Why Does My Foundation Look Flaky?

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If you notice your foundation starts to flake after you’ve applied it, it is probably due to dry skin. Foundation can stubbornly cling to dry, flaky patches, causing it to flake and look uneven.


In this article, we are going to answer the question why does my foundation look flaky? We’ll talk about the different reasons it could be flaking and how to stop it from flaking altogether.


Why Does My Makeup Look Flaky?

Many find that their face is super dry after putting on foundation, but this can be avoided if you use the right products and are careful.

Though dry skin is the most common reason your makeup can look flaky, it’s important to get to the root of the problem and find out why your skin is dry in the first place, so you can avoid flaky makeup.

Here are a few things you need to consider to find the cause of your dry skin that’s making your makeup flake…

Cold Weather

Apart from the holiday cheer, winter also brings harsh temperatures and cold winds that suck all the moisture out of your skin.

Dry skin is usually part and parcel for most people when the weather turns cold.

Air Conditioning

Now it doesn’t have to be winter for your skin to be dry! Spending a lot of time in air-conditioned spaces can turn even the most supple skin dry.

Air conditioning systems not only cool but also remove moisture from indoor environments. That can make your skin’s outer layer very dry.

Eventually, the inner layers are affected, making your skin feel stretchy, flaky, and itchy, which will, in turn, cause anything you’ve put on that dry skin to also flake.

Cleansing Products

Especially if you have dry skin, it is super important to make sure your cleansing products are specifically formulated for your skin type.

Using a cleanser meant for oily skin, for example, will have oil-absorbing and skin-drying ingredients.

Not Enough Moisturizer

Moisturizer is key to avoiding dry skin, which is what’s causing your makeup to flake. The key function of a moisturizer is to moisturize!

So obviously, if dry skin is a problem, this is a skincare routine step you don’t want to miss!

Not Choosing The Right Skincare Products for Your Skin Type

We’ve impressed upon you the importance of using skincare products specifically formulated for your skin type. However, that can get complicated.

You may usually consider yourself to have a normal skin type, but you get extra dry come winter. Or maybe you’re spending a lot of time in an air-conditioned environment that is drying out your skin.

You may need to switch to products specially formulated for dry skin.

Your skin type can change from oily to normal to dry depending on external conditions.

Is It Just Dry Skin or Something Else?

If you are experiencing your makeup flaking, the most common cause is just a matter of your skin lacking moisture and drying out.

Dry, flaky skin should clear up with time if you are using the right skincare products.

However, dry patches can sometimes indicate something more serious, so contact your dermatologist if the dryness is scaly, doesn’t go away, is severely itchy or burning.

Common conditions that can trigger dry skin include:

  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes

If your dermatologist is able to rule out these conditions, then it’s just a case of plain old dry skin that’s causing your makeup to flake.

Not to worry – we have some tips to help you repair and prevent dry skin.

Why Does My Foundation Look Flaky?

Here are the steps you should follow to make sure your foundation doesn’t flake.

1. Choose the Right Foundation

If your foundation is flaking, it’s due to dry skin. Opt for a foundation specifically formulated for dry skin. You get the added bonus of your makeup fortifying your skin with extra moisture, rather than drying it out.

Steer clear of matte finish and powder foundations. Dewy finish foundations are your best bet for extra hydration.

These foundations make your skin look bright, glowing, and naturally radiant. They’re also made with moisturizing ingredients to hydrate skin.

2. Choose a Rich Moisturizer

If the cold weather is causing your skin to dry out, the lightweight moisturizer you used in the summer will probably not be hydrating enough. Switch to a heavy-duty moisturizing formula that’s rich in natural oils and butters, like a fresh shea butter.

These moisturizers are rich in fatty acids and are the building blocks of your skin’s protective barrier. They repair skin when it’s damaged and strengthen it when it’s intact. That results in hydrated skin that makes a smoother, flake-free canvas for makeup.

Hyaluronic acid is another hydrating ingredient to look for when choosing a moisturizer for dry skin.

Moisturizers that contain Hyaluronic acid work by absorbing moisture like a sponge, increasing the water content.

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3. Exfoliate

Before you grab the sandpaper, there are a couple of things you need to know about exfoliating your face…

There are two kinds of exfoliators. 1. Physical exfoliators which slough off dead skin cells using grains or granules of some type, and 2. Chemical exfoliators that use acids to exfoliate.

Both will exfoliate, but both can also be potentially harsh, especially on dry skin.

If your skin is dry and flaky, it’s important to use a gentle exfoliator. If your exfoliant is too grainy or granular, it can cause abrasions and damage your skin’s protective barrier, which is what holds in moisture.

If you use the wrong chemical exfoliant meant for a different skin type, like say for acne-prone skin, it too can be way too harsh for your skin.

Opt for an exfoliant with AHAs. AHAs decrease the amount of time it takes your skin cells to turn over, so this means less time for skin to dry out and flake. They also come with the added benefit of boosting collagen production, reducing fine lines, and hydrating skin.

Here are a few products that will exfoliate while being gentle enough for dry skin:

4. Use a Hydrating Primer

A foundation primer will create a barrier between your makeup and your skin so it’s less likely to flake. It’s very important to match your foundation to your primer.

For example, if you are using a water-based foundation, use a water-based primer, and vice versa. If your foundation is oil-based, make sure your primer is also oil-based.

The ideal primer for dry skin should contain ingredients that plump, hydrate and smooth skin. If you see things like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, shea butter, aloe vera, vitamin E, and lightweight oils, it’s an indicator that you’re on the right track.

5. Use the Proper Tool for the Job

BeautyBlender Sponge

To avoid flakiness, most makeup artists would recommend using an egg-shaped applicator sponge. The BEAUTYBLENDER Makeup Sponge  is perfect for this.

You should first dot the foundation all over your face with your fingers. Wet your makeup sponge and squeeze out the excess water so it feels damp. Then bounce the sponge on your skin to blend in the dots of foundation.

The bouncing motion that you do with the rounded blender sponge pushes the product into the skin so that it blends more evenly.

Take Away

If your makeup is flaking, it’s probably due to dry skin.

Now that we’ve given you the lowdown, not only will you never have to ask – why does my makeup look flaky? – you now know how to prevent it from happening.

If you are experiencing severe flaking, itchiness, burning or scaling, see a dermatologist to make sure it’s not a skin or health condition that’s causing your makeup to flake.

See also:

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).