News Tip Sheet

Makeup for Dry Skin

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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


  • Reply
    Kate Journey
    January 1, 2022 at 7:43 pm

    These are super helpful tips. I have very dry skin!! Thanks for the article!

  • Reply
    Natalie Lyons
    December 19, 2021 at 8:45 am

    Great tips, I always have dry skin around my nose and chin in the winter months and will try hydrating mask.

  • Reply
    December 14, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    I live in Minnesota, USA where the winters are cold and the air is so dry. My aging skin appreciates the dry skin tips!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    I have dry skin so this post is something I found very helpful. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Lana Hood
    December 7, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    Great ideas for fighting those winter dry spells.

  • Reply
    Lori Lowery
    December 6, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    After reading this I’m thinking I should just move to the Caribbean. Haha!

  • Reply
    Susie Wilkinson
    December 1, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    Some great tips, especially about dry lips, I getting really chapped lips so need to remember my balm at all times!

  • Reply
    Antoinette M
    December 1, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    Great tips, especially the one about mixing facial oil in foundation!

  • Reply
    September 5, 2019 at 1:47 am

    Ok finally have some good tips I am going to implement. Fantastic article and I thank you!

  • Reply
    Leah Whitson
    August 23, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    I found this really helpful as my skin is very dry all year round! I recently put on a new foundation and as Christine stated it just slid off and looked awfully patchy 🙁 Time for me to get a decent moisturizing routine!

  • Reply
    Adele Wright
    August 22, 2019 at 10:27 am

    So well done and good information to know. I am struggling with dry skin right now.

  • Reply
    Pamela Moore
    August 20, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Great interview Dave, thank you !

  • Reply
    April 4, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Thanks a lot for this great tips ???? @chucky1012

  • Reply
    Jackie M
    April 2, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks for the informative interview! So many great tips and tricks. I do love the Caribbean when my skin glows and so moisturized lol!

  • Reply
    Anna Roszak-Robinson
    March 29, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    Great article! Thank you Dave

  • Reply
    March 29, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    great advice and tips


  • Reply
    Emily Mitton
    March 28, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    So many helpful tips! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    September Dee
    March 28, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Great tips!

    • Reply
      CL Chin
      September 11, 2019 at 11:21 pm

      Very helpful tips from the pros! So no matte powders, who knew?

  • Reply
    March 28, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Thanks for the tips, they are great.

  • Reply
    Chrissy Christensen
    March 28, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Thank you for the wonderful information!!

  • Reply
    Heather Schell
    March 28, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Thank you! I have even more problems with dry skin than ever in my life because I am going through the ‘change’. I had no idea I could add oil to my foundation, I can’t wait to try it.

  • Reply
    Syeda Nizami
    March 28, 2018 at 9:14 am

    soooooooooooo helpful,…. i have sooo dry , riugh & dull skin…

  • Reply
    Carol Luciano
    March 28, 2018 at 8:12 am

    Thank you so much for all this info. It will help me so much. My skin is so terribly dry since I’ve gotten older. Much appreciated Dave.

  • Reply
    Annette P.
    March 28, 2018 at 5:51 am

    Great tips, Dave! Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    super helpful tips, thank for this article Dave!!

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