Blending and beyond.

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Credit: Courtesy

There's an art to applying foundation. It takes some time and effort to find the best foundation formulas, shades, and textures for you, but once you figure out the secrets to flawless foundation, your skin will thank you. Read on, and avoid these common foundation mistakes.

Mistake: Forgetting to Color-Match

Solution: Take a Test Drive

Foundation too dark? You'll have a line of demarcation no matter how much you blend. Too light? You'll look ghostly. Test out the foundation before you buy (Sephora has a great color-matching tool), and be sure to try the foundation on your jaw and cheek—none of this testing-on-your-hand business. For your foundation color match, don't forget to account for seasonal changes. After your beach vacation, your foundation may not be the right color anymore, no matter how diligent you were with sunscreen application. Also, don't be afraid to mix and match. If you fall between hues in your favorite foundation, try mixing the two to create your perfect shade.

Mistake: Choosing Incompatible Formulas

Solution: Study Your Skin Type

If you have oily skin, a foundation that is billed as dewy or moisturizing may backfire. You're likely to end up looking shiny by lunchtime. If you have dry skin, most matte formulas will dry you out, leaving your skin parched. Take some time to evaluate. Notice the state of your skin throughout the day. The better you know your skin, the better able you will be to choose a foundation with the qualities you need.

Mistake: Disregarding Seasonal Changes

Solution: Change It Up

Sure, you could wear a powder foundation year-round. Same for a liquid. But it's true that our skin changes with the seasons. Changes in the environment affect moisture levels and can create textural issues. (Dry winter skin, I'm looking at you.) You may find that your favorite foundation doesn't look great year-round. So change it up. Generally, you'll want to lean towards more lightweight, breathable foundations in summer when the humidity is high. If you suffer from dry winter skin, reach for more moisturizing formulas.

Mistake: Applying with a Heavy Hand

Solution: Buff It Out

Heavy-handed foundation application can leave you looking like you're wearing a mask. If your foundation looks cakey, there are a few easy solutions. Remedy this problem by blending, aka gently working the foundation into the skin. Instead of painting on your base, buff it into your face using a fluffy, rounded buffing brush. The denser the brush, the heavier the coverage will be. A less dense brush will give you more sheer coverage. Either way, you'll be on your way to a natural finish in no time. (Need a recommendation? You really can't go wrong with the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush.)

Mistake: Not Trying New Formulas

Solution: Step Outside the Bottle

Mousse, powder, cream, stick, liquid—there's a foundation out there for every personality. If you're unhappy with your foundation, don't tough it out. There are too many other possibilities out there. Branch out and try a new formulation—you may find one that's just right. Also, be bold and make your foundation work for you. If you love your liquid foundation but need some glow, add a luminizer to the mix. Mix one pump of your favorite liquid highlighter into your liquid foundation. (Cover FX's Custom Enhancer Drops have six universal shades—four highlighters and two bronzers—that you can easily drop into your foundation for a touch of glow. Or try Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid Highlighter layered under your foundation or mixed in for a lit-from-within look.)

You may also be interested in:

What's your favorite foundation as of late? They can work wonders for the skin, especially all the new formulas that incorporate skincare and anti-aging properties, but be sure to let your skin breathe every now and again. Try a no-foundation day once or twice a week for a dose of renewal and relaxation for your skin.