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Dry Skin: 8 Ways to Make Your Makeup Last

By Ayren Jackson-Cannady

Reviewed by Victoria Barbosa, MD

WebMD Feature

Is your skin parched? You can nourish it while keeping your makeup looking fresh all day. 

Some types of cosmetics will help more than others, but the difference starts with how you care for your skin before you reach for your makeup.

These eight strategies will get you started.

1. Look for liquids and creams.

If your skin is prone to flaking or dry patches, use liquid or cream foundations that contain oil. Don't need a lot of coverage? Try a tinted moisturizer, which is like a sheer foundation, instead. However, if you have a dry skin type, it's important that your tinted moisturizer not replace a regular moisturizer. Another option is beauty balm (a.k.a. BB cream). The multitasking product not only provides a hint of coverage, but it also contains good-for-skin hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin B.

2. Smooth your smacker.

Dead, dry skin can’t hold moisture, or your lip gloss. Exfoliate your lips once a week with a homemade mixture of sugar and honey. Sugar sloughs off the dead skin, while honey hydrates. You can also use a damp toothbrush (without toothpaste) to gently scrub the skin on your lips.

3. Choose the right lip formula.

If your lips get dry easily, avoid matte lipstick or long-wearing formulas, as they will contribute to dryness. 

Stick to lip gloss or sheer lipstick. Both make your lips look and feel juicier.

4. Pass on the powder.

No matter what the sales person at the cosmetics counter tells you, if your skin is prone to flaking you do not need to wear powder, says Boston makeup artist Dana Chasen Thomases. 

If your skin is dry, but you occasionally get shiny in your T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin), you can dust a bit of powder just in the center of your face over those areas. Otherwise, skip it altogether.

5. Add a face polisher to the mix.

If you notice your makeup begins to flake a couple of hours after you’ve applied it, chances are a buildup of dead skin is to blame. Add a gentle facial exfoliant into your weekly skin care routine and remember to moisturize daily. 

It’s important to exfoliate to remove some of the dead skin layer, and then hydrate the more active layers underneath, says Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist in Washington, D.C.

6. Tote an instant skin refresher with you.

For a midday moisture boost, you can carry a travel-sized hydrating toner. A few spritzes over your makeup will help balance dry skin and keep your makeup from flaking off.

7. Don't skimp on moisturizer.

By definition, dry skin produces very little oil, so using moisturizer to help balance your skin's natural dryness is essential. 

Instead of a lotion, use a thicker cream that specifically caters to dry skin types. Moisturizers or serums that contain hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that helps skin retain moisture, can also be helpful. 

"On dry skin types, moisturizer should be applied all over the face, including the neck and decolletage,” Chasen Thomases says.

8. Drink more water.

If your skin and lips tend to be dry, it might help to examine your diet. Are you drinking enough water? A diet filled with a lot of caffeine, alcohol, or sugar could be contributing to your lips feeling parched.

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