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8 Moisturizing Foundations That Won’t Dry Out Your Skin

Bottles of foundation are piled on top of one another.
Colourpop/Urban Decay/Ilia

The holidays are considered by many to be the “most wonderful time of the year,” but those with dry skin know it also brings flakiness, irritation, and a need to slather on copious amounts of moisturizer. Then, there’s your makeup. If you have dry skin, applying foundation in winter can be a real nightmare. But we can help with that!

As temperatures drop, so do humidity levels, and indoor heating sucks all the moisture out of the air, as well. This results in dry, flaky skin and irritation. You might be tempted to cover up the dryness with foundation, but, unfortunately, the dry bits will still show through and look even worse. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on foundation altogether.

Hydrating foundations can help! They’re available in a variety of finishes, coverage levels, and at different price points. The trick is opting for formulas with ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, that will hydrate your skin, but also have a finish that won’t cling to dryness.

If you’re ready to switch up your makeup routine for winter, here are eight hydrating foundations that’ll really help you out.

Best Skin Care Infused: Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint

A woman holds up a bottle of serum foundation.
Ilia

 

Foundations that fuse skin care and makeup are a great option for dry, winter skin. Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint is perfect for those who love a lightweight, subtle coverage foundation that keeps your skin looking like, well, skin.

In addition to its subtle coverage, the skin tint fuses hyaluronic acid, plant-based squalane, and niacinamide, which all help hydrate and nourish skin while it’s worn. Throw in SPF 40 (because yes, you still need sunscreen in the winter), and it’s practically perfect.

Best Skin Care Infused

Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint

If you don't typically wear a lot of makeup, this lightweight tint is for you.

Best Buildable: LYS Triple Fix Serum Foundation

A woman wears a medium coverage foundation.
LYS Beauty

For those who want a foundation that can do it all, LYS Beauty is the way to go. This formula features hyaluronic acid and avocado oil to boost your skin’s moisture. You’ll also find calming ashwagandha, which combats skin irritation and sensitivity, as well as turmeric for brightening your complexion over time.

This foundation has buildable coverage, meaning you can use it as a light layer for quick, on-the-go days or build it up to medium coverage to conceal any dark marks or blemishes. With a natural finish and those hydrating ingredients, Triple Fix ensures that your skin always looks plump and hydrated, even when battling dryness.

Best Drugstore: L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation

An infographic shows different shades of a foundation next to a tube.
L’Oreal

When it comes to drugstore foundations, nothing beats L’Oreal’s Infallible ProGlow. This medium-coverage foundation gives the skin a dewy, luminous finish that will counteract any dullness from winter weather. Because it’s a drugstore find, it’s also inexpensive (under $8), so feel free to stock up!

While the foundation doesn’t have any direct skin care benefits or ingredients, its glowing finish gives the illusion of dewy, luminous skin, even if you have to layer eight different moisturizers underneath.

Heading out to a Halloween party, Thanksgiving dinner, or to start some Christmas shopping? ProGlow has a whopping 24-hour wear time. Of course, sleeping with your makeup on isn’t recommended, but at least you know it’ll last that long if you ever need it to, such as during an overnight flight.

Best Drugstore

L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation

With a price this low, who can say no?

Best Mid-Price: Urban Decay Hydromanic Tinted Glow Hydrator

tubes of foundation of wet.
Urban Decay

Urban Decay’s Hydromanic moniker says it all. This tinted hydrating agent is truly moisturizing and combines the coverage of a foundation with the hydrating power of a moisturizer.

Throw in kombucha filtrate—an ingredient that’s part of a larger fermented skin care trend—as well as marula oil, and this foundation is ideal for those who suffer from dry skin. Plus, you can apply it with your fingers, a brush, or a sponge.

Best Mid-Price

Urban Decay Hydromaniac Tinted Glow Hydrator

The hydration of a moisturizer with the coverage of a medium foundation.

Best Light Coverage: Kosas Tinted Face Oil

A woman wears a light coverage oil-foundation.
Kosas

The idea of slapping oil on your face might be enough to send you running away screaming, but it shouldn’t! Kosas Tinted Face Oil absorbs beautifully into the skin and provides hydration, while also blurring slight imperfections and evening skin tone. The rosehip oil aids in brightening your complexion, avocado moisturizes and plumps, and red raspberry oil soothes any irritation.

Your face might not look flawless while wearing this product, as it only provides very subtle, lightweight coverage—think of it as a “your skin, but better” product.

Yes, this is an oil, but it has a satin—not dewy— finish. It also hydrates without making you look like an oil slick (but it’s a good idea to have some blotting sheets on hand the first few times you apply it, just in case).

Best Luxury: Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation

A bottle of foundation is next to a smiling woman.
Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury’s Light Wonder Foundation is a pretty penny at $46, but it’s worth it. This lightweight foundation has pseudo-ceramides, which help protect the skin’s moisture barrier—the layer that helps your skin retain moisture— and hydrates at the same time.

With a light to low-medium coverage, it can help even out your skin tone and lightly conceal any dark circles. Our only caveat with this foundation is that the shade range needs some major improvements.

Best Full-Coverage: Too Faced Born This Way

A foundation bottle is next to a woman whose face is half bare and half covered with foundation.
Too Faced

When it comes to full coverage foundations, finding a hydrating option is difficult. Most products packed with enough pigment to cover everything from acne and rosacea to dark spots are matte and thick—not something you want with dry skin.

Too Faced’s Born This Way Foundation is the exception. While it starts as a medium-coverage foundation, it can be lightly built up for a full coverage look without clinging to dry patches. It features coconut water and hyaluronic acid to ensure your face stays moisturized.

Best Tinted Moisturizer: ColourPop Pretty Fresh

Tubes of foundation are piled together.
ColourPop

If hydration is what you need, a tinted moisturizer is a must. ColourPop’s Pretty Fresh is aptly named. This easy-to-use (really, just apply it as you would any moisturizer) formula covers minor imperfections and packs a punch of hydration thanks to hyaluronic acid.

Add an affordable price tag, and a matching concealer and setting spray, and you’ve got a must-have line of products.


If you’ve already got your skin care routine down, it’s time to turn your attention to your winter foundation. These super-hydrating suggestions are sure to help you avoid those annoying dry flakes of skin all season.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »

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