Why Does Your Makeup Look Dry?

How come when you apply foundation it looks flaky?

Have you ever noticed that your makeup looks dry after application?

You’ve put in the time and effort to make your makeup look smooth, but all of a sudden, your foundation looks patchy and flaky.

So why does your makeup look dry and bad? The answer is simple! It’s all in the application process and the combination of products you are using. Applying a full coverage foundation on dehydrated skin or using the wrong primer can make your foundation look flaky.

Trying to cover up cracked foundation or powder can be frustrating. In this article, we’ll show you some tips on how to prevent your makeup from looking dry. Getting a smooth makeup look can be so easy if you follow these simple steps!

This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

Use a gentle Face Cleanser

If you have dry skin, make sure to use the right kind of cleanser. You want one that won’t strip all the natural oils from your skin and leave it feeling tight and uncomfortable.

Avoid harsh ingredients like alcohol because they’ll be too drying for someone who already has dry skin. Instead, choose something gentle with a creamy formula such as this hydrating face wash. It is formulated with ceramides and hyaluronic acid that will keep your face moisturized while cleansing away dirt.

Dry skin needs a gentle cleanser to keep your complexion feeling nourished all day long.

To cleanse the skin effectively, wet your face with warm water. Massage cleanser into the skin in a gentle circular motion and rinse away.

Exfoliate to avoid makeup from looking dry

Skin cells naturally exfoliate on their own but for some people, this process can’t be enough.

If you’re tired of your foundation looking cakey and crusty, try exfoliating! It’ll help the makeup go on smoother and look more natural.

Dead skin cells build up on the surface of our skin and they might clog our pores. This can lead to acne, breakouts, and dull-looking skin. Exfoliating at least once a week can help you get healthy glowing skin.

According to Healthline, there are three different methods and tools to exfoliate the skin. It all depends on your skin type and skin concerns.

If you have dry skin, avoid harsh exfoliants as they might make your skin drier. Try a gentle exfoliant with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA). It can help to get rid of dead skin cells while reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

This moisturizing AHA lotion exfoliant has a hydrating formula. It helps to exfoliate dead skin cells and brighten dull skin.

This glow tonic is also a great gentle exfoliator. It contains Aloe Vera which helps to soothe and hydrate the skin.

pixi glow tonic

If you have sensitive skin, be sure to not OVER exfoliate. Too much exfoliation can weaken the skin. it can cause irritation and redness.

Pick a good moisturizer

Applying makeup on dry skin can cause the foundation to flake. Choose a good moisturizer that is suitable for your skin type so that it doesn’t feel greasy during the day.

If you have dry skin, use a rich moisturizer at night to keep your face hydrated while you sleep. In the morning, apply a light moisturizer under makeup for lasting hydration. Let the product sink into your face for five to ten minutes before applying any makeup.

Avoid applying thick moisturizers under makeup as they might need a lot of time to set in. Heavy formulas might cause your makeup to separate so it’s better to use them during your nighttime routine.

This Facial Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid works well for dry skin.

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin

It has a lightweight texture that absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving it feeling greasy. It contains Ceramides which Help restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier.

If you like gel formulas, this Hydrating Water Gel Daily Face Moisturizer is a nice choice. It contains Hyaluronic Acid which helps hydrate the skin all day long. It works well for combination skin too.

If you have oily skin, this Oil-Free Hydrating Face Lotion is a good choice. It’s non-greasy and absorbs quickly into the skin. It’s also very affordable!

If you like to splurge on a good moisturizer, this Ultra repair moisturizer works very well for dry or combination skin. It has a smooth texture that blends effortlessly into the skin and it wears well under makeup.

Makeup can look bad under your eyes, preparing the skin before applying concealer is also an important step.

Use a hydrating primer

Primers help makeup last longer and look more even, but they’re an optional step.

If your skincare routine is enough to prepare your skin for makeup, you don’t need to spend money on a primer.

Primers create a barrier between your skin and the foundation. The main purpose of a primer is to create a smooth canvas so that makeup goes on easy and looks flawless. It also helps keep your makeup in place so that it doesn’t separate.

If you have oily skin, choose an oil-control primer designed to control shine and absorb excess oil from the skin before applying foundation or powder.

If you have large pores or mature skin, try using a silicone-based primer. It helps smooth the skin and fills in pores and fine lines.

If you have dry skin, use a hydrating primer to add some moisture to your skin. This vitamin-infused face primer is one of the best primers for dry skin. It contains Vitamin A, C, and E. It has a smooth formula that blends easily into the skin.

To touch-up your dry makeup look throughout the day, dab a small amount of hydrating primer over your foundation. This trick helps to prevent the flaky makeup look.

Avoid Heavy Foundations

Using heavy foundations can cause your skin to look dry and crusty.

If you want your makeup to look smooth, then it’s important to use lighter products. Using a lightweight foundation makes your skin look more fresh and young. 

Many foundations just don’t work well with dry skin. They can be too heavy and they might settle into fine lines.

If you have dry skin, we recommend water-based foundations because they have a lightweight formula. 

These foundations don’t have oils or silicones and they still can give the skin good coverage. This way, your foundation will blend in seamlessly with your natural complexion instead of sitting on top of it.

There are many great water-based foundations available in the market. To find the best foundation, check this guide on the best water-based foundations and the best water-based foundations for combination skin

If you are using a primer, make sure to pick the right primer for your foundation.  If it’s not matched properly, the primer can peel your makeup and make it look dry.

Use a concealer to cover blemishes

If you have dry skin, most high end or affordable full coverage foundations will look cakey and flaky on your face. The solution is to choose a light coverage foundation and use a concealer to cover up any blemishes or imperfections.

This way you can benefit from the natural look of a lightweight foundation while still getting good coverage.

By using a water-based foundation with light coverage and pairing it with a full coverage concealer you can get the natural look while still getting good coverage over blemishes.

This tip can help you look your best without looking like you are wearing makeup.

Many great concealers are available on the market today. To hide blemishes, your concealer’s formula doesn’t have to be very liquid. A good place to start is with a cream-based concealer because these formulas cover blemishes the best way. It’s also important to choose a shade that matches your skin tone.

Dab the concealer gently on top of your imperfections. Don;t forget to set your concealer with a loose setting powder. To avoid a cakey and dry look, apply a tiny amount of concealer and powder. Set everything with a setting spray for a long-lasting look.

Blend foundation with a sponge

Blending makeup with a brush works well, but it can be time-consuming and doesn’t always give you that natural and glowy look.

If you are getting a dry makeup look, try applying foundation with a sponge instead of using a brush or your fingers. This is the easiest way to get a flawless foundation application without any effort.

l'oreal sponge

A makeup sponge is a perfect tool for creating a natural look on days when you don’t have much time to spend on your makeup.

Make sure to wet the sponge with water and squeeze out excess liquid. You can use a towel to dry the sponge if necessary. 

The key is to wet your sponge before applying your foundation. A dry sponge will soak up more foundation than necessary which means more product is wasted.

Wetting the sponge ensures that it won’t absorb too much makeup so that you don’t waste your foundation and money!

Dot your foundation onto your skin and use the sponge to gently stamp the foundation. Bounce the sponge in tiny movements across your skin to get even coverage.

Blending your makeup with a sponge will help you achieve that natural glowy look. This tool absorbs all the excess product so that your makeup doesn’t look dry or cakey.

Makeup Sponges like the real techniques sponge are made from latex-free foam. This soft material allows you to blend liquid foundation easily. Its unique shape gives a precise application that helps you get a smooth finish.

The only downside is that makeup sponges need to be washed after every use. They can attract dirt and bacteria so they need to be cleaned regularly.

After each use, wash the sponge with a gentle cleanser until all the makeup has been removed. Let it dry before storing it in its case.

Apply Less Foundation to Avoid a Dry Makeup Look

When it comes to face makeup, less is more!

Applying too much foundation can make your skin look dry and cakey.

Adding more foundation will not help your makeup look even. It will cause your foundation to look bad.

Be sure to apply it where you need the most coverage for an even complexion! Always be careful about where exactly on your face you’re applying foundation.

Skip the areas where you don’t need too much coverage like your nose or fine lines and wrinkles.

This can help to prevent the foundation from looking cakey on your nose.

It can also avoid the makeup from creasing in fine lines and wrinkles.

Start by applying a thin layer of the foundation instead of applying it all at once. This gives time for the makeup to settle on the skin. To hide blemishes, you can use a concealer with a small precise brush.

Tip: to avoid a powdery makeup look, spray your sponge or brush with a hydrating face mist. This helps your foundation to melt into your skin for a smooth look.

Set everything with a powder

Once you’re done applying your foundation, set everything into place with a translucent loose setting powder. This is just an easy way to keep oil from ruining your makeup look. The finishing powder will help absorb excess shine and give you a smooth finish.

The best part about using a translucent powder is that it won’t add any coverage to the skin. It’s also super lightweight and it blends so easily with a fluffy brush.

Choose a finely milled powder that doesn’t leave a white cast on your face.

This setting powder feels very lightweight on the skin. It doesn’t add any texture to the skin and it looks nice in pictures too.

Apply cream blush for a natural glow

If you have dry skin, applying a powder blush on top can make your makeup look dry and flaky.

Cream blush is a great alternative to powder blush. It’s much easier to apply with your fingers and it blends naturally into the skin. It helps give your face a natural glowy look.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-apply cream blush, try this one from Tarte!

It blends easily on the skin and it looks very natural. It doesn’t emphasize pores or fine lines and it’s also long-lasting. It contains Sodium Hyaluronate which hydrates and plumps the skin.

Follow these tips make your blush last longer on the skin. Make sure to choose the best shade to prevent your blush from looking orange.

If you like to use highlighters, try a cream or a liquid formula. Cream highlighters work well for dry skin. They give the complexion a healthy glow without looking over the top.

This Illuminating cream highlighter is very easy to use. It comes in a stick and it has a lightweight formula that blends easily into the skin.

For shimmery highlighters, try this liquid highlighter . It comes in different shades and it’s very pigmented. It gives the skin a radiant and healthy glow.

Tip: If you have even skin, you can apply blush without foundation and get a natural look.

Use a Hydrating Mist

Makeup might look great when you first apply it, but after a few hours, it can start to look cracked and dry.

To avoid makeup from looking flaky, apply a hydrating face mist. This refreshing spray will help lock in moisture so your skin stays hydrated without leaving behind any greasy residue.

Tip: You can use a hydrating face mist before or after the foundation.

It’s just a quick and easy way to give your skin an instant boost of hydration while preventing makeup from looking powdery.

You can also keep a travel-size mist in your handbag for touch-ups throughout the day. Just spray a tiny amount when your face feels tight or dry.

Look for face mists with glycerin or hyaluronic acid. These ingredients help hydrate the skin.

If you are looking for an affordable face mist, this Grapefruit Scent Facial Mist is a nice choice. It has a lightweight formula and it adds a beautiful finish after makeup.

This Grape Water Moisturizing Face Mist is also a nice spray for dry skin. It’s formulated with 100% Grape Water to moisturize and soothe the skin. It feels refreshing on the skin and provides a smooth finish to the makeup.

To fix dry patches after you’ve applied foundation, use a face mist and spray it right on a makeup sponge, then lightly dab it over the areas where your makeup is cakey and dry. This helps hydrate and nourish the skin. Follow by applying a small amount of setting powder.

Sanitize your Makeup

We all know that sanitizing your makeup is important, but it’s also hard to remember.

You can keep your makeup fresh and clean with some simple steps. This is so important because germs build up on makeup especially if you use powder foundations.

To clean your powder makeup products, spray them lightly with alcohol and let them air dry.

Another way to keep your powder clean is to not apply it with your fingers.

Clean your makeup brushes regularly to avoid spreading germs. Applying makeup with dirty brushes might cause your makeup to look flaky.

If you don’t clean your makeup tools, you could be putting yourself at risk for acne or skin infections.

To clean your makeup brushes effectively, wet the bristles with warm water, apply a small amount of a cleanser into the palm of your hand and massage the bristles. Rinse the bristles until there is no more makeup left. Let the brush dry on a clean towel before storing it again.

Final Thoughts on dry and cracked makeup look

We all know that makeup is supposed to look flawless and last a long time. And while it can be frustrating when your foundation starts to look dry, there are quick and easy ways to fix the look.

Make sure to use the right kind of cleanser. Choose a gentle cleanser with a creamy formula like this hydrating face wash which is formulated with hyaluronic acid to keep your face moisturized while cleansing away dirt.

Try exfoliating your skin to get rid of dead skin cells. Use a gentle exfoliator like this AHA exfoliator or this glow tonic.

Avoid applying makeup on dry skin because it might cause the foundation to look cracked. Moisturize your skin with a lightweight moisturizer like this Hydrating Water Gel Daily Face Moisturizer. It has a light formula that that sits well under makeup.

Avoid applying thick moisturizers under foundation as they might need a lot of time to set in.

If you have very dry skin, use a hydrating primer under makeup. This helps to create a barrier between your skin and the foundation.

Use a lightweight foundation to make your skin look more fresh and young.

Full coverage foundations can look heavy on the skin so choose a light formula or a water-based foundation like this water-infused tinted moisturizer .

Blend your foundation with a makeup sponge to get a natural and glowy look. Makeup Sponges like this sponge are made from a soft material that allows to blend liquid foundation easily. They absorb any excess makeup that might look cakey or dry later.

Apply less foundation on your skin and focus on the areas where you need the most coverage.

Finally, use a hydrating mist to refresh the skin and give it a glowy look.

Ashy Makeup Fixes

Why is my makeup patchy?

The best high coverage drugstore foundations

Best silicone based foundations for oily skin

Best foundations for large pores

Best silicone based primers

Is Blush Necessary?

Why does your skin look dry when you put on makeup?

Claire is a beauty enthusiast and lover of all things makeup. Her blog is a resource for makeup tips and tricks, product reviews and beauty tutorials.

2 thoughts on “Why Does Your Makeup Look Dry?”

    • you’re welcome! Dry Makeup looks are not fun so i hope this was helpful!


Leave a Comment

Skip to content