The Trick To Wearing Concealer When Your Skin Is Dry And Flaky

by Jessica DeFino

Thanks to factors beyond your control, like weather and aging, your skin is always changing — and your makeup has to evolve along with it. The moisture-starved air of January is blowing in, and colder air makes blemishes and dry patches sprout up even more. If you're looking for a new concealer for the season, the best concealers for dry skin should typically contain a few key ingredients to help with a lack of moisture.

It seems obvious, but be careful to avoid products formulated with drying ingredients. “Concealers that are targeted for acne, or those that contain oil-absorbing powders like kaolin and other clays, will be more drying to the skin,” Kelly Dobos, a cosmetic chemist, tells The Zoe Report. When it comes to finding a concealer that won’t accentuate flakes or tightness, Dobos suggests looking for skincare-level ingredients you normally see in serums and moisturizers. “While simple, humectants like glycerin make a big impact in skin hydration,” she says.

Also, be sure to pay attention to your product's texture, as well — the creamier, the better. “They will blend into the skin a lot easier than a matte version,” Neil Scibelli, the go-to makeup artist for iconic model Elle Macpherson, tells TZR. He swears by the affordable Neutrogena Hydro Boost Concealer. “It’s literally my favorite everyday concealer, especially for dry skin, because it contains hyaluronic acid,” he says. “That hydrates the eye area while binding the product to the skin.”


But beware of the fine line between creamy and cakey, Ashley Donovan, Kelly Clarkson's makeup artist, notes. Look for a lightweight concealer that’s sheer and buildable, so you can layer it to create your ideal level of coverage. Dry skin also tends to look dull, so it can benefit from a product with light-reflecting properties.

Setting the concealer in place is where you might have the most trouble, since powder can exacerbate dry patches and draw attention to flakes. “With powder, less is more,” Donovan says. “I often feel that too much can settle into lines and have an aging effect.” She suggests staying away from the “baking” trend (i.e., letting powder sit and “cook” on the face before blending it out), saying this technique really only looks good online and not IRL. “Instead, I use a light dusting of Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightening Powder,” she tells us. “It’s invisible to the eye and reflects light to minimize dark circles.”

Finally, in lieu of a setting spray — many of which are formulated with drying alcohols — opt for a moisture-rich mist. “Spraying your face with a hydrating toner after your makeup is done helps to soften the complexion while creating a natural finish,” Gilbert Soliz, an editorial makeup artist for Harper’s Bazaar, tells The Zoe Report. “This step will make makeup look healthy while lasting longer.”

Ahead, shop all the non-drying concealers and setting products that the pros swear by.

Shop Concealers

Shop Setting Products