You do a full skincare routine and include every step possible. You cleanse, moisturize, maybe throw in a face mask, and then you move on to the foundation thinking that you’re going to achieve your smoothest base ever. 10 seconds into blending, you see that your foundation makes your skin look flaky and scaly. And it has no interest in blending with your skin! You finish the application only to realize that your otherwise smooth skin looks all flaky on the cheeks, chin, forehead, or all over! And using a damp beauty blender or a different foundation brush doesn’t help either. Been there! Here’s the thing.
If your skin looks flaky and scaly right after you apply your foundation, it’s very likely that your skin is dehydrated.
And sometimes the same thing happens under the eyes after you apply your concealer too.
And just to make it super clear, this happens right after you do your base makeup. I’m not talking about foundation separating or looking cakey and patchy several hours into the day.
I’m talking about your daily wear foundation making your skin, which looks normal during skincare, look flaky.
The fact that things get worse after you apply the foundation can trick you into thinking that the problem is your foundation. Not really.
Your skin is the one that needs intervention, not your makeup. And let me stop you there, moisturizing does not solve the problem.
Keep reading to find out what causes the foundation to make your skin look flaky and what you can do about it.
What causes flaky skin after applying foundation?
Here are common reasons that cause dehydration on the skin, resulting in flakiness after you apply your foundation.
Firstly, you may be over-exfoliating with peel pads and toners. While we exfoliate to get rid of dead skin cells in the first place, over-exfoliation can actually make things worse. Because exfoliants remove the top layer of the skin and stimulate the renewal of it.
When you overdo it, the skin can’t compensate for the fast removal with fast renewal. The protective skin barrier becomes compromised, which results in increased water loss. And increased water loss leads to dehydration, which looks like dull, scaly, and flaky skin.
Secondly, if you’re using heavy actives like exfoliants, retinol, or exfoliating cleansers, your skin is probably peeling. Sometimes the peeling is not that obvious. You don’t see the flakes during your skincare routine. But they show through when you apply your foundation.
And lastly, sometimes none of the above apply. Sometimes the skin can get dehydrated even if you don’t do anything. Extended periods of sun exposure, hot/cold weather conditions and showers, harsh wind, low humidity can dehydrate your skin.
And the reason why you don’t see skin flakes until you apply the foundation is simple. A foundation is not a skincare product, like a moisturizer, that will soften your skin and penetrate it through the cracks.
A foundation is a tinted product that lightly blends and stays on the surface of your skin. When you apply it on the skin, it reveals all those impurities (flakiness) that prevent it from blending into the skin.
The color contrast between the foundation shade and scaly skin is the cherry on top. That’s how you get a clear picture of your skin. This explains why makeup artists always advise taking care of your skin. Makeup looks better on healthy skin.
What to do when foundation makes your skin look flaky?
Whatever the reason, when your skin is dehydrated and looks dry and flaky after you apply your foundation, you need to start hydrating ASAP.
And hydration does not mean moisture. Dehydrated skin lacks water. You need to put water back into the skin and then top it off with a moisturizer to prevent water loss.
Most people assume that a moisturizer is a solution to this problem. And they overlook the hydrating aspect of it.
Normally, a moisturizer can be enough to keep the skin smooth and soft. But when your skin is dehydrated, you need to squeeze in an extra step.
Here’s what you need to do step-by-step to prevent your skin from looking flaky after foundation application.
Use a very hydrating, water-based serum packed with humectants before you apply your moisturizer. If you skip this, even using olive oil as a moisturizer won’t resolve the problem.
Try a hyaluronic acid serum or a polyglutamic acid serum and apply it generously including the under-eye area. Wait for it to absorb and then apply a moisturizer suitable for your skin type. That’s it!
If you don’t normally exfoliate, you can also use an exfoliating toner or a pad to smooth out the skin.
When done right, exfoliants help shed off those annoying skin flakes. But the most important thing here is the serum.
I promise you, it’ll take two days at most to get rid of that flaky foundation look. The smoothing and plumping effects of a hydrating serum are immediate!
How about makeup?
Makeup mistakes can worsen the look of scaly skin. For example, using a foundation that’s not suitable for your skin type, pairing the wrong primer with the wrong foundation, or applying powder over the foundation are common foundation mistakes that can make things worse.
But they are not the root cause of your problem. Because none of these scenarios can result in flaky-looking skin right after foundation application.
Instead, your problems would be more like flat and dry-looking makeup, foundation pilling, or separating after a few hours.
Your issue is skin-related. So try these before you do anything with makeup.
Remember; cleanse, apply a super hydrating serum, and then apply your moisturizer before applying foundation. It’ll look so much better! And hey, you take care of your skin too!
Read Next: How to Do Makeup Without Using Foundation