Foundation Mistakes You've Probably Been Guilty Of

Arguably the most important part of your makeup routine, foundation evens out the skin tone to get your skin ready for flawless makeup application (via Beauty Answered). As the base of your makeup, foundation literally sets the tone for the rest of your products to follow. Whether you want a glam or natural finish, applying the right type of foundation for your skin with the right techniques is essential.


Even though foundation is such a crucial element of the makeup process, it also happens to be easy to mess up. Foundation blunders are extremely common and, worse, extremely noticeable. When you make a mistake with your foundation, it often won't matter that your eyeshadow is amazing or your lashes are on point. Bad foundation can ruin the rest of your look and distract from the makeup you did apply perfectly.

While foundation mistakes are common, most are easy to fix! As with any problem in life, correcting foundation errors simply starts with becoming aware of them in the first place.

Choosing the wrong shade

The most common foundation mistake? Choosing the wrong shade. Nothing stands out more than when your face is a starkly different color from your neck or your ears! Sephora recommends testing foundation before you buy it to find your true match, and applying the test patch along your jawline to find the shade that blends with your neck as well as your face.


L'Oréal advises always testing foundation on clean skin and checking it in natural light rather than artificial light. Also, be aware that you may have to use different foundations for different seasons if your skin tone changes with more or less sun exposure.

Choosing the wrong foundation formula

There's a range of foundation formulas on the market, the most common being liquid or powder. The perfect formula for you will depend on your skin type, and using a formula that doesn't complement your skin can undermine your entire look (via Designer Brands Cosmetics). In general, powder foundation is best for oily or acne-prone skin types, while liquid formulas are preferable for dry or mature skin.


It's also important to consider what kind of coverage and finish you want when determining a foundation formula. Dewy finishes tend to be great for dry skin, while a matte finish will flatter oily skin (via Napoleon Perdis).

Not blending your foundation properly

Even a foundation that's perfectly matched to your skin can look bad if you don't blend it in properly. You can use a brush, a sponge, or your fingers to do the trick, as long as you apply the product lightly with a dabbing motion, rather than a rubbing motion (via Adore Beauty).


Clinique recommends starting out with only a little product and then building up your coverage, rather than applying too much from the beginning. Apply a small amount of foundation to your forehead, chin, and either side of your nose, and then blend out, adding more as you need.

Not preparing your skin

It's essential to properly prepare your skin before applying foundation. Start by cleansing and exfoliating to remove dead skin cells (via Ipsy). Follow the usual steps in your skincare routine, which may include serum and toner, and finish with a moisturizer. Then apply your primer.


According to Beauty Brains Blush, primer helps your foundation to go on smoothly and last longer and comes in several variations, including illuminating, mattifying, and color-correcting. Consider your specific skin needs when choosing your primer. Note that some primers don't react well with certain foundations, so finding your perfect combination may involve some trial and error.

Not setting your foundation

Just as it's important to prime your face before applying foundation, it's important to set it afterward. Setting products help your foundation to stay in place, rather than sliding around your face as the day goes on (via


Both setting sprays and setting powders are great products. In general, loose powders result in a mattifying effect and are best for oilier skin types, as they can dry out dehydrated skin (via Huda Beauty). But you can get setting sprays and powders in a variety of finishes, so don't be afraid to shop around and try different products.

By correcting these common mistakes, you'll have a flawless base to achieve the makeup look of your dreams!