9 Dry Skin Beauty Tips to Make It Through Winter

Aly Walansky
Girl applying cream

JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty

The winter weather doesn’t only complicate our wardrobe and hair, it makes our beauty routine require a whole new process as well. Suddenly, we’re trying to deal with itchy skin, dry skin patches, and so much more. It’s uncomfortable and irritating, but it also complicates the simple act of putting our face on!

Exfoliation is key prior to applying makeup for dry skin. If you skip this step, the makeup will grab and give the appearance of blotchy and flaky skin when applied, says Nancy Reagan, master esthetician and makeup artist.

Use the right moisturizer:
If the moisturizer you use is too creamy and the skin is “lipid-dry” the makeup will gum up when applied. A grease-less moisturizer with ceramides and lipids will really plump super dry skin, says Reagan. Another key ingredient for super dry skin is hyaluronic acid which is a moisture binder. Both work deep in the dermis layer to “temporarily” moisturize the skin, Reagan says.

MORE: 12 Multipurpose Balms to Kiss Dry Skin Goodbye

Prep your face:
Always use a face primer with dry skin. This is a must for most skin types, but especially for dry skin. The dry skin has been compromised by the harshness of the weather, so it may have indentations that will be magnified by makeup. The face primer retexturizes skin and plumps for a smooth, even application, says Reagan.

Use a fresh foundation:
Another big dry skin tip is to check your foundation for expiration dates and ingredients, says Kim Laudati of Kim Laudati Skin Care. Anything that is liquid, is water based, or is meant for oil control shouldn’t be used on dry skin, especially in the winter. Opt instead for a cream foundation in a stick or pot and don’t over-apply. You’ll get lovely coverage with a supple look and feel. Clean fingers are best for applying evenly as brushes can irritate dry skin.

It’s all in the technique:
To get the most out of your moisturizer, make sure to hydrate while skin is still slightly damp, as the skin tends to absorb product better, says beauty expert Christina Marrale. Think of it as a wet sponge as opposed to a dry sponge, the wet sponge absorbs water faster — the dry sponge takes more water, and more time.

Opt for a hydrating foundation:
When making the switch to a winter foundation, opt for a hydrating formula, as it will wear better on dry skin and add an extra layer of moisture to it, says Marrale.

MORE: 9 Tips to Ward Off Breakouts

Treat dry skin patches:
These patches of dry skin are super common as the weather grows dryer and colder, and they can make it feel impossible to apply makeup evenly. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing this area aggressively, it’ll make it worse.  The best remedy is keeping it smooth and hydrated. In addition to switching up your foundation, start using cream blushes. This will help to increase hydration and smoothness.

Make facial spray your BFF:
“To refresh and rehydrate the skin through the day, I never leave home without a nourishing facial spray like Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater,” says Marrale. It brings the glow back to my dry, dehydrated skin and helps set my makeup, too.

Cocktail your favorite body lotion with bronzer:
Bikinis and shorts may be over, but the adorable, above-the-knee dresses are not. By mixing a body moisturizer with your favorite bronzer, you’ll have the perfect blend to energize post summer legs with a flawless finish, says SkinAgain creator Sherrie Berry. (Psst . . . remember to exfoliate first!)