As a beauty editor living in New York City, it pains be everyday to pass by women on the subway who are well dressed, professional and beautiful in everyway but they’ve chosen the wrong foundation. It’s a tragedy and a mistake that so many women make. Browsing through YouTube tutorials, I often see vloggers layer on foundation that is sometimes even 2 shades brighter than their natural complexion, or the inverse, 2 shades darker or simply the wrong base color (too red, too yellow or too cool.) The worst part is, many women are using the wrong foundation and they don’t even know it! Here are seven signs you’re using or applying your foundation all wrong.
1. You use the same shade year-round.
While many of us have a natural tan (thanks, melanin!), our skin does get darker throughout the year. Because we’re a little paler and less bronzed during the winter months, it is likely that we’re require a different shade of foundation in the warmer months of spring and summer. Sometimes the change is as a simple as ditching your winter cream-based foundation for a tinted moisturizer.
2. Buying and applying in bad lighting.
Ever notice how certain products (clothes included) look better in the store than they do when you get home? Fluorescent lighting can be the difference in a foundation—or a swimsuit— that’s a hit or miss. If you’re trying a new foundation, don’t buy it right away; apply it to your face and test it against different light settings (natural/sunlight, candle light, etc) and in front of a flash on your camera. Ask the salesperson for a sample to take home and test it over the next day or so before making a decision.
3. Thinking foundations are a one size fits all deal.
Ideally, you would choose your foundation based on hue and skin type. Oily skin and creamy foundations just do not mix, in the same way that powder foundations and dry skin won’t do your skin any favors.
4. Splotchy application.
Chances are you don’t need a full face of foundation. If you’re like me, you try to opt for two-step application, brightening dark under eyes and covering hyperpigmentation around the mouth and chin. Regardless of how you apply your foundation, it’s crucial that you blend evenly. So, if you do apply a full face, remember to blend up into your hairline and down to the jawline and neck.
5. Using dirty sponges and brushes.
I get it: you’re busy and the last thing your want to do over the weekend is clean your makeup brushes, but clean brushes can be the difference in clear, radiant skin and bumpy, acne-prone skin. A simply solution of warm water and dish soap is enough to kill the bacteria on your brushes. If that sounds too tiresome, you can always let a machine like The Brush Pearl ($99, at brushpearl.com)
6. Keeping your makeup for too long.
Like food, your makeup has a expiration date. Keeping foundation for too long can lead to cosmetic rashes and other skin infections. Read our article on cosmetic expiration dates, Are You Keeping You Beauty Products Too Long? to find out what you should keep and what you should toss. We’re guessing that coveted eye shadow from high school should find it’s way to your rubbish bin.
7. Leaving your makeup open
Cosmetics products oxidize and change color, texture and scent. To keep this from happening, make sure that you properly seal your foundation every morning. Closing up your powder, liquid and gel foundation also prevent bacteria from finding a home in your makeup—and ultimately, your face!