why is my makeup separating

If your makeup just doesn’t persist after hours of hard work, it’s natural to ask, “Why is my makeup separating?” You know something is just not right. 

The truth is that so many factors lead to makeup separating on face.

There’s nothing more dreadful than noticing your foundation become patchy after a few hours of performing your makeup routine.

While you can certainly do some touchups to bring it back to life, it’s still essential to know what leads to this situation in the first place.

So, what may be the reason?

Your makeup may begin to separate when you apply foundation on your dehydrated skin or use the wrong foundation for your skin type.

Tip: Get two shades just a hair lighter and darker than your skin tone and blend them if you can't find the right foundation. 

Why is My Makeup Separating and What to Do?

makeup separating

Identifying the root cause is the only way to resolve the issue for good. Let’s find out more about it. 

You Use the Wrong Foundation

You’ll keep asking how to keep my foundation from separating if you keep picking the wrong foundation for your skin type.

These days, you can find various textures and formulas for foundations. What works best for you depends on your skin type.

What to Do?

Take more time when selecting your foundation. Consider your skin type as well.

You may want to avoid oil-based foundations if you have overly dry skin because they won’t last.

A better alternative would be to go with a long-wear foundation.

Just research your options and you can easily find sweat-resistant, waterproof, and even long-wear foundations. 

face foundation

Your Foundation Doesn’t Work with Your Primer

While selecting a foundation that works well with your complexion may seem obvious, the same cannot be said for the primer you use.

If your primer and foundation have incompatible formulations, they will not last as long when used together.

What to Do?

Use a primer that goes well with the foundation you’re going to use. Simple!

It means if your foundation contains water, it’s best to use a primer made of water instead of one made of silicone

You Don’t Consider Your Dry Skin

If your skin is dry and often feels flaky or patchy, it could be why your makeup separates in no time.

You’re surely going to make your foundation look cracked if you apply it on already patchy skin. 

dry skin

What to Do?

Moisturizing your skin is your best bet here. Never forget to moisturize before you apply foundation to your face.

Pick some high-quality moisturizing creams or lotions and apply them directly to your skin.

Now, wait a few minutes before using your makeup primer and begin with your regular makeup routine.

Tip: Prep your skin with a mixture of oil and moisturizer to yield a flawless, dewy foundation.   

You have Excessively Oil Skin

Foundation cracking around the nose and cheeks is a common problem, and it may also be due to your oily skin.

This is especially true if you aren’t using a foundation or a skincare routine designed to control oil production. 

excessively oily skin

What to Do?

The first step is finding a foundation formula designed specifically for your skin type.

For dry skin, you should get a foundation with a hydrating serum for radiant skin. 

But if your makeup is separating because of your oily skin, you should pick a product designed to minimize excess oils.

Foundations in matte finish with a weightless, creamy texture would work perfectly, especially if you have acne-prone skin as well. 

You Neglect Regular Exfoliation

Over time, dead cells and other contaminants collect on the skin.

 In the absence of frequent exfoliation, you may notice the uneven application of the foundation, which will separate throughout the day. 

exfoliate skin

What to Do?

Start exfoliating frequently. Some individuals can exfoliate daily, while others can only do it once weekly.

How frequently you can exfoliate depends on your skin type; nonetheless, you should never ignore it.

Consider incorporating a facial scrub into your routine. Apply it to your dry skin and massage it with wet fingers.

Wait for a few seconds, and then thoroughly rinse with tepid water. 

You Load Up on Foundation

When applying makeup, you should understand that less is more.

If you load up on foundation hoping to conceal every imperfection, you’ll end up with a cakey appearance.

It will also make it difficult to maintain your makeup for long and it will begin to separate through the day. 

What to Do?

Just cut back a little on the amount of foundation you use and see if it helps.

cut back foundation

Start with a modest amount of foundation as opposed to slathering on the product.

If you desire greater coverage, you can always add a bit more to specific areas.

Tip: Use a face spray and a fluffy brush to blend your foundation, bronzer, blush, and highlighter into your skin for a natural finish. 

How to Apply Foundation to Prevent Makeup Separating?

If you have a love-hate relationship with your foundation, you’re not alone.

You love the possibility of generating the look of perfect, even-toned, blemish-free skin.

But you loathe that it may be so difficult to appear to be wearing nothing at all.

Therefore, a multifaceted approach is required to develop a natural-looking foundation, and it all comes down to the application process. 

Prepare Your Skin

prepare skin

If you take your skin as a canvas, you’ll be better off starting with a clean one.

Without a consistent skincare routine, it’s hard to keep your skin clean. And applying foundation to “uncleaned” skin just won’t work.

Before applying foundation, it’s essential to cleanse your skin to prevent clogged pores and get rid of dirt.

Next, exfoliate your skin to remove any dead skin cells that could cause your makeup to appear uneven or flaky.

Finally, apply a moisturizer; the foundation adheres best to well-hydrated skin.

Consider how a moist sponge rapidly absorbs water compared to a dry sponge. 

Don’t Ignore Primer

Yes, a primer may add an extra step to your makeup regimen, but don’t ignore it.

use primer

Using a primer ensures that your foundation looks perfect since it creates a perfectly smooth surface on your skin.

If you have skin issues such as dullness, redness, or uneven pigmentation, a color-correcting primer is designed to achieve a more natural-looking tone. 

Try to Be Conservative with Application

Always begin with a small amount of foundation and gradually add more until you achieve the desired coverage.

The objective is to just apply foundation where necessary, so your skin seems natural.

And let’s be honest: nothing is worse than having a face caked with foundation. (Hint: If you need to put foundation everywhere on your face for it to seem even, you’re using the incorrect shade.) 

Know How to Proceed

When applying foundation, always concentrate on the center of your face first. This is where blemishes are most prevalent.

apply foundation

Then, apply a small amount of foundation to the sides of your nose.

Now, slowly move towards your forehead, and as you approach the middle of your chin, start blending outward.

Once done, check for any remaining flaws and apply a quick coat of foundation to those areas. 

Stay Away from Rubbing

No matter if you use your fingertips to stick with a foundation brush, apply foundation with a stippling technique. It means you should tap your foundation softly into the skin.

Avoid swiping or rubbing motions to apply foundation, since this promotes streaking.

Instead, softly push the foundation into the skin with your fingertips.

If you want to use a brush, be sure to get one with densely packed bristles.

It’s likely to buff foundation into your skin and is easy to use with powder, liquid, or stick formulas. 

Use Concealer Sparingly

use concealer

To look perfect and prevent your makeup from separating, know when and where to use concealer.

You may disguise red spots, under-eye bags, and blemishes by dabbing concealer over them and blending it into the skin without washing away your foundation.

Tip: Make sure to give an oil-free foundation a try on oily skin for a few hours first because many of them oxidize after a while. 


Looking good in makeup often comes down to how tactfully you handle the application process.

If you don’t do it correctly, you’ll end up scratching your head and asking, “Why is my makeup separating?

Don’t make haste; carefully handle each step of applying your foundation to avoid a cakey look and help your makeup last longer.

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