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8 best foundations for sensitive and dry skin types

Gone are the days of patchy coverage, irritation upon application, and redness

Lucinda Diamond
Friday 30 November 2018 13:00 GMT
There's no need to compensate on coverage when it comes to sensitive skin
There's no need to compensate on coverage when it comes to sensitive skin

Suffering from dryness, redness or other skin conditions is hard enough, but then searching for a foundation that works well on top of them seems almost impossible. In a world obsessed with dewy, radiant looking skin, those of us with a sensitive complexion can struggle to feel good. Not to fear, we’ve got you covered.

For those with sensitive skin, dryness is often an issue, you should try to use a foundation that focuses on hydrating and moisturising the skin, while also keeping ingredients as natural as possible to minimise allergic reactions. Always be sure to test before you buy, because although our testers recommended these products, everyone’s skin is unique and will react differently. Most makeup counters will allow you to test, and if not, go somewhere else.

If you're tired of patchiness, irritation or flare-ups when it comes to applying foundation, look no further than our roundup of products that delivered the best coverage for sensitive skin.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

bareMinerals Original Foundation: £27, bareMinerals

The best products to use on those suffering from dry or sensitive skin is to look out for ones with minimal and natural components, so what could be better than a foundation with just five mineral ingredients? This offering from bareMinerals is a cult favourite of many, particularly loved for its light touch and even coverage.

Our tester said this foundation is so lightweight that it feels as if you’re not wearing makeup, while also providing amazing coverage and a matte finish. Although it’s not cheap, a little goes a long way, so it should last for a while. This product hasn’t won multiple awards for nothing.

Buy now

Lilah B. Flawless Finish Foundation: £40, Net-a-porter

This foundation is one of the two powder based products on this list, but it’s all natural ingredients, including a blend of Aloe and Agar make it light and delicate on you face. Its use of coconut oil is hydrating, which makes it perfect for those who suffer from dry skin. It is free from parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, phthalates and artificial preservatives which also help limit allergic reactions.

Our tester appreciated that the product is vegan, and is not tested on animals. It has long-lasting, matte coverage, which means there’s no necessity for powder to hold the foundation in. It’s not cheap, but you don’t need to use much, so it should last a while.

Buy now

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Correcting Cream: £25, IT Cosmetics

This product was developed by plastic surgeons and is designed to eradicate redness that might be the result of rosacea or eczema. Containing anti-aging peptides, colloidal oatmeal, hydrolyzed collagen, aloe and avocado, the ingredients have been selected to both provide full coverage, but also soothe and calm the skin, with the oatmeal easing any itching. Bye Bye Redness lives up to its name, and you’re left feeling confident in its coverage. We love it.

Buy now

Rimmel Wake Me Up Make Up: £8.99, Boots

This product is the cheapest on the list, and is available at most pharmacies. It has SPF 15, so for those suffering from conditions that are UV sensitive, this is perfect. Our tester has a long history with this product, and claims that the finish is flawless and is sensitive on the skin. We'd reccommend setting this with a powder to seal coverage an for a matte finish.

Buy now

Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint 30ml: £51, John Lewis & Partners

Technically this is an anti-aging skin tint rather than a foundation, but because of its hydrating formula – aimed at tightening the skin and reducing the appearance of wrinkles – it also works well on dry and sensitive skin. Hourglass promise an "ultra rich and deeply moisturising" product with moderate coverage, and we think it delivers. Our tester said this cream is perfect for those looking for a product that is both sensitive and also anti-aging. The added bonus of SPF 15 also helps with those with skin conditions sensitive to sunlight.

Buy now

Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation: £40.80, John Lewis & Partners

Formulated with Lychee, Bamboo Grass and Cordyceps Mushroom extracts, this foundation provides intensive hydration and leaves the skin feeling younger and fresher. Again, the ingredients have anti-aging properties, so can also be used to combat wrinkles and has a high SPF of 40.

Our tester said that this product is great for its range of shades, as well as its brilliant coverage. We recommend transferring the product from the pipette applicator onto a beauty blender before applying.

Buy now

Nars Sheer Glow: £33, Look Fantastic

This foundation has been designed to provide full, professional coverage, without the parabens, alcohol, or any fragrance. It is also dermatologist and opthalmologist tested, and is certified for all skin types, including sensitive and dry.

Our tester said the best part of this product was how soft your skin looks after application, as its hydrating formula not only evens out our complexion, but also moisturises and soothes dry or sensitive skin.

Buy now

Rosaliac Tinted Moisturizer CC Cream by La Roche-Posay: £20, Boots

La Roche-Posay are known for creating products with skin conditions in mind, and this is no exception. This CC Cream is designed to reduce the appearance of redness caused by dryness, rosacea, eczema, lupus and the weather. It has been dermatology and allergy tested and is suitable for sensitive skin.

Our tester declared this product a miracle for those suffering from chronic redness, especially as it doubles up as a moisturiser and sunscreen (it contains SPF 30).

Buy now

The Verdict: Best foundations for sensitive and dry skin types

The bareMinerals Original Foundation is our clear winner. Even though it’s not a liquid based foundation, the amount of powder needed for full coverage is minimal, so it doesn’t clog your pores or dry out your skin. Perfect!

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