It's hard to argue that having sensitive, dry skin can be a bummer, no matter the season. But transitioning from a bitter winter to sweltering summer doesn't make it any easier. Why? More so than ever, skin is left flaky — and adding makeup on top of that just seems to make matters worse. Needless to say, it's hard to decide exactly how to move forward when your entire face is irritated as hell. So, we asked the experts: How do we treat sensitive skin even when we want to wear makeup?
According to Jo Baker, a makeup artist who has been in the industry for nearly two decades, toning the skin with a gentle micellar water (she loves Bioderma's classic version) should be your first step. "Not only does it calm the complexion and add hydration, but it will get rid of all dirt and debris to ensure that nothing gets trapped in between your skin and foundation base, which could lead to irritation," Baker says.
After that, don't forget to moisturize. "Using a good moisturizer under makeup can create a barrier between makeup and skin to reduce sensitivity," Mariah Carey's makeup artist, Kristofer Buckle, says. He also suggests waiting at least an hour after washing your face to apply makeup: "Hot water can make sensitive skin more reactive, so waiting gives skin time to calm down and acclimate."
On the list of makeup products to avoid? Anything with fragrance. "Fragrance is one of the main reasons people have reactions from makeup," says Buckle. Steer clear from waterproof foundations, too. "They are harder to clean off and can end up clogging your pores," according to artist Molly Stern.
Finally, take care not to rub foundation into your skin. "I like to apply it as gently as possible, pressing foundation into the skin so you're not dragging and causing irritation," Baker says. "Use soft touches and layer, avoiding any unnecessary activity."