and they can provide a smooth, even base for subsequent makeup. (And because most makeup is oil-based, it won't ever pill.)

Denno's go-to pick? The Pangea Super Antioxidant Glow Oil. This blend is a powerhouse of hydration: Squalane serves as a rich emollient to help replenish skin moisture, rosehip seed oil delivers a powerful antioxidant punch, while tamanu oil helps soothe inflammation in the skin. 

This oil even contains bakuchiol, which is a natural retinol alternative that works wonders to brighten the skin and even tone, without the irritation or photosensitivity that can come with retinol or retinoid use. 

You can massage your oil over your previously applied moisturizer or SPF, or use it as your main moisturizer on its own. Just make sure to layer the oil over some sort of humectant—occlusives can't trap in moisture if there's no moisture to trap. It's best to let this product sit for at least five minutes before following up with your skin tint and remaining makeup routine to ensure your products stick. Even though both oil-based products should play nice together, it still helps to have a little dry-down time.

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The takeaway. 

Creating a lightweight, dewy makeup look can be more difficult for those with drier skin. If you use face oil as your last step before applying your base, your skin will look and feel more hydrated, leading to a more even application. Not sure which base product to use? We searched high and low for the very best light-coverage complexion products on the market—shop them here

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