Makeup Tips: Are You Wearing the Wrong Foundation?

Having a solid foundation is important for many things in life — including your face. However, wearing the wrong foundation is one of the most common makeup blunders many women make. The purpose of the product is to enhance your bare-faced beauty by evening out skin tone and lightly covering blemishes. And a good foundation should look like you’re not wearing anything on your face.

However, finding the perfect match can feel like searching for the golden ticket amidst hundreds of bottles and compacts of liquid, cream, and powder products. So, it’s helpful to know what the product shouldn’t do to rule out a number of options that aren’t suitable for your skin type. Here are five telltale signs that you are absolutely wearing the wrong foundation.

1. Your face and neck don’t match

Female hand and beauty products

Your face and neck should always match shades. |

If you have a two-toned effect going on between your complexion and neck, it’s a sure bet that you have applied the wrong foundation. Color-blocking is OK when it comes to fashion, but it has no place near your face. Your foundation isn’t supposed to give your skin a tan (use a bronzing powder — in moderation — for that). The most common cause of this problem is testing the foundation on the back of the hand rather than the jawline. The skin on the hand doesn’t necessarily match your face and neck.

To avoid the two-tone problem, test the foundation in a perpendicular line starting from the jaw and bringing down toward the neck to ensure it blends into the skin transparently. Also, when possible, ask for samples. That way, you can try the foundation at home and in various lighting scenarios to make sure the shade looks natural.

2. Your foundation feels cakey

woman applying wrong liquid foundation on her face

Your face shouldn’t feel cakey. |

The texture and feel of a foundation is key to making sure you’re wearing the right one for your unique skin type. Gone are the days of heavy foundation; it’s not necessary and certainly not desirable, as it won’t look natural on your skin. Even the lightweight formulas can provide maximum coverage. If it looks and feels cakey or thick on your face, try out another formula. Leave the cake for dessert time.

3. Your face is breaking out

Woman looking in the mirror

Your foundation could cause breakouts. |

While there are many reasons that your face may have breakouts — from hormonal changes, to genetics, diet, stress, and other skin sensitivities — make sure your foundation isn’t the culprit. It’s worth it to simply try out another product to see if that solves some of your breakout problems. This is even more important if you have sensitive skin. Selecting a more natural, mineral-based foundation can be a good place to start for those with skin issues. Also, look for “non-comedogenic” on the label, which means it won’t clog pores, yielding fewer breakouts.

4. You use the same foundation year-round

portrait of young beautiful woman

Your skin tone may change during different seasons. |

You cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to your foundation by wearing the same product 365 days a year. Just as you change your wardrobe with the seasons so, too, should you change your foundation. Why? Well, to start, spring and summer skin may call for a bronze-tinted, water-based foundation with SPF — and a product that’s super lightweight for the hotter months. Powdery, cream bases with a matte finish often work well, especially against humidity. As for the colder months in the fall and winter, that bronze-like foundation may no longer match your less tanned skin. So, a slightly different shade may be in order, along with a more moisturizing foundation that’s liquid or cream based to soothe dry skin.

5. You’ve never changed foundations

Makeup products and accessories

Try changing it up every once in awhile. |

If you’ve been wearing the same foundation for the past 15 years, then it’s likely you may not be wearing the best product for your complexion. Over time, skin changes and ages. This often means you need a different type of foundation product, and even a different shade to match changing skin tone. A lightweight foundation that’s perfect for younger, more supple skin may not serve a complexion that’s 20 years older. In that same vein, a heavier product that covered up breakouts and helped treat oilier skin may not be necessary as skin matures. Plus, some products even include nourishing, anti-aging properties in their formulas that could provide beneficial results that are way more than skin deep.