Winter Skin Care

This Skin-Care Ingredient Is Better Than Any Primer for Smooth-Looking Foundation

Rachel Lapidos

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Photo: Well+Good Creative

Dry, winter air and a flawless makeup application exist on two different planets (and if anyone has figured out how to make them work together on this one, HMU). No matter how hydrated skin is after applying a rich moisturizer, inevitably you’re faced with environmental aggressors like extreme cold or man-made ones like heaters that cause dry patches to appear. And that makes applying foundation kinda tricky. But dermatologists say that applying polyglutamic acid-spiked skin care can help.

Much like hyaluronic acid, polyglutamic acid is also hydrating (not exfoliating, like a lactic acid). “Polyglutamic acid is similar to hyaluronic acid in that it adds moisture to your skin, and it actually improves your skin’s ability to absorb moisture,” says Shari Sperling, DO, a board-certified dermatologist. The ingredient, which she explains comes from fermented soybean mucilage, works to increase skin elasticity as it plumps. And, pros say that it’s better than any primer at nixing dry patches and providing a smooth foundation application.

“What makes polyglutamic acid different from hyaluronic acid is that it forms a film on the skin that stops water from evaporating,” says Mark Curry, cosmetic chemist and co-founder of The Inkey List. “Not only is it a humectant that draws more water into the cells, but it holds it there too and it’s great for dry patches.” And if you think that film-forming bit sounds a lot like what primer does, you’re right, but according to Curry PGA is even more fail-proof. “Mix a bit of polyglutamic acid in with your makeup foundation for a super-smooth, hydrated layer that glides on the skin,” he says (though it works just as well to layer under your foundation if that’s your preference). The best part is that trying it out for yourself won’t break the bank, because there are options for under $20. Keep scrolling to shop it for yourself.

The Inkey List Polyglutamic Acid Hydrating Serum, $15

Grab this moisturizing serum for cheap to plump your skin with a polyglutamic acid complex plus glycerin that’ll make your foundation application smooth AF.

Photo: The Inkey List

ASDM Beverly Hills 5% Pure Polyglutamic Acid Serum, $39

This potent polyglutamic acid-filled serum delivers serious moisture to your skin so that it’s silky-smooth and hydrated all day long, even in the driest of weather.

Photo: ASDM Beverly Hills

Bonajour Elf Fermented Toner, $18

This uber-moisturizing-serum hybrid contains hyaluronic and polyglutamic acid to deliver moisture deep into the skin, and works for even the most sensitive of skin types.

Photo: Bonajour

Also useful: Here’s how to apply foundation to flaky skin. And consider exfoliating with oils to slough dead skin cells without drying your skin out. 

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