Overly dry and flaky skin transforms the routine makeup application into a challenge. With dry and flaky skin, your makeup doesn’t look as smooth as you expect it to! To make this a problem of the past, you need to treat the root cause—the extra dryness and flakyness—as well as adjust your skincare and makeup routine. We’ll let you know all the tips and tricks you need to master your look!
How to do makeup on very dry and flaky skin: a step-by-step routine
First of all, let’s adjust your expectations. If you have flaky skin, you may not be able to reverse it overnight. It all depends on the root cause: is the flakiness a symptom of a skin issue like eczema or is it the build-up of dead cells? There are many possibilities, and it would be incredibly useful to know why your skin is behaving like this—with a clear knowledge of the root cause, you can tailor a targeted treatment. Don’t be afraid to get help from a healthcare professional!
For those who don’t have an underlying skin issue, we have a routine that should help with your main concern. Even more important than the products that you choose, is how committed you are to the routine; if you stick to the routine once or twice a week, the problem won’t go away. Even though you’ll see improvement from day one, the best results come with time! We’ve divided the essential steps into three to make it easy even for those who love a minimalist routine.
1. Include an exfoliant in your skincare routine
Removing dead skin cells is key if you want to target flaking skin. This is a good moment to remind you that for a scrub or exfoliant to be effective, it doesn’t (and really shouldn’t!) be harsh on the skin, and you should apply it always with a soft hand. You have a few options when it comes to skin exfoliation; you may opt for an exfoliating toner, an exfoliating mask, or an actual scrub with physical exfoliating particles. Let’s take a closer look at each of these options!
An exfoliating toner is any toner that contains exfoliating ingredients, like lactic or glycolic acid. Depending on the formula, it may be suitable even for sensitive skin, like the Pestle & Mortar NMF Lactic Acid Toner. If your skin deals with exfoliating acids just fine, then you can try a formula featuring glycolic acid, like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Laser Peeling Toner. The pros of using an exfoliating toner is how convenient it is to apply. You just have to replace an already existing step of your routine. 100% fuss-free! The big con of this option is that you’ll need a few regular applications before noticing any results. It works like magic, but exfoliating toners need a few days to perform the trick!
Face scrub with physical exfoliating particles
The classic face scrub is no stranger for most skincare users. A few years ago, it was the go-to product to exfoliate the skin (now, we may consider that it was overtaken by the exfoliant toner). However, face scrubs like the Sesderma Abradermol Microdermabrasion Cream have the upper hand when it comes to immediate results. Using a face scrub with exfoliating particles will be able to visibly remove dead skin cells in one application; that’s why, unlike exfoliating toners, you should use it only once, maybe twice a week. The downside is that it requires an extra step in your routine, and may be a trigger for people with sensitive skin.
For all the mask lovers out there, this may be your go-to type of product. These unicorns of a product combine the face scrub’s texture with the face mask’s replenishing properties. The goal is simple: to remove dead cells from the skin surface, all the while replenishing the skin. Even the application goes as an exfoliant as a mask would: you just need to massage the product in, and then leave it for about 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing off. Quite simple, isn’t it? With this exfoliating option, you may get visible results from day one! If you’re curious, give it a go with one of our favorites, the Gallinée Prebiotic Face Mask & Scrub.
2. Replenish your skin with the hydration it needs
After exfoliating the skin with your preferred method, it’s time to move on to replenishing hydration. If your skin is feeling dry and flaky, chances are that more than dry, it’s dehydrated. To restore dehydrated and flaky skin, you’ll need hydrating formulas that provide your skin with all the moisture it’s lacking, from a serum to a moisturizer and a deeply hydrating mask—or all combined. If your skin type is dry, then you’ll also need a rich moisturizing cream to provide you with all the comfort you deserve. Let’s look into the steps that can potentially help your skin:
Establish a lasting friendship with hydrating formulas
In order to source all the hydration your skin is craving, go for a serum or face mask that’s specially designed to meet the needs of dehydrated skin. If you’re looking for a rec on a serum, we really love the Bioderma Hydrabio Sérum Moisturising Concentrate. When it comes to hydrating face masks, something like the Uriage Eau Thermale Water Sleeping Mask is what you need! If you can’t go on with your day without a moisturizer, then consider the Clarins Hydra-Essentiel [HA²] Light Cream. You can use this last one both morning and evening. However, if your skin is extra dry, you may want to see our suggestion for evening care in a bit.
The cool part is that any of these extra hydrating products work better on exfoliated skin. Don’t skip steps—to reduce flaking skin you’ll need the joined effort; the exfoliant alone won’t do the trick, and the same goes for the hydrating products.
Restore comfort and nourish the skin in the evening
If you have a dry skin type, you may need a rich, nourishing cream—especially for the evening—along with hydrating formulas. This should help makeup look better the next morning, and the skin is going to feel a lot more comfortable. The NUXE Crème Fraîche de Beauté 48h Moisturizing Rich Cream is a good example of a rich, replenishing moisturizer! Each use provides immediate comfort while promoting lasting hydration.
Now, time for the makeup! We’ve started this skincare journey to improve the look of makeup on dry and flaky skin. With the continued use of the suggested care, you may actually get rid of flaking skin, and your makeup should apply smoother.
Even though we’ve covered how to improve skin texture with skincare, we’re also giving you some actual tips to make makeup look good even over flaking skin. Yet, let’s adjust expectations: it’s really hard to conceal texture with makeup. When working with textured skin, less is more. Equally important, it’s essential to apply the moisturizer before the foundation! Now, let’s see what else you should consider to get the results that you want:
Foundation & concealer
Foundation contains pigment, and, therefore, adds texture to the skin. If your skin is already flaking, you need to be extra careful with the product you choose and how you apply it. Instead of a full or medium coverage foundation, consider switching it for a BB cream or a sheer foundation. When it comes to finish, avoid matte foundations as much as you can, as matte foundations tend to cling to dry patches. Prefer a natural satin finish instead. With a light texture and natural finish, the foundation won’t accentuate flaking skin!
As for the concealer, you’ll have more freedom to choose. Since correctors and concealers are often used in areas that tend to not have flaking skin, you may opt for a medium coverage, and even a matte finish if you like. To keep the skin as lightweight as possible, you may use a pint-point concealing technique: apply concealer or corrector only on the imperfections you wish to conceal, and pat it in with your finger. The result? Weightless and flawless skin!
With dry skin, you can just skip powder altogether, especially if you pick a self-setting foundation (a formula that sets without powder). However, if you feel like you absolutely need it, then opt for a loose and transparent powder over a compact and tinted one. Loose powders tend to be thinner in texture and look undetectable on the skin. Keep in mind that you should apply a very thin amount to keep the skin looking natural!
If your skin feels extra dry all the time, you need to treat it with the nourishing, replenishing care it deserves. Try one of the best skincare for extremely dry skin and find the comfort your skin is craving!
Professional Makeup Artist & Beauty Writer