Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation on dry skin: tips & tricks to success!

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation

When I want my makeup to last all day or if I have a special event to attend, the original Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation ($42.00; available now in 42 shades) has become my go-to base. It’s crazy because I never would have thought to buy or try out this foundation myself. My mother went to an Estée Lauder counter and came home with a bottle that mismatched her complexion. Needless to say, it soon ended up in my possession but I had no idea what to do with it really. I knew that Double Wear was supposed to be amazing but in my mind it already had strikes against it. I thought of it as some kind of shellac that would only suffocate my skin.

Directly below are the official claims on Double Wear from the Estée Lauder site:



Product Details 

Unifies uneven skintone, covers imperfections with buildable medium to full coverage.

Feels lightweight and so comfortable, you won’t believe it’s super long wear.

Oil-free. Controls shine.

Non-acnegenic: won’t clog pores, which may help avert breakouts.

Waterproof. Won’t run, rub off or smudge.

Lasts in hot and humid weather.

Available in Cool, Neutral and Warm undertones.

Won’t look grey on deeper skintones.

Medium to full coverage? I don’t often wear that much coverage. Matte? I normally steer clear of matte bases because of my skin type.

We should talk more about my skin now before going any further. It’s dry nearly everywhere on my body since birth. While this does afford me little to no issues with breakouts or acne, I have what I call “crocodile skin.” It can get a bit scaly sometimes with red patches and flaking. I’m also prone to itchy skin with occasional eczema flare-ups (the last was on my chin in fact). So as you may guess I take moisturizing quite seriously, and no where in the description for Double Wear does it mention ‘hydration’. Alarm bells!

I should also mention now that I usually do all my skincare at night directly after I shower so all the hydration sinks straight into my pores. Also I don’t usually prime before my makeup as most of the base products I tend to use are hydrating by nature.

Despite all this, I was determined to make the Double Wear work on me. The first few times I applied it, I almost gave up. I started swiping small amounts of the product into my T-zone with my fingers (click here to read more about my overall thoughts on finger application). It had no slip across my skin and the product just sat there, especially around the crevices of my nose. Worst of all, my dryness was accentuated. Just what I had feared would happen. I agree with the claim above that the consistency of Double Wear is actually on the thinner side; if anything it can be a bit runny sometimes. So thickness wasn’t the problem.


In order for me to make such a high coverage product usable, it was clear I had to rethink not just how I applied the foundation but also how to prep my skin properly. I initially let the product claims intimidate me, but with some trial and error I devised a routine that worked perfectly to get Double Wear looking fab on my dry skin. Success at last! I realize now that it’s all about technique with certain products, manipulating them enough to make them work for you. You could apply the following tips to any full coverage product you want.

Tip #1: Make sure your skin has been properly exfoliated. If you’re having a particularly flaky day with your skin, this is a must. While redness and discoloration can be covered up, it’s much harder to hide flakiness. Most bases will just exaggerate it. I usually prefer to use a physical exfoliator over a chemical one. I buy those cotton rounds you can get at CVS in packs of two or three with both smooth and textured sides. I dampen one a bit and very gently rub the textured side over the affected areas. But whatever you normally use to get your skin smooth is perfect.

Tip #2: Choose your source of hydration. On the days I’m really struggling with dry patches on my face, I’ll apply a thin layer of serum (I use the No.7 Protect and Perfect Advanced Serum, which you can pick up from Walgreens or Target, FYI) and then the ultimate hero product of this routine, MAC’s Strobe Cream, on top before applying the Double Wear. The combination of the hydrating, luminous Strobe Cream with the high coverage, long-lasting Double Wear is perfection in my opinion. It ticks all the boxes I want from a base. Yes, the cream will sheer out the foundation a bit but that’s fine by me; you can easily go back and build up the coverage.


Directly below is the official product description plus a list of claims & benefits from MAC’s site. Available now in five shades; $34.00 for 50 ml bottle, or $12.00 for 30 ml bottle (I have the smaller bottle in the original shade, FYI).

A moisturizer that boosts the look of dull skin and luminizes with iridescent particles.

The ultimate quick fix for skin now in shades of pink (original), peach, silver, red and gold. Super-powered with potent botanicals, it boosts the look of dull, flat or tired-looking skin with nutritious vitamins and a mega-dose of green tea. Brightens and clarifies with iridescent particles and antioxidants. Adds the softest glow to skin in sunlight to spotlight.

  • Smoothes skin
  • Improves clarity
  • Provides radiance
  • Hydrating
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Ophthalmologist tested
  • Non-acnegenic

I’m not saying you absolutely need the Strobe Cream to make Double Wear, or any other full coverage product, work. If you already have a hydrating primer or a pre-makeup moisterizer in your arsenal that you love, go with that. This is more about the overall technique than certain products. But if you were ever curious about Strobe Cream, it’s lovely.

Tip #3: Work in thin layers & build up in smaller places. I think this is particularly important when you are trying to apply a high-coverage product on dry skin. Start thin and either use the warmth of your fingertips or a damp beauty sponge to move the product across the skin (I find stippling motions the best for Double Wear). Step back and assess where you are, and if necessary build slowly in areas where you want or need more coverage. For me, I always prefer to use my fingers and working in small, thinner layers allows the luminosity of the Strobe Cream underneath to come through the Double Wear. What is left is a slightly luminous but long-lasting base that won’t make your dry skin look like a prune.

I hope this is a helpful post to anyone with dry skin or to those who may be curious about Double Wear. Would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments!

Author: Erica

Hi! I’m Erica, a makeup enthusiast based outside of NYC. I discovered my love of cosmetics back in 2011 when I started watching simple tutorials on YouTube. It was a revelation to me that with just a simple few swipes of mascara or dabs of blush, you could transform into a more enhanced version of yourself. My obsession has not abated over the years, but instead has grown stronger as the beauty industry has gone from strength to strength. After graduating from business school in 2018, I decided to finally share my thoughts and opinions on all things cosmetics and this is where ‘We are glamerus’ was born. I share my musings on a bi-weekly basis on everything from my holy grail products and preferred application techniques, to the latest trends overtaking the beauty world. I hope you enjoy! xo

One thought on “Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation on dry skin: tips & tricks to success!”

Leave a Reply