Foundation alternatives perfect for dry skin

Summer’s heat makes it nearly impossible to walk outside without your foundation melting off. Opting for a tinted moisturizer or BB cream during the hotter months – which can sometimes be all year in Florida – can be a huge beauty game changer. Especially since most of them have sunscreen too.

BB cream, which stands for blemish or beauty balm is arguably the best middle ground between full coverage foundation and tinted moisturizer. Even though its popularity didn’t blow up until it hit the Korean market in the 1980’s, this beauty fave was actually invented in Germany in the 60’s. Then, it finally made its debut in the States and quickly became a cult favorite in 2012.

But finding the right one can be difficult. Often times, brands claim to be selling magic in a bottle leaving you to feel like you just bought a glorified lotion. But as someone that has extremely dry skin, I look for moisture first. And as someone with red spots, I want that coverage.

I’ve tried out a variety of products that don’t leave my face flaky by lunch time. Here are my three favorites:

Drug Store ($8.99)

Photo by Alexis Paige
Photo by Alexis Paige

Maybelline’s Dream Fresh is technically a BB cream, but the coverage is so sheer I consider it my go-to beach tinted moisturizer – if I even feel like wearing one. Luckily, there are enough shades that you’ll find a similar match to your skin tone. And what’s great about sheer coverage is that it doesn’t have to match perfectly for it to look like skin.

As I mentioned above, brands love to claim magic-in-a-bottle, and this one is no exception.

Maybelline’s “8-in-1” is claiming to blur imperfections, brighten, enhance, hydrate, even skin tone, smooth, zero oils and heavy ingredients and protects with SPF 30.

Now, I don’t want to call Maybelline a liar, but I feel like the only 100 percent true one is SPF – at least I hope so. It has extremely sheer coverage, so I usually wear this when I know there’s a big change I’d just sweat off another foundation.

There’s also a version with salicylic acid for acne prone skin and a bronze one that gives a summer glow. But since you’re here for dry skin, Dream Fresh has a water-gel formula that helps to keep your skin hydrated.

High End ($44)

Photo by Alexis Paige
Photo by Alexis Paige

Splurging on a tinted moisturizer was probably one of the girliest things I’ve ever done, but also one of the smartest.

Compared to other face makeup, this Laura Mercier product never broke me out. And I’m not exactly sure how, but even though it didn’t provide full coverage, it made my skin look so much better.

Maybe it’s the vitamins C and E which help protect the skin from environmental toxins. Or sodium hyaluronate which hydrates and melts on your skin – the good kind of melt – never makes it look flaky. Either way, it deserves all the praise.

One clear benefit when going the high-end route is color matching. And as someone with yellow undertones, it was like Heaven’s gates opened when I found a shade I didn’t have to mix with another color or set with a powder to match my neck.

Winning best of beauty four times (2004, 2005, 2007, 2008) from Allure magazine and Instyle’s best beauty buy editor’s favorite in 2015, do I really need to say anymore?

All Natural ($15)

Photo by Alexis Paige
Photo by Alexis Paige

Burt’s Bees have recently stepped up their beauty game and is now offering a BB cream!

We all know makeup companies make claims that don’t always work, and Burt’s has decided to make nine things that have been “clinically shown” to benefit. Which I have to admit, I’m pretty impressed by the results.

The claims are: Protects with SPF, moisturizers, smooths, visibly firms, illuminates, even tone, conceals, reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles, perfects skin. That’s a mouthful, but all mostly true.  

The coverage on this one is more of a light to medium coverage foundation than any BB cream I’ve ever tried. Unfortunately, there are only three shades so if you want to try it, I’d most likely have to buy two (they’re cheaper on Amazon).  And since I own the darkest of the three shades, it seems Burt has forgotten about the women of color.

One of the most asked questions that Burt’s Bees gets is “why not 100% natural”? Only 98.9%. That missing 1.1% is a preservative called phenoxyethano. They have found that natural preservatives just don’t meet their standards.