News Tip Sheet

Makeup for Dry Skin

skincare model

Of all the skincare and makeup questions I get on social media, dry skin is tops. When you live in a very dry, cold climate (like Canada), keeping skin in a healthy moisture balance is a challenge. Your complexion can become rough, tight and flaky in part because humidity levels drop to very low levels. Skin absorbs most of its moisture through the environment which is why your skin glows when you go to the tropics on vacation. Humidity levels are almost always high in the Caribbean.

To help us with some tips and strategies for tackling dry skin and makeup, I’ve asked a pair of industry experts at Clarins to share their expertise. Marie-Claude Cote is National Training Director at Clarins and specializes in spa-level skincare techniques. Christine Mann is National Makeup Artist and Trainer and brings her beauty talent. Here are their fascinating answers to the most common questions I get.

Dave: To start, what is dry skin and what are the symptoms?

Marie-Claude Cote: Dry skin reflects a lack of sebum. Poor in lipids, the hydrolipidic film present on the surface of the skin becomes too permeable and loses its valuable moisture. Since the skin is poorly protected, it becomes dehydrated. Dry skin looks fine and feels tight. It can become sensitive and easily irritated, and may develop imperfections such as redness or scabs. I find my clients describe it as feeling tight or itchy. You may have dry skin patches in different places that are red, wrinkly, dull, and rough. If you have dry skin, you will probably not be able to see your pores in that area.

skincare model

Dave: How do you approach makeup for someone who has very dry skin in a very cold and dry environment like Canada in winter?

Christine Mann: Skin care is the most important part of your beauty routine!

Dry, flaky, dull and sensitive skin are words that are common during the cold winter days and often we see dryness in areas like: eyelids, cheeks and forehead and around the lips. Also foundation tends to slip off the bridge of the nose. And makeup doesn’t apply as well to rough, uneven skin. You won’t get the best results from your makeup if skin is too try.

Here is how to solve this problem: Start by applying a day hydrating cream, based on your needs. I then recommend using a hydrating primer to create that perfect canvas. Skin is plumped and even and ready for foundation. Stick to a richer foundation with moisturizing ingredients and leave your tinted moisturiser for the summer. I also like to use brushes to apply my foundation. It minimises flaking, as brushes are more gentle than your hands.

Here’s one of the biggest mistakes I see women with dry skin make: they use matte powders! Stay away from any powders that absorb sebum. This will draw moisture away from your skin. You want a powder that has hydrating properties. I never leave the house without our Fix Make-up. It’s a very fine hydrating mist that instantly revives your makeup and complexion with hydrating ingredients. I even use it after applying my day cream. It acts like a barrier that protects the skin, hydrates and also sets my makeup

skincare model

Dave: How much moisturizer do you need? I’ve read you don’t want too much so the makeup slips. But you want enough to give it a good moisture foundation

Marie-Claude: If you have dry skin you can look for creams that are a bit thicker to wear during the day. A thicker cream will also give you a dewy and healthy look.

Dave: Are primers important in winter? What about facial oils?

Christine: Yes! I love mixing my double serum or sandal oil in my foundation. You simply add a few drops to your foundation to help improve skin’s dryness. It will also definitely give a dewy finish to your foundation which will look a lot healthier.

skincare model

Dave: Do hydrating masks help during very dry, cold months?

Marie-Claude: Yes, a hydrating mask will definitely help. Ideally, you should apply it after exfoliation, as the skin is more receptive afterwards. It should be applied once or twice a week; more often if needed.

Dave: What should you avoid when choosing products for dry skin?

Marie-Claude: You should avoid choosing a product with retinol, peroxide, alcohol or salycilic acid. Choose a creamy texture and use it immediately after you shower or bathe. Applying a cream will create a layer of oil that locks the moisture in your skin. The water will not evaporate, and your skin stays hydrated.

Dave: How do you best treat dry lips before applying lipstick?

Marie-Claude: Use a replenishing lip care product with hydrating and protective ingredients to nourish, moisturize and protect lips throughout the day. The skin on the lips is the only skin that does not contain oil glands so you need to moisturize throughout the day.

Dave: Which lipstick formulas work best?

Christine: During the winter I recommend using a formulation that’s acts like a baume or oil on the lips.

Dave: How can you tell when you need to change your makeup or products to address dry skin?

Christine: For me it’s when I start heating my house and start making fires. That’s when you know it’s TIME!!! And when your foundation looks flaky and seems to not stay on, it is time to adjust your skincare and makeup. With a few tweaks you can have glowing skin and beautiful makeup year round.

skincare model

Clarins is available in Canada at Hudson’s Bay stores and


  • Reply
    Janice Cournoyer
    June 1, 2023 at 7:59 am

    Looks like I am missing the moisturizing primer for my dry skin. Great tips Thanks!!

  • Reply
    Lori Lowery
    April 28, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    The older I get the dryer my skin seems to get. I found a lot of info on this page that I never knew.

  • Reply
    Wendy Lam-Vechi
    March 18, 2023 at 9:06 am

    I need to start reading the ingredients on my cream to see if there are any ingredients I should be avoiding with my dry skin

  • Reply
    December 31, 2022 at 3:42 pm

    These are wonderful make-up tips for dry skin. Never realized that I could add serum to my foundation…going to try it!

  • Reply
    December 29, 2022 at 9:39 pm

    After learning all your great tips – learning how to combat flaky, dry skin and wearing make-up I am excited to try out Fix Make-up spray!

  • Reply
    Rhonda Stefani
    April 5, 2022 at 3:15 am

    I really appreciate the tips, my face is definitely drier as I’ve reached my late 40’s. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Donna L.
    February 27, 2022 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks for the helpful tips.

  • Reply
    February 27, 2022 at 3:57 pm

    Thanks for the tips. Could be especially useful for those with psoriasis. Would love to see Dave address psoriasis in a future posting.

  • Reply
    Susie Wilkinson
    February 27, 2022 at 3:30 pm

    Really useful, as I’ve got older my skin has got a lot drier, and it’s realising that it’s time to change my skincare and makeup routines!

  • Reply
    Michelle Ptak
    February 27, 2022 at 2:55 am

    Fab tips, my skin always dries out through the winter months, I can get some help now! Many thanks

  • Reply
    Jacqueline McLean
    February 4, 2022 at 5:02 am

    Wow 😮
    Some of the products I’m using I shouldn’t be. I would’ve never known that I shouldn’t be using them without these incredible tips.
    Thank you for your help

1 2

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.