Whether it’s your skin’s natural temperament or a reaction to bitter winter cold, dry skin patches can wreck havoc on even the most expertly-applied foundation. This is because a lack of moisture can cause make-up to flake and crease. Keeping a dry complexion smooth and supple calls for a multi-pronged approach, including a few tweaks to your lifestyle, makeup routine and even the foundation itself.

Although patchiness occurs after you’ve applied foundation, the key to smooth skin is nipping dry patches in the bud. To do that, you have to make extra sure that your skin is soft and moisturized before putting on your makeup.

Exfoliation is part of virtually any balanced skin-care regimen, and it’s especially important for those who experience patchy results after applying foundation. Whether you use an exfoliating scrub or an electronic brush, gently exfoliate about three times a week to ward off dryness. With regular exfoliation, you’ll help rid the skin of the dead cells that lead to dry splotches.

To nip morning dry patches in the bud, think ahead: Opt for silk or satin pillowcases rather than potentially skin-drying cotton, and always apply a moisturizer to your freshly washed face before hitting the hay. If dry patches often appear in the same spots, target those with a hydrating serum. If you have dry skin year-round, turn to a few drops of rejuvenating skin oil for spot treatment.

If you use a primer before applying foundation, replace your regular product with a hydrating primer for extra insurance. Even more importantly, keep an eye out for foundations that moisturize. Ingredients to look out for include moisture-retaining seaweed, hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil and maracuja oil. Lightweight, medium-coverage formulas in cream, mousse and gel forms often do the trick for someone fighting flaky patches.

Tips

If you’re really attached to your current foundation — dry patches aside — mix it with a few drops of clear hydrating booster to make for an even, moisture-rich application.

For severe dry patches, consider switching up your regular foundation for the one-two punch of a tinted moisturizer.