4 Common Mistakes That Are Making Your Skin Look Even Drier, According to a Professional Makeup Artist

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Putting on makeup over dry, flaky skin isn't easy. And while you may turn to products like foundation and concealer to enhance the look of your complexion, if you don't apply them correctly, you can actually make that dryness more apparent. So we tapped Neil Scibelli, a makeup artist in New York City, to share the dry-skin makeup mistakes you don't want to make.

"It can be tricky to apply makeup to dry skin when there isn’t much hydration to bind to," says Scibelli. "This results in seeing the makeup texture on top of the skin rather than it seamlessly blending in. I think it’s also important to go for formulas that complement dry skin, or the drying effects can accentuate pores and settle into fine lines on the skin."

Experts In This Article

To prevent having your makeup draw attention to (or even exacerbate) flaky, dehydrated skin, learn about four dry-skin makeup mistakes you don't want to make, plus what to do instead.

4 dry-skin makeup mistakes to avoid this winter

1. Skipping skin prep

"It’s important not to skip a full skin-care regimen prior to applying your foundation or even your primer," says Scibelli. "Sometimes we see people go right into a complexion product with clean skin. But if your skin is dry, you really want to prep the skin with lots of hydration. Hyaluronic acid is a fast-acting hydrator that locks moisture into the skin pretty quickly, so I like to prep the skin before makeup with a product that contains some of that."

A blue bottle of Neostrata moisturizer.
Neostrata Hyaluronic Luminous Lift — $87.00

“One of my favorites for dry skin right now is Neostrata’s Luminous Lift moisturizer because it actually contains three different sizes of hyaluronic acid, which results in plump, hydrated skin,” he says.

A white tub of Crème de la Mer.
La Mer Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream — $100.00 to $570.00

“I’m also a big fan of La Mer’s classic, the Crème to top off a skin-care regimen if the skin is particularly dry,” says Scibelli. “I use it as both a makeup primer and a moisturizer as well, because it’s super rich and healing as well.”

A white bottle of La Roche-Posay moisturizer.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Face Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin — $32.00

For a more affordable option, consider the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Face Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin ($32). It’s packed with moisturizing ingredients like squalane, shea butter, and glycerin to give you the perfect prepped canvas.

2. Not having a night-time skin-care routine

It's not just the products you apply immediately before your makeup that matter—your entire routine makes a difference. "Aside from skin-care prep, another mistake is forgetting to invest in a nighttime skin-care regimen," says Scibelli. "Going into the winter months, we really want to make sure we’re applying a layer of moisture in the evening to act as a barrier against the cold climate and also against steam heat that can dry out our skin. Kerry Washington once told me a nighttime skin-care regimen is an investment into your next day’s skin."

Alchimie Forever Kantic+ Nourishing Cream — $81.00

“I love Alchimie Forever’s Kantic+Nourishing Cream for nighttime, especially for dry skin because it contains blueberries, vitamin E, and grape seed which hydrates and calms dry, red, or inflamed skin,” says Scibelli. “It also works overnight to protect and hydrate the skin, so that you’re waking up with plumper, softer skin. All of this will lead to a smoother makeup application as well.”

A glass jar with a purple lable of Neogen moisturizer.
Neogen V.Biome Firming Cream — $38.00

Another great night cream is the Neogen V.Biome Firming Cream which is packed with ten types of skin-tightening peptides and 19 nourishing vitamins.

3. Using powder products

Though powder products can be great for mattifying your skin during the sweatier seasons, they're likely not hydrating enough for the colder, drier months. "It’s also important to swap powders for cream products when your skin is dry," says Scibelli. "For example, a cream blush with hydrating ingredients is going to bind to the skin easier and give a more radiant look to the skin. Powder blushes or even all-over foundation powders can start to crease and cake up on dry skin.

Jouer Cosmetics Blush & Bloom Cheek + Lip Duo — $32.00

“I’ve been a long-time fan of Jouer’s cream cheek and lip products,” he says. “This gorgeous line of cream tints contains jojoba seed oil and squalene, so it leaves this gorgeous natural flush on the skin.

Honest Beauty Crème Cheek + Lip Color — $16.00

“I’m also a big fan of these,” he says. “They contain fruit oils which leave this gorgeous dewy finish to the cheeks, and they’re particularly great for dry skin.”

4. Overlooking exfoliation

Exfoliation gets rid of dead, dull-looking skin cells, creating a smooth canvas for you to apply your makeup on top of "Forgetting to exfoliate dry skin is also a mistake and misconception," says Scibelli. "It’s important to keep the cells turning over, even when your skin is dry so that your skin-care products can penetrate deeper into the skin. A gentle exfoliant, something even with lactic acid, is a great way to slough off that top layer of dead skin and reveal a smoother complexion."

Dr. Rossi Derm MD The Solution — $78.00

“I would say this is one of Dr. Rossi’s hero products,” says Scibelli. “It contains a gentle dose of lactic acid which gently exfoliates the skin and hydrates at the same time. This can be great for dry skin as well as hyperpigmentation, pores, and fine lines. It also contains niacinamide which helps to soothe and calm the skin.”

Biossance Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum — $65.00

“Another lactic-acid-based serum, this one is gentle on the skin and great for night time,” he says. “It also contains squalene which puts that moisture back in.”

Watch our senior beauty editor apply a full face of powder-free makeup:

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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