The 7 Best Drugstore Foundations for Dry Skin of 2019

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Dry winters? More like a moisture-robbing Dyson vacuum trained on your face from the moment you exit a building—exacerbating the effects of cranked-up indoor heating. And if you have dry skin in the first place, finding a budget-friendly foundation that doesn’t emphasize flakiness is a struggle. Luckily, we’ve pored over feedback from the ever-vocal reviews sections and picked the top drugstore foundations for dry skin, from a longtime affordable favorite to a silky cushion foundation. 

Maybelline
 Ulta

This Maybelline foundation tends to come up over and over again, not least because it’s a reliable drugstore favorite. The Fit Me Foundation also comes in a matte version, but reviewers found the Dewy and Smooth line friendlier to dry skin. The foundation’s creamy formula comes with a light vanilla/vaguely perfume-y smell typical of drugstore makeup. It’s unobtrusive for the most part, though those more sensitive to fragrance might disagree.

The hydrating formula leaves a dewy finish that can be blotted down to a velvet finish. It’s forgiving if you have texture or scarring, and covers up hyperpigmentation without trouble. Applying with a makeup sponge creates beautiful, natural-looking coverage. The only complaint is the foundation can be too dewy, but that’s easily fixed with the right primer or powder. Another flaw is the packaging. Without a dispenser, it’s easy to accidentally pour out too much product, but it’s a small trade-off for the price and results More »

This multi-tasking foundation from Milani supposedly counteracts under-eye circles and redness as a foundation and concealer in one. The medium- to full-coverage (it’s buildable) never gets cakey and feels lightweight even after multiple layers. And the positive reviews aren’t just because of the price—this foundation really does perform if your concerns are coverage and difficult-to-disguise dry patches.

One reviewer suggested gently pressing light layers of foundation into the skin to build lush, natural-looking coverage. The result is a dewy finish that’s soft and glowy, rather than overly shiny. The foundation itself is a gentle, thick formula that rolls over whatever you’re trying to conceal—redness, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, you name it—while hydrating skin. 

Innisfree
 Innisfree

Standard in K-beauty, cushion foundations typically fuse skincare and makeup by adding benefits like sunscreen and in this case, hydrating properties. As you wear it, your skin looks and feels better, too. The Aqua-Fit foundation comes in a compact that houses a circular sponge saturated with liquid foundation. Press down with a thin makeup sponge that comes with the compact, and the sponge dispenses just the right amount of product (Innisfree also lets you customize the packaging at their Union Square store).

It also contains soothing green tea extract and moisture-drawing hyaluronic acid. The matte, airbrushed finish, thanks to the cushion system, doesn’t cling to dry patches—a rare find if you have dry skin. If you’re concerned about hygiene, the sponge is anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, while an airtight snap-lid over the cushion prevents bacteria growth. The sponges themselves are also easy to clean.  More »

Maybelline
Ulta 

The good thing about full-coverage foundation is how it glides over skin without emphasizing too much. The bad part? Sometimes high-coverage foundation feels like an extra layer of goop on your face. Not the case with this Maybelline foundation. Available in 28 shades, the lightweight, creamy formula is ideal for dry skin. The airbrushed finish covers up practically everything (that being said, a little goes a long way). Some reviewers did report oxidation.

It’s hard to predict if a foundation will oxidize since it depends on your skin chemistry (your face oils, for example), but you might want to keep that in mind when selecting a shade. The Superstay foundation also solves my eternal gripe with Maybelline’s packaging: it has a pump dispenser so you don’t end up with puddles of product in your hands. Note: it’s also available at Target, but the listing on the Ulta site is easier to shop.   More »

e.l.f.
e.l.f. 

If you like to be proactive about your acne, there’s this salicylic-acid-infused foundation from e.l.f. The full-coverage foundation also contains witch hazel, an astringent, and soothing aloe. It evens skin tone and covers up redness as the foundation helps gently clear existing breakouts. It’s lightweight, and the fluid formula is easy to blend and build in layers. The packaging is appealingly simple, like the rest of e.l.f.’s products, dispensing just the right amount of foundation from the squeeze bottle’s tiny nozzle.  More »

L'Oreal
 Ulta

The Pro Glow foundation doesn’t look like much, at least until you put it on. Squeeze the bottle and out comes a creamy foundation that covers up hyperpigmentation and redness with a soft, glowy finish. The coverage leans toward medium, but builds well without caking up, and never feels heavy or oily. And, thankfully, it’s very hydrating. The Pro Glow foundation comes in an unassuming squeeze tube, not unlike the kind for acrylic paint, that’s portable and easy to use on the go. Where it does fall short, like many other drugstore brands, is the shade range.  More »

Colourpop
 Colourpop

Launched last fall, the No Filter Foundation Stix come in 30 shades, with an array of warm, cool, and neutral undertones. Like the Milani foundation, the No Filter Stix are supposed to act as a foundation and concealer in one. Even so, it never feels too heavy for a foundation nor too lightweight to conceal.

Application is simple: Twist up the stick and swipe on the product where needed. Blend in with a makeup sponge or brush (your best bet is anything with denser bristles to buff in the product) for a comfortable, weightless finish and a glowier version of your natural skin. Unlike grittier formulas, there’s no struggle to blend. The creamy foundation warms up quickly and sinks into the skin as you apply.  More »

Our Process

Our writers spent 45 hours researching the most popular drugstore foundations for dry skin on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 15 different foundations overall, screened options from 11 different brands and manufacturers, read over 60 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 2 of the foundations themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.