Super-dry Skin

“This may sound strange, but I love your skin! It’s really hard to pull off fair skin unless it’s absolutely flawless like yours, which sucks for us pale chicks. I have about the same skintone as you, but I have two major problems…

1) My skin is EXTREMELY sensitive and dry. I exfoliate and moisturize twice a day, but my makeup still always comes out looking caked on due to my extremely dry skin, so through-out the day, my makeup gets this “chipped-off” look. It seems like no matter how much I exfoliate and moisturize, or which products I use, I’m always doomed with dry, flakey skin.

2) I have been wearing makeup for a decade but I still have yet to find “my” shade. As far as foundation and concealer goes, I’ve gone through everything from the cheap drug store stuff, to MAC, to Bare Minerales and I still always come out orange! Even makeup artists who’ve “matched” me have never gotten it quite right. I’m very cool-toned, so it seems like anything that isn’t nearly pure-white will make me look orange; and I can’t seem to find a shade THAT light by anyone.

So, since you’re the epitome of perfect porcelain skin, I was wondering if you could give me any tips for either of my problems.”


You say you exfoliate twice a day, which I think is probably overkill. Once a week should be enough, seriously! You’ll probably be doing your skin damage. You really need to be good to your face! Are you using cleanser? If not, start! Buy something that doesn’t foam & is made for dry skin. I would recommend Lush’s Ultrabland. It’s meant to be a makeup remover, but it is very moisturising. Whenever I use it, I end up skipping my moisturiser step, because it’s so nourishing. Of course what you use is up to you, but you definitely need to be cleansing every morning & night.

I remember one winter I had the WORST skin. It was so incredibly dry & itchy & flakey. I felt hideous & I tried about a million different moisturisers to try to fix the problem, but I didn’t know a lot about the subject at the time, so ended up buying products containing alcohol. Ouch! They stung my face & I wondered what the hell was going on.

Anyway, long story short, that was the beginning of my love affair with Lush. I walked into one of their shops & talked to one of the sales consultants about the problems I was having. The girl gave me a sample of their Skin Drink moisturiser, & a couple of days later I went back exhilarated & bought a pot of it. In my opinion, it is the ultimate dry skin fix. I have never found anything that works better, & I really strongly encourage you to give it a try. If there’s no Lush store near you, you could call your nearest Lush mail order outlet & see if they’ll send you a sample to try. You might have to buy something first (like a piece of soap), but they tend to be pretty good about it.

Generally, dry skin is caused by one of three things: genetics, diet or environment. The first one is pretty self-explanatory (how is your mother’s skin?), the other two not so much. With diet, this basically means that if you’re not eating well, it will be reflected in your face. A steady stream of Burger King & diet soda is going to play havoc on your skin. It’s true that what we eat matters! Start drinking a lot of water every day (say 2 litres), eat fresh green vegetables & as much fish as you can handle. If the environment is the problem — cold weather, an air-conditioned office, harsh winds or hot sun can all be culprits — as well as the dietary suggestions, you could try putting a humidifier in your bedroom which runs at night. This will help get some moisture into your skin.

Try taking supplements. If you’re vegetarian or don’t want to eat lots of fish, you can take Omega-3 oil. This comes from fish & flaxseed, you can choose the type you’d prefer to take. Zinc tablets are also helpful. (That page also lists vegetarian sources of zinc, but I personally find it much easier to pop pills than to remember to eat 100 pounds of sultanas every day or whatever.)

You might be unwittingly adding to the problem by using a skin toner between your cleansing & moisturising steps. A lot of toners contain alcohol which is going to make it worse. You should also avoid getting water on your face as much as possible. I find water incredibly drying, & my skin is pretty normal.

Give all of those things a go, but if you’re not seeing any improvement with these things, try using olive oil instead of moisturiser.

If after this you’re still not seeing an improvement in your skin’s condition, I would strongly suggest seeing a doctor for a referral to a dermatologist. It’s pretty rare that a dermatologist is unable to help with a skin problem. They have expert knowledge & a lot of prescription-only products they can get you to try, which often are much more effective than off-the-shelf treatments.

With regard to your orange foundation problem, you could try using tinted moisturiser instead of a foundation, but really that’s a problem that pales (ha!) in comparison to your dry skin. I encourage you to get that sorted out before you start slapping new potions on your face, which may aggravate the problem. You may find that after your skin comes right, it will be so beautiful that you don’t even need to wear foundation. Here’s hoping anyway!

I use M.A.C. shade NC25, which is pretty light, but they have some REALLY light shades (NC15 & NW15 are the lightest). If they’re not working for you, consider mixing your own colour. Of course, this will mean you’ll need to buy two instead of one, but hell, if it works it works. I would also suggest trying M.A.C. Select Moistureblend SPF 15 foundation. It’s a very moisturising foundation with good sun protection.

Good luck!