We cannot stress this enough: Knowing how to pick out and apply your foundation properly is a crucial step in your daily makeup routine. And if you’re not following the rules of foundation, we’re sorry to say that you might be making some serious faux pas. You don’t want to be that girl whose neck is a different color from her face (yikes!). Knowing what you’re doing wrong is the first step in the right direction, so make sure you’re not still guilty of any of these foundation crimes …

Foundation Mistakes 

1. NOT prepping your skin: Without the proper skin prep, your foundation is in for a streaky ride. Prevent flakes and cakey layers by focusing on skin care first. And we don’t just mean slathering on moisturizer moments before your makeup application! We’re talking about a more “all-encompassing” form of skincare prep here. Take note:

First, make sure that you remove ALL of your makeup from the night before, as falling asleep without squeaky clean skin can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Another important step in keeping skin (and in turn, your foundation application) clear and smooth is regular exfoliation — and by regular, we mean weekly! No excuses. And, last but not least, moisturize your face and neck with a nourishing formula that meets your skin’s needs.

After applying your daily moisturizer, you’ll want to wait a few minutes before moving on to any next steps so that it can fully absorb into your skin, otherwise streaky makeup is coming your way! The same rule applies once you’ve applied your primer. If you need help with any of these pre-foundation steps, we’ve got you covered below:

2. NOT choosing the right shade or texture: With all of the skin-matching technology and foundation guides, there’s no excuse for picking up the wrong bottle anymore. If you’ve got dry skin, using a full-coverage, matte-finish powder may not be the best option. In turn, using a dewy, liquid foundation does not cut it on oily skin.

Ask an expert at the beauty counter to help match your skin tone to the right foundation shade. You can also do a little homework and read these guides to help you decipher which finish and texture will work with your skin type!


3. Using the wrong lighting to test your makeup: Sure, your foundation looks good under that dim lighting in the department store, or the bright LED lighting around that vanity mirror at the makeup counter, but what about in natural light? Ask for a hand mirror and step outside after a few minutes of wear (your foundation begins to oxidize from the heat of your skin and can change color/darken) to see if the color really matches.


4. Blending incorrectly: There’s nothing worse than discovering a foundation line along your jaw halfway through the day. Has that been there all day? Prevent this by properly buffing out your makeup with either a sponge (like the NYX Flawless Finish Blending Sponge) or a foundation brush. Keep one in your bag and go on the hunt for natural lighting, then blend, blend, blend!


5. Skipping the setting spray or powder: This is a big step that often gets forgotten. If you’re noticing that your foundation basically evaporates into thin air within a few hours, it’s because you forgot to set it. Lightly tap on a translucent powder (like Dermablend Setting Powder) … emphasis on the “lightly,” as too much can dull the look of your skin and cause it to look cakey. If you’re already using a powder-based foundation, use a setting spray like Urban Decay All Nighter to give your foundation serious staying power.  

Photo: thinkstock

Let's Stay in Touch

Get our top stories straight to your inbox!