I Can See Your Foundation and It Ain’t Pretty

Looking out there at all the videos on Youtube, Instagram and Tik Tok, of folks applying their makeup I notice a trend.  In an effort to look flawless and glamorous, all I am seeing is your foundation.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a powerful makeup look.  Playing with colors and designing trend setting looks has always been a part of my work.  So while I don’t always play it natural with my makeup designs, I still don’t want to see your foundation.  

Foundation is about flawless looking skin.  It creates the perfect pallet, evening out skin tones and building a beautiful canvas to capture whatever look we are going for, natural, glam, or something in between.

So why does foundation go from looking invisible to looking like a mask?  Here’s how it happens and what you can do to fix it:

Choosing the Wrong Color

When choosing a shade you typically want to go with a shade that matches your skin color.  You can go one shade lighter or darker if you desire.  If your skin has multiple shades, then you will need to get multiple foundations.  You don’t want to get one color that matches the darkest shade of your skin and cover everything with a heavy look.  The lighter shade will go in the center of your face, with a slightly darker shade on the outer edges.  Blending is very important.  This will give you a more even and natural look. 

For those of us who don’t need more than one shade, keep in mind that the exact match of color might require that you blend two shades together.  Also if you live in a changing climate, your foundation color will need to be lighter or darker depending on the season.  

Choosing the Wrong Undertone

Foundations come in three undertones, cool, warm and neutral.  Cool undertones are pink or reddish.  Warm undertones are yellow or golden.  Neutral undertones are a mix of both.  The easiest way to know if the undertone is the right one for you is to try the stripe test.  After you have chosen your shade, put a stripe of that color in the three undertones side by side on your cheek.  Two will stand out and one will disappear as you blend them in.  The one that disappears is the one for you.  

Another way to determine your undertone is to hold a white and then a gold scarf under your chin and around your jawline.  Look to see which one makes your skin pop.  The white highlights the cool undertones, the gold the warm ones.  If neither look great, you’re probably neutral.

It’s important to get the correct undertone or else you will see the foundation and it will look dark, grey, and very obvious.

Choosing the Wrong Formula

Foundation formulas vary depending on your skin type.  Look for a foundation that meets your skin’s needs.

Dry Skin:   oil based or moisture rich foundation

Oily Skin:   water based, or oil absorbing formulation

Sensitive Skin:  hypo-allergenic or natural ingredient formulas

Combination Skin:  look for products that say normal to oily

Aging Skin:  look for lifting, firming, anti aging ingredients

Choosing the Wrong Finish

Foundation comes in varying finishes.  These include, matte looks, dewy looks, natural looks, glowing, powder, and glass finishes.

If you are concerned about ageing skin stay away from powder, glowing and glass finishes as these tend to highlight lines and wrinkles.  Instead go for natural or dewy looks that smooth the appearance of wrinkles.

For those with oily skin a matte, powder, glass or natural finishes will diminish shine and keep you looking fresh.  Stay away from glowing, or dewy finishes that add more shine.

Dry skin will look better with glowing or dewy finishes that offer a soft, youthful appearance.  Powder and matte and glass finishes will make you look dryer.  If you don’t like a little glow to your skin, try a natural finish.

Combination skin will look best with a natural or glass finish.  You can also try a powder or matte finish and see if it works for you.  

Keep in mind everyone’s skin can change with the seasons, if you are taking medication, if you are pregnant, and as you age.  Be prepared to try different finishes to see what looks best on you.

Choosing the Wrong Coverage

Foundation comes in many forms, liquids, creams, powders, sticks, cushions and gels, each one offers a different coverage.  Coverage can be sheer, natural, medium or full.  If your foundation is too sheer it won’t hide any discoloration.  Too full and all your lines will show.  So taking coverage into consideration is important.

If you just want to even the skin tone for a natural look, light coverage will do the job.

For skin with light discoloration, a few blemishes or age spots, a natural or medium coverage with a good concealer is all you need.

If you have serious acne, scarring, rosacea, hyper-pigmentation then fuller coverage is for you.

If you have lines and wrinkles a light coverage works wonders try a cushion foundation or add eye cream or moisturizer to lighten a foundation’s coverage. 

Applying Foundation Correctly

Keep these tips in mind when applying your foundation.

Exfoliate your skin regularly to keep it smooth.  Foundation will discolor over a patch of dry skin.

Moisturize well before applying.  This will help your foundation last longer.  If you fail to moisturize your skin will absorb the moisture from your foundation and it will fade quickly.  Oily skin needs moisture too, the key is getting the right balance or oil and water for your skin type.

Primer is your friend.  Primer creates a smoother application and longer wear.  Primers also come in many formulas like pore minimizing, glowing, matte, and some have anti aging ingredients.

Choose a tool that works for you, beauty blenders, makeup sponges, brushes, compact puffs, your fingers all help you blend your foundation.   

With all cosmetic applications BLEND, BLEND,BLEND.  Finally remember less is more.  You only need a little bit of product.  It might help to thin your product with additional moisturizers.  You do not have to apply foundation over your entire face.  Just blending a little to even out your skin tone, focusing around your nose, chin and cheeks may be all you need. Add a little powder and/or a good setting spray and you are ready to face the world.  Everyone will notice your beautiful skin, not your foundation.  Now isn’t that pretty?

Sending you sparkles ✨ and ❤️, your Makeup Maven,


PS…tell us about your favorite foundation below. Looking forward to your thoughts.

Some of Our Favorite Foundations

What is your favorite foundation and why? We love hearing from you!

2 thoughts on “I Can See Your Foundation and It Ain’t Pretty

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