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The 10 most common foundation mistakes people make – and how to avoid them

Full coverage doesn’t have to mean cakey coverage. By Sam Escobar


Foundation is one of the trickiest makeup products to use properly. While it can give you flawless skin that makes you look younger and less tired, applying it incorrectly can have the exact opposite effect. So try to avoid these common mistakes — your foundation (and face!) will thank you.

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1. Choosing the wrong foundation

Before buying a foundation, it’s important to determine which type your skin actually needs. Have an oily complexion? It’s important to use a noncomedogenic (i.e. pore-clogging) and oil-absorbing formula.

If you have sensitive skin, look for mineral-based formulas that are free of dyes, fragrances and preservatives that could be irritating. If your skin is dry, pick a creamy, moisturising foundation that keeps your face hydrated.

2. Picking a shade that doesn’t match your skin

A too-light foundation washes you out and can even make you look a little sick, while a too-dark foundation can seem like a self-tanning error. Avoid using a foundation that’s the wrong shade for you by testing colours on your jawline, nose and cheeks — not the back of your hand or wrist, which are unlikely to be the same colour as your face.

The proper shade should disappear into your skin. Then, head out into the daylight to see how it looks away from the harsh lights of the department store. If it’s still invisible, you’ve found the right foundation for you.

3. Skipping primer

When you’re in a hurry, it can be tempting to skip primer. But it’s actually one of the biggest keys to getting a smooth, long-lasting finish for your makeup overall. If you’re worried about your foundation creasing, a silicone-based makeup primer can smooth out your skin.

4. And not setting your makeup

In addition to using primer, another important step to maintaining your look all day long is setting your makeup. One of the quickest ways to do this is by spritzing on a makeup setting spray.

5. Applying foundation before your moisturiser is dry

Always give your moisturiser (and thus, setting spray and primer) time to absorb into your skin before applying foundation. Otherwise, you can end up with a streaky mess.

Related: Pick the best foundation formula

6. Applying too much foundation

Achieving an even complexion is wonderful, but overloading your entire face with layer after layer of foundation is not the way to do it. Rather than looking perfect, your skin will look cakey and fake. If you’re dealing with a glaring blemish, gently buff away flakes with a clean, damp washcloth.

Apply a spot treatment to your pimple, then smooth on your moisturiser. Dot on a bit of stick concealer with your ring finger, then blend and go. Voilà — no caking at all.

7. Applying it with your fingers

Do this, and you’re likely to get blotchy, streaky results. Plus, touching your skin with your fingers all the time can do more harm than good. Instead, use a damp makeup sponge or foundation brush to apply your foundation.

Bonus: This allows you to use less foundation for each application, as a little goes a longer way when water is added. If you’re utilising a brush, apply the foundation onto your skin in circular motions, then blend as needed. For an even complexion, apply it all over your face, including your lids, on your under eye area, and around your nostrils.

8. Not blending down your neck

If you’re applying full-face foundation, be sure to blend down your neck, as it tends to be a little lighter than your face. As mentioned earlier, use a sponge or a foundation brush to smooth your foundation onto your face first, then from the jawline down your neck.

9. Using a formula that ages you

One of the big reasons women use foundation is to maintain a youthful appearance, but picking the wrong formula can actually exaggerate the signs of ageing. Powder foundation can look cakey and dry out your skin, making it a poor choice for anybody, whether they’re concerned about ageing or not.

Then there are creamy formulas, which seem like a great idea since they’re smooth and offer a lot of coverage, but due to their high pigmentation, can actually wind up appearing cakey after your skin absorbs the product’s moisture.

Overall, the best picks for anti-ageing purposes are hydrating and satin-finish liquid foundations. Search for a version containing moisturising glycerin or hyaluronic acid to keep your skin looking plump and supple rather than dry and dull.

10. Using concealer before applying your foundation

Applying your under-eye concealer first can make you use more foundation than you would otherwise need. Instead, use a small, pointy brush to apply a lightweight concealer to your under-eye area (as well as any other discolourations or blemishes) after your foundation application, then blend.

From: Good Housekeeping US

PHOTO: iStock/Anastasiia_M


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