Why your foundation is peeling + what to do about it

If your foundation does not sit well on the skin, it may be due to the combination of mismatched products. What makes products incompatible with their core ingredients? Some products are water-based while others are silicone or oil-based.

If your primer is made with a base material that does not blend well with the base of your foundation, you will probably feel peeling. It sounds scientific, but let’s break it down.

Cosmetic chemist Javan Ford recently gave a summary of how to navigate this complex situation via TikTok. “While you can layer oil and silicone over the water, you can’t do the opposite,” Ford explains. Think of it like a painting, he says, how you can’t add latex to an oil-based canvas.

You might also think about the Basic Skin Care Layering Protocol: This is why you first apply a serum or essence (water based) under a cream or oil (silicone or lipid based). This is because water has the ability to submerge the skin, while oil cannot. So the oil (being a larger molecule) will sit on the surface, and you will not let any water applied above it enter.

But go back to makeup. See when you are using inconsistent products in the wrong order, it will become a goofy mess. As Ford explained in the comments, “If you put a water-based foundation on top of the silicone primer, it can become beaded or flaked.”

So if your primer and foundation have different foundations, be sure to apply a water-based foundation over a silicone-based primer. A water-based primer under a silicone foundation, however, is A-OK. And a silicone-based foundation and a silicone-based primer are also good; The same goes for a water-based primer and water-based foundation.

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